MA English Syllabus

MA English Syllabus

MA English is a 2-year post-graduation course in English literature which is a combination of modern and ancient literature. It focuses on the three main aspects of English Literature namely-drama, prose and poetry. The course includes literature from all over the world such as American, Scottish, and Polish, among others. MA in English also includes cultural, political, social and historical contexts of English Literature studied at an advanced level. Students who have pursued BA English generally opt for this course to dwell deeper into the study of English literature. MA English is an advanced level program which requires concentration and focus. But before pursuing any course, it is important to know every detail regarding the course. We have listed down MA English Syllabus classified into semesters to give you a clear view of the course.

MA English Syllabus: Core Subjects

As a master’s degree, an MA English encompasses a comprehensive study of both ancient as modern literature and covering poetry, prose as well as fictional works. Further, it also comprises of the literature of different countries as well as their renowned literary works. Before coming to a semester-wise breakdown, let’s take a look at the major subjects in MA English elucidated in the table below:

S. No.MA English Subjects
1American Literature
2Common Wealth Literature
3English Language
4Literary Theory
5Works of Shakespeare
6African/African American Literature
7Methods of Teaching English
8British Literature I: Chaucer to Milton
9British Literature II: Dryden to Romantic Age
10British Literature III: Victorian Times to Modern Times

MA English Syllabus: Electives

While the core subjects falling under MA English syllabus remains the same for all students, the elective subjects keep on changes as per the choices made by applicants. Most of the universities across offer an array of papers to choose from. Given below are some of them: 

The Structure of Modern EnglishEnglish Fiction
Indian Verses English Language and Literature Teaching
The Structure of Modern EnglishEnglish Fiction
Traditional English DramaModern English Drama
Research Methodology English Poetry
Indian Prose Works Literary Theory and Criticism

MA English Syllabus: Semester Wise

There is a wide range of subjects in MA English syllabus which students get to engage with during the course. Each semester of MA English comprises of various subjects. Students are provided with a deep understanding and knowledge of different fields in English Literature. The first semester is an introductory semester consisting of introductory subjects to provide students with an understanding of the different literature of countries around the world. Listed below are all the subjects classified into four semesters, in order to give you a clear view and understanding of MA English.

Semester I

African/American English Studies
This subject includes dialects from Ebonics, which is the African-American English Language spoken majorly in the US. For this subject under MA English syllabus, Students are provided with various dialects from around the world exploring their origins and the works written in these dialects.

American Literature
This subject includes American literature which was written and produced for several purposes in the late 16th century. Literature such as poetry, essays, drama for theatres, etc. is studied and analysed.

Commonwealth Literature
This subject of MA English syllabus includes Commonwealth and Postcolonial literature from countries that were once considered to be a part of the British territory, this may also include countries that were colonies of the British Empire. An extensive history of this literature is provided to help students understand the change from contemporary to modern literature.

Also Read: Career in Functional English

Semester II

British Literature 1
This subject of MA English syllabus covers British literature focused on a shift from Chaucer to Milton. This can assist students in understanding the importance of Chaucer and how he brought a change in the society through his English poetry.

British Literature 2
This subject includes British literature from the period of the Romantic Era and the emergence of John Dryden. Students also get to learn about various aspects of writing poetry.

British Literature 3
This subject constitutes one of the most significant periods in British history, i.e. the Victorian Age and the shift from early British writing to modern writing.

Planning to shift fields after a degree in English, you can also read: MBA after BA English

Semester III

English Language
This subject comprises of the study of grammar, punctuation, linguistic approaches, compositions and mode of translations to help students build structural sentences and formations.

Indian English Literature
This subject covers English literature by early Indian English writers, the likes of Rabindranath Tagore, Mukhopadhyay, and Premchand. 

Literature Theory 
In this subject of MA English syllabus, students are provided with the knowledge of literary theories such as Criticism, Russian-formalism, Structuralism, Marxism, Feminism, etc. Students are given an in-depth knowledge of every theory to understand the concepts better.

Aspiring to attain a doctoral degree in English? Check out: PhD in English

Semester IV

Methods of Teaching English
This subject includes different methods and ways of teaching English for students who want to get into the education field as professors and lecturers. Students are provided with various teaching methods such as direct method, grammar method, structural approach, etc.

Shakespearean Literature  
This subject under MA English syllabus focuses on studying the works of Shakespeare as well as his writing and his contribution to English literature. Students are provided with sufficient knowledge about his life and works. 

Top Colleges to Study MA English

With scores of students pursuing a career in Functional English or other related avenues, colleges and universities across the world, including India have started offering MA English programs. Glance through the following table to know the names of the institutes providing the course:

  • University of Delhi
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Christ University
  • Jamia Milia Islamia
  • Hyderabad Central University
  • Loyola College
  • Presidency University
  • Fergusson College, University of Pune
  • Jadavpur University
  • Indraprastha College for Women


Q1: How many papers are there in MA English?
MA English can be a 1-2 year-long degree program depending upon the country and university one plans to join. Usually, a 2-year course consists of 16 core subjects spanned over 4 semesters. 

Q2: What is an MA in English?
Master of Arts is a specialized degree focusing on the humanities or art specific courses with a duration of 1 to 2 years. MA in English is a masters degree focusing on Literature studies. 

Q3: Which university is best for MA English?
There are a plethora of renowned universities that offer this prestigious course, enlisted below are some of them with different MA admission process

1. University of Oxford
2. University of Cambridge
3. Harvard University
4. Brunel University London
5. Leiden University
6. University of Turin
7. The George Washington University
8. University of Ottawa
9. The University of Melbourne
10. Trinity College Dublin
11. Texas State University
12. University of Connecticut
13. Université Paris Sciences Et Lettres
14. Bilkent University
15. University of Tsukuba
16. Queen Margaret University

We hope that this article on MA English Syllabus helped you explore the subjects you will be studying during the duration of this course. If you are planning to discover the vast history of English literature and writings through an in-depth postgraduate degree, Leverage Edu experts can help you find an ideal university to pursue this course as well as help you with the admission process.

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