MA Programmes

Taught MA Programmes

The School of English offers the following taught MA programmes:

The School also hosts the MA in Digital Arts and Humanities.

The MA Brochure 2015 has an overview of each of these programmes, and up-to date information can be found in UCC's online prospectus.

Applications for all postgraduate programmes are made online through the Postgraduate Applications Centre in Galway (PAC) at

The College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences is offering 12 Excellence Scholarships for taught masters, and applicants to MA programmes in the School of English are encouraged to apply. The scholarships cover EU tuition fees, and are also open to international applicants from outside the EU.  For information about these scholarships please visit the CACSSS Graduate School websiteApplication now closed for 2018.

MA in Medieval to Renaissance: Texts and Contexts

This MA offers students the opportunity to explore the full variety and contexts of Old English, Middle English, and Renaissance literature from the islands of Britain and Ireland, as well the afterlives and legacies of these literary traditions in the modern era.

The MA examines interactions between texts in English from these islands, tracing the beginnings of Anglo-Irish writing, as well as the cultural transmissions and transformations between classical, European, and insular intellectual and literary traditions circa 700 to circa 1700. The programme takes a particular interest in interrogating conventional boundaries between periods (such as medieval and Renaissance), genres, and media (drama, prose, poetry, oral traditions, film etc.). Modern writers and filmmakers have a fascination with the Medieval and Early Modern that goes far beyond rewritings of ancient myths, or star-studded movie versions of Shakespeare’s plays, and this programme aims to alert students to some of these recent cultural approaches. The MA programme is also stimulated by exceptional contexts and resources from medieval and early modern sites, such as Spenser’s Kilcolman Castle in north Cork, to the early printed book collections of the Boole Library’s Special Collections.

Thus, the MA Texts and Contexts: Medieval to Renaissance programme is designed to provide students with the ability to analyse, understand, and communicate:

  • the conceptual and critical issues involved in the study of Old, Middle, and Renaissance English;
  • the historical and cultural contexts that the study of these periods involves;
  • the issues surrounding the reception, transmission, appropriation, and transformation of early writing across time and especially in modern texts and media.

Moreover, this intensive taught MA provides the foundations for study at higher degree level. It introduces the subject-specific skills that are required for the primary study of earlier English (palaeography, codicology, analysis of the physical composition of printed texts, use of databases and bibliographies) and seeks to develop essential transferable skills (writing, research, analysis, referencing, presentation, teamwork, time-management) that are invaluable as students embark on a scholarly project or career.


Taught Element

The subject modules and the Literary Research Skills module comprise the taught element of the MA and run from October to March. The subject modules introduce students to the specific thematic area of their choice. The Literary Research Skills module aims to equip MA students for the development and implementation of their research strategy through the acquisition of a range of research skills.

Part 1: Taught modules

EN6052 New Histories of the Book: theories and practices of earlier writing (10 credits)

EN6053 Old English Literature, to c. 1200 (10 credits)

EN6051 Middle English Literature, 1200-1550 (10 credits)

EN6054 Renaissance Literature, c. 1500-1700 (10 credits)

EN6063 The Road Goes Ever On: The Reception of Old, Medieval, and Renaissance Literatures (10 credits)

EN6009 Contemporary Literary Research: Skills, Methods and Strategies (10 credits)

Research Element
Dissertation: the dissertation will be written between March and the end of September, and will be submitted in October. It will be supervised by a member(s) of staff, after consultation and agreement, and will be 15,000 to 17,000 words. Supervision will take place between March and the end of September.

Note:  Module details are subject to change for 2019/2020

Note: Subject to the approval of the MA programme coordinators, students may substitute one 10-credit module with a 10-credit module from one of the other MA programmes: MA Modernities: American and British Literature and Film, or, the MA in Irish Writing and Film. Modules from the MA in Creative Writing cannot be chosen. Students may not replace EN6052 New Histories of the Book with another MA module

Teaching staff Dr Tom Birkett (co-ordinator), Dr Andrew King, Dr Kenneth Rooney, Dr Edel Semple

For more information, please see the online prospectus, or contact the co-ordinator, Dr Tom Birkett,  

You can find out more about the Medieval and Renaissance community at UCC on our Facebook Page

Testimonial from Emer Murphy (Texts and Contexts Graduate 2015/16)

I was in the final year of my bachelor’s degree when I fully recognised my love of Renaissance literature after taking Dr. Edel Semple’s Shakespeare on Screen seminar. The content was intriguing, and stimulated many a rich conversation in us slightly-hesitant undergraduates. What began as curiosity and interest, morphed into enthusiasm and passion as the class soon became the highlight of my week and I came to the realisation that a postgraduate course in English was something I should pursue.

