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Master of Arts [MA] (English Literature) - Course Overview




    2 YEARS




    Post Graduation

Updated On - January 3rd 2019

Master of Arts degree in English Literature or M.A. in English Literature is a post graduate program in English Literatureoffered 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.

Admission to the course in India is entrance exam based. However, some colleges also provide direct admission to the course. Some of the universities which hold entrance exam are:

Upon successful completion of MA English course, candidates can opt for jobs in Education, BPOs and KPOs, Publishing, Theatre, Media and Entertainment, Corporate, Writing, Advertising and Public Relations and others such. 

They can work as Editor, Assistant Editor, Web Content Writer, Translator, Teacher, Public Servant etc. The probable salaries offered to MA English graduates starts with INR 1.5 lacs depending on the job profile.

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:

  • Verbal and Communication Skills
  • Writing Skills
  • Research Aptitude
  • Understanding of human behavior and psychology
  • Reading and articulating skills

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

Grant Amount

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:

  • Jadavpur University
  • University of Delhi
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Jamia Millia Islamia University
  • University of Hyderabad
  • English and Foreign Language University
  • Presidency University
  • Banaras Hindu University

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:

  • Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
  • Annamalai University
  • Jamia Millia Islamia University
  • Mumbai University
  • Bangalore University
  • Karnataka State Open University
  • Manipal University etc. 

Course Structure for MA English

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:

  • British Literature
  • American Literature
  • Indian Literature in English
  • Translation Literature
  • Literary Theory
  • Literary History
  • English Studies
  • Postcolonial Literature
  • Women Writings
  • Linguistics

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

Maximum Marks

Theory Examination


Internal Assessment


Internal Assessment

Internal Assessment in MA English program consists of the following criteria:

  • Class Participation
  • Tutorials
  • Assignments
  • Individual and Group Presentations

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. 

Academic Options after MA in English 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:

  • M.Phil. in English Literature
  • M.Phil. in Creative Writing
  • M.Phil. in Language and Literature
  • M.Phil. in Linguistics
  • M.Phil. in Comparative Literature
  • M.Phil. in Comparative Religion
  • M.Phil. in Translation Literature

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

There is a popular opinion that a degree in English Literature is of no use when it comes to job prospects and is viewed skeptically by one and all. However, this perception is wrong as can be seen by the many career options available for MA English students. There are many sectors which are open for MA English Literature graduates. Some of these sectors are:

  • Education
  • BPOs and KPOs
  • Publishing
  • Theatre, Media and Entertainment
  • Corporate
  • Writing
  • Advertising and Public Relations

Some of the popular professions available for Post Graduates in English Literature are:



Editor or Assistant Editor

A popular choice among English Literature Post Graduates.

A diploma degree in Book publishing can be helpful.

Web Content Writer

A fast growing career option for English for English Graduates.

 Web Content Writer’s job is to write catchy and informative articles for webpages and blogs.

Academic Writer

Academic Writing is also a popular choice among English Graduates.

An academic writer basically has to write research papers, journal writings, Statement of purposes etc.


Post Graduates in English Literature can be hired as PGT.

An additional degree in B.Ed. helps secure a good position


A translator’s job is to translate a given document in English.

A diploma degree in translation is advised.

Public Servant

After Post-Graduate degree, a candidate can appear in competitive examination for jobs in various Government departments.


SEO or Search Engine Optimization has emerged as a fast growing field of work and is perfect for people with excellent English language skills.

Quality Control Executive

Nowadays BPOs and KPOs look for individuals with good grasp of English language for the position of Quality Control Executive.

Theater Actor

Though not a high-paying option, a lot of English Graduates choose to turn towards theater to channel their creative side. Studying plays and how theater works gives an edge to MA English graduates.  

How to Get Admission in Master of Arts [MA] (English Literature)

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.

Admission Process to an MA program in English Literature in India

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.

All the major MA English offering universities conduct entrance exam for admission of students to the program.

    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

    Topics Covered



    Language and Literature, General Awareness



    Essay topics from various issues related to literature and current affairs



    Poetry Comprehension

    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. 



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