Master of Arts degree in English Literature or M.A. in English Literature is a Post Graduate program in English Literature offered by Universities across the country. It is a 2 year program for students who have successfully completed their Bachelor’s degree program. A Master’s degree in English Literature is a notch higher than the Bachelor’s Program in English Literature and focuses on an in-depth study of different genres and the factor shaping literature from a particular era. On completion of the course a student is expected to be able to expertly analyze a work of literature in its historical, cultural, political and philosophical context.
History of Post Graduate Studies in English in India
The historical landmarks in English education in India began with McCauley’s Policy in 1835 and Wood’s Dispatch in 1854 which recognized the need for mass education in India. Higher Studies began with the establishment of Universities at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in 1857. These universities still hold the premier position in terms of university education. University level education also got a boost with the establishment of the University of Delhi in 1922.
English Language and Literature have been an integral part of English Studies in India. A sizeable portion of the syllabus both at graduate and post-graduate level constitutes of British Literature. At present there are over 100 institutes which offer MA in English program.
What do you learn?
A Master program is designed to provide an in-depth knowledge of Literature written in English language across the globe. But it is not just literature which is the focus of the program. There are certain skills which one acquires while pursuing Master of Arts degree in English Literature. Some of these skills are:
Duration of M.A. in English Literature Program
Master of Arts in English Literature program is of a duration of 2 years. In some universities the program has annual structure while some follow the semester system in which case there are 4 years in 2 years.
Schemes and Scholarships by UGC for MA English Students
University Grants Commission has announced certain scholarships for meritorious students enrolled in MA English programs in UGC approved universities.
Total Number of Scholarships
Post-Graduate Merit Scholarship Scheme for University Rank Holders at Undergraduate level
This Scheme has been in place from the academic year 2008-10.
It encourages university rank holders at the undergraduate level both in general and honors courses to pursue higher studies.
The duration of the scheme is 2 years.
In General Courses Scholarship is awarded to First and Second rank holders at University level.
In Honors Courses Scholarship is awarded only to First Rank Holder.
The Candidate must be enrolled in a Post-Graduate program.
Age should not exceed above 30 years.
1800 for General Courses.
575 for Honors Courses.
2000 INR per month for a duration of 2 years (10 months in each year)
Post Graduate Indira Gandhi Scholarship Scheme for Single Girl Child
This scheme has been started to promote post graduate education among single girl child in non-professional courses.
Female candidates enrolled in post graduate programs in institutes of higher studies.
Only Single Girl Child enrolled in the 1st year of PG programs are eligible for the scheme.
Age should not exceed beyond 30 years.
1200 scholarships per year
2000 INR per month for a period of 2 years (10 months each year)
Top Universities to Pursue MA English in India
Most universities in India offer Post Graduate program in English Literature. Some of the top universities are:
Correspondence Mode of Study
Several universities in India also allow students to pursue Master degree in English Literature in the distance or correspondence mode. The correspondence mode of study is ideal for such candidates who for some reason are not able to continue their education in the regular mode or have failed to get admission in any regular program. Some of the universities which offer MA in English Literature through the correspondence mode are:
Ideally an M.A. program in English Literature requires a student to study 16 courses over the span of two years. Some Universities also allow a student to select a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 courses from other departments of Humanities and Social Sciences. Some of the courses available at Universities are:
Scheme of Assessment
Almost all universities assess students on the basis of their performance in Internal Assessment and a Theory Examination at the end of an academic year or semester. The basic assessment structure is as follows:
Type of Assessment
Internal Assessment in MA English program consists of the following criteria:
Some Universities also require students enrolled in MA English Literature program to write and submit a Dissertation at the end of the second year or last semester. The Dissertation carries a weightage of 100 marks. The dissertation topics can be selected from the various genres and authors from across all branches of literature.
After MA in English Literature, a student desirous of pursuing further studies has many options to choose from. After MA in English Literature, a student can opt for an M.Phil. Course in any of the branches of literature studies. M.Phil. is a Master of Philosophy Program and is partly theoretical and partly research based. It is the perfect option for students who wish to pursue a career in academics and go for research in Literature. Alternatively students can also appear for UGC-NET exam in English Literature and directly get admission in PhD programs across the country upon qualification. Some of the courses which can be done after an MA in English Literature are:
There are also several courses which you can do to target a particular career. Some such courses are:
Name of Course
Purpose of Course
Bachelor of Education
Suitable for people who wish to pursue a career in teaching
PG Diploma in Publishing
Suitable for people who wish to pursue a career in publishing and printing
PG Diploma in Teaching (English Language/ Methodology/ Primary)
Another viable option for those aiming for a career in Teaching
Graduation and/or Bachelor's Degree obtained through the 10+2+3 system or an equivalent qualification with a minimum aggregate of 50% or equivalent CGPA of any of the Universities incorporated by an act of the central or state legislature in India. There is a Relaxation of 5% aggregate for SC/ST candidates.
Admission to MA program in English ideally begins around the month of February and March when Universities begin to release their application forms. Generally universities conduct entrance examination for admission to the MA program in English but there are certain universities which take admission on the basis of merit.
Delhi University grants direct admission to students who have completed their Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from any of the colleges affiliated with Delhi University with an aggregate of 60% or more marks for General category candidates and 54% marks for OBC/SC/ST/PwD candidates. 50% of the total seats are reserved for direct admission.
Entrance Exam for MA English in India
All the major MA English offering universities conduct entrance exam for admission of students to the program. Some of the universities which hold entrance exam are:
The syllabus of entrance exam can vary but the question paper is designed to test the knowledge of a candidate in literature and reading and writing comprehension. Mostly paper based, a test paper might contain the following parts:
Type of Questions
Language and Literature, General Awareness
Essay topics from various issues related to literature and current affairs
The Entrance Test paper of Jawaharlal Nehru University is completely Subjective and is designed to test analytical and original thinking of a candidate about various issues related to literature. The test duration can vary from 2 hours to 3 hours.