I immediately went to the UCC School of English to investigate what they had on offer and discovered the MA in Medieval to Renaissance English. The programme stood out from all the others in Ireland for its diverse range of texts, from 700AD Old English writing to 1700 Renaissance literature and everything in between. The sheer historic and generic scope of the programme as well as the invigorating material waiting to be delved into provided me with an exciting opportunity to further my studies. With lively discussions, which often continued beyond the classroom, the course allowed me to explore outside my comfort zone and challenged me to become a more inquisitive scholar as I was encouraged to push beyond my intellectual boundaries. For me, the MA was a journey of learning and growth as I created my own blog for the Research Skills module, deciphered intricate handwriting in Book History, attempted to deconstruct the musings of Margery Kempe in Middle English, and debated whether or not Shakespeare’s shrew had truly been tamed. Each module was as engaging as it was thought-provoking and thoroughly fulfilled my expectations.

Under the guidance of a committed and passionate lecturing team, my academic ambitions were fuelled further as the lecturers’ infectious energy inspired many a great scholarly debate. With their office doors constantly open, they were more than willing to share their expertise and knowledge, going above and beyond to create an exceptional Masters programme.

The most challenging and simultaneously rewarding aspect of the MA, however, was the research dissertation. Such a project allowed me to explore my own unique interests and provided me with an opportunity to put all I had learned over the previous nine months into practice. It was an immensely enjoyable undertaking and was one of the many highlights of my postgraduate experience. The support of the lecturers and the English department was second to none and I can only use positive words to describe my journey. I cannot recommend this MA programme enough as it truly was a year I will never forget.

MA in Irish Writing and Film


‌‌MA in Irish Writing and Film: Theories and Traditions

The MA in Irish Writing and Film will introduce you to an exceptionally rich body of cultural texts whose breadth and diversity continues to generate scholarly debate.  With expert guidance, you will discover the historical and cultural contexts that inform Irish culture up to the present day, and engage in debate on a wide range of issues. You will read key texts from the eighteenth century to the present and be encouraged to engage with some of the most influential critical and theoretical models currently being applied in the analysis of Irish literature and film. You will also develop independent research in the field under the expert guidance of our academics, many of whom are themselves authors of important studies of Irish culture. Writers who are studied include Jonathan Swift, Edmund Burke, Maria Edgeworth, Gerald Griffin, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Elizabeth Bowen, Kate O’Brien, Brian Friel, Marina Carr, Anne Enright and Colm Tóibín.  Classic Irish films such as Man of Aran and This Other Eden are studied alongside the work of such notable new Irish filmmakers as Lenny Abrahamson. 


The MA consists of two parts.  In Part 1, which runs from September to March, students complete the requirements for 5 modules:

EN6009 Contemporary Literary Research: Skills, Methods, Strategies (10 credits)

FX6010 Irish Cinema: History, Contexts, Aesthetics (10 credits)

Three of the Following Four Modules:

EN6047 Irish Culture: Colonial, Postcolonial, Transnational (10 credits)

EN6048 Gender and Sexuality (10 credits)

EN6049 Gothic to Modernism (10 credits)

EN6050 Space and Place in Irish Writing and Film (10 credits)

Note: with the agreement of the co-ordinators of the MA programmes one 10-credit module may be substituted from one of the other English MA programmes.

Part 2, EN6017, involves researching and writing a dissertation of 15,000-17,000 words on a topic agreed by the student and their assigned supervisor.  The dissertation is submitted in early September. 

Teaching Staff: Professor Claire Connolly, Professor Alex Davis, Dr Anne Etienne, Dr Marie Kelly, Dr Heather Laird, Dr Barry Monahan, Dr Maureen O'Connor, Dr Clíona Ó Gallchoir, Dr Eibhear Walshe.

For further details, please consult the online prospectus, or contact the course co-ordinators, Dr Heather Laird  (021) 4902583 and Dr Maureen O'Connor (021) 4902586.


Student Testimonials:

Laura Hussey, MA Irish Writing and Film, 2014-15

Having recently acquired a position as publishing editor for a global academic publishing house, I have come to realise how fundamental my MA in Irish Writing was in attaining this role. Whereas other university programmes I looked at seemed like stagnant and outmoded approaches to pedagogical instruction, UCC’s School of English conveyed an active commitment to the evolving nature of theoretical and academic scholarship.  Engaging in weekly class seminars and listening to renowned guest speakers on current literary trends in psychogeography, ecocriticism, and postcolonial transnationalism, I always felt confident that I was being set a contemporary and solid foundation for further academic studies, if I wished to pursue them.

One of the most encouraging and comforting  aspects of UCC’s English MA, was the diversity of the course’s focus and its awareness that its emerging English graduates held a range of aspirations, ranging from PhD scholarship, to journalism, marketing and publishing. Unsure about what career to pursue upon entering an MA, and acutely aware of an economic climate that portrayed employability as a ‘holy grail’ prospect, it was UCC’s persistent focus on digital e-learning,  interconnected e-journals, and archival projects that convinced me to follow a Master’s degree at University College Cork. These projects have since proved to be imperative in securing a career in academic publishing. Having worked for two publishing houses since graduating from UCC, it was my course’s focus on databases, bibliography referencing,  interactive presentations and  en vogue debates concerning the rise of open access scholarship that have proved to be most valuable in obtaining a career in the protean environment of academic publishing. 

The ethos of UCC’s learning revolves around the principle of “independent thinking.”  This, I can confidently note, has been my experience with an MA in English.  It was both a privilege and an exciting challenge to write an MA English thesis amongst engaged and critically renowned lecturers. My ability to execute independent research and to construct a logical and theoretically engaged thesis was encouraged and cultivated by a faculty that were knowledgeable, motivated, and most importantly, friendly.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my years in the English department as a BA, and subsequently, MA student.

Laura Hussey, Editor on the Theatre and Performance List at Routledge

MA in Modernities: American and British Literature and Film

MA in English - Modernities: American and British Literature and Film

This MA introduces students to advanced study of literature in English from the Romantic period to the present day.  Locating three key movements in literature and culture since the 1790s - Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism - the course explores connections between ideas and aesthetic techniques traditionally associated with those movements.

The MA consists of two parts.  In Part 1, which runs from September to March, students complete the requirements for 50 credits:

EN6009 Contemporary Literary Research: Skills, Methods, Strategies (10 credits)


EN6028 Theories of Modernity (10 credits)

plus 30 credits from:

EN6025 Literary and Cultural Modernisms (10 credits)

EN6026 Postmodernism in Literature and Film (10 credits)

EN6027 Romanticism and Modernity (10 credits)

EN6029 American Modernities (10 credits)


Note: with the agreement of the co-ordinators of the MA programmes and Head of School one 10-credit module may be subsituted from one of the other English MA programmes.

Part 2, EN6017, involves researching and writing a dissertation of 15,000-17,000 words on a topic agreed by the student and their assigned supervisor. 

Teaching Staff: Prof Graham Allen, Prof Alex Davis, Dr Alan Gibbs, Dr Lee Jenkins, Dr Barry Monahan, Dr Clíona Ó Gallchoir.

For further details, please consult the online prospectus, browse the UCC Book of Modules, or contact the co-ordinator, Prof Alex Davis at

MA in Creative Writing

MA creative writing gif 2

The UCC MA in Creative Writing encourages students to be curious about literature, to pursue creative excellence and to develop their writing in a university atmosphere. The course as a whole encourages and supports a full exploration of the creative self while also maintaining a strong vocational emphasis. All of our courses are embedded in Cork’s dynamic creative milieu, rooted in expert practice and taught by highly accomplished professionals. A rich variety of modules are available, including Fiction, Poetry and Life Writing. Creative non-fiction options include innovative courses in Food Writing and Writing for Radio.‌

This course involves an exciting mixture of seminars, workshops; placement and writing practice and students will work on self-reflexive essays and projects. The expected seminar hours from September to March will be around  6-8 per week ( this may vary) and expected reading hours and writing assignments will be around another 8 hours per week.  . This programme may be taken on a full-time basis, running over 12 months from the date of first registration; or on a part-time basis, running over 24 months from the date of first registration. In the case of part-time students, a minimum of 30 credits of taught modules must be taken in the first year. For part-time students, the Dissertation module is only available in the second year.

There are two remaining deadlines for EU and Non-EU applications: May 1st & July 1st, 2015

Core Modules  (15 credits)

These Core Modules address two of the central aims of the programme: to help students understand the practical constraints and professional opportunities of life as a writer in a variety of potential contexts; and to cultivate an inventive, authentic and self-aware writing style.


Visit the MA in Creative Writing website


EN 6034          The Business of Writing         (5 credits)                    Dr Eibhear Walshe

EN 6035          Writing and Experiment  (10 credits)                         Dr Jools Gilson

plus 35 credits from a combination of  the following elective modules:

Elective Modules

These Elective Modules allow students to experiment with, engage with, and reflect on a diversity of writing practices, and to shape their own creative journey via their chosen modules.

EN6044 Craft and Technique of Fiction (1): The Short Story (5 credits) Mary Morrissy
EN6056 Craft and Technique of Fiction (2): Reading the Novel (5 credits) Mary Morrissy
EN6032 Fiction Workshop (10 credits) Mary Morrissy
EN6033 Writing the Self: Fiction and non-Fiction (10 credits) Eibhear Walshe
EN6031 Poetry 1 (10 credits) CW Staff
EN6043 Poetry 2 (5 credits) CW Staff
EN6042 Workshop with Writer-in-Residence (5 credits) CW Staff
EN6037 Food Writing (5 credits) Regina Sexton
EN6038 Writing for Radio (5 credits) Jools Gilson
EN6057 Writing for the Media (5 credits) Mary Morrissy

For more information on the MA in Creative Writing click here 

MA in Digital Arts and Humanities

MA in Digital Arts and Humanities

This MA encourages a multidisciplinary approach to digital arts and humanities in a creative and scholarly atmosphere. The course will give you an introduction into how digital tools and methods can be used in arts and humanities research, combining theory and practice.

Course Details

The course will give you a grounding in how information and communications technology (ICT) tools can be used to capture humanities data sources in digital form to frame research questions, collaborate on research using social networking tools, and present results, both in print and online. You will be encouraged and facilitated in the creation of digital artefacts individually and in teams.

The MA Digital Arts and Humanities is a one-year full-time MA. Face-to-face teaching is delivered by discussion-based seminar. The course also features elements of blended learning using online forums and social networking tools. Some modules will be offered wholly or partly as workshops.

Teaching Staff: Dr Mike CosgraveDr Orla MurphyDr David Murphy and a range of local, national and international invited specialist participants.

Further details of the programme content and modules are in the Postgraduate College Calendar

Link to UCC site

MA Applications

The final deadline for applications for 2018-19 programmes is 1 July 2018.

This online applications centre processes applications from both EU and non-EU students, for both taught and reseacrh (PhD) programmes, so be sure to select the correct section for your application. 

The Programme Codes for the School of English MAs are as follows:

  • MA in American Literature and Film CKE27

  • MA in Irish Writing and Film CKE28

  • MA in Modernities: Romanticism, Modernism, Postmodernism CKE29

  • MA in Texts and Contexts: Medieval to Renaissance CKE31

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants for taught postgraduate programmes also apply online at

Details of application procedures, minimum entry requirements and English language requirements for non-EU applicants are available from the International Education Office at Non-EU application procedure

PLease note that non-EU applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so you should receive a decision on your application quickly.  If you are awaiting a final degree result, you may receive an offer that is conditional on the award of your final degree mark. 


For the 2015-16 academic year, fees for the MA in English are €6000 (EU) and €12,500 (Non-EU).  

Up-to-date information on fees may be found at:

Supplementary Candidate's Statement

The application form makes reference to a "Supplementary Candidate's Statement," which is designed to give applicants the
opportunity to supply further information to the MA coordinators on your reasons for applying for the MA.

  • It allows you to furnish details of your academic background in the chosen area (relevant modules completed at undergraduate level, in the humanities/languages departments or in other departments)

  • You can use it to give information on other courses taken (e.g. evening courses; certificate courses; summer courses etc) in relevant or cognate areas

  • You can supply us with details of involvement in literary, creative writing, film/media/visual arts clubs, groups etc.

  • If you’ve written relevant reviews, articles, scripts, or visual presentations (including films, records of installation work etc) you can attach them to your form.

The form allows you to make a statement on why you are applying for the MA, what you hope to bring to the class, and what you hope to gain from the programme. You can include references to literature, film and visual arts that you’ve already studied and enjoyed, as well as areas that you want to explore further at postgraduate level. For example, you might include ideas for a possible dissertation topic in your statement and any preliminary reading you’ve done in the area. Remember to fill in all sections of the form when you make your PAC application. You should view this statement as a method of ‘promoting’ yourself and your commitment to your chosen area. Lastly, do pay attention to writing style as it creates a negative impression if a candidate’s statement is poorly written!

School of English

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