English Literature - master

Duration: 2 years

English Literature - master

Duration: 2 År

Application deadline
Nordic applicants: 15 April, EU/EEA + Swiss applicants: 1 March, Non-EU/EEA applicants: 15 November
How to apply?

The Master's Programme in English Literature provides a comprehensive study of literature from across the English-speaking world. Courses highlight how literature shapes and is shaped by history; its relevance for contemporary issues such as climate change, migration and social justice; and its ability to challenge and refine a reader's ways of thinking. Building on a diverse range of critical approaches, the programme helps students refine their abilities to think analytically and creatively.

Questions about the study
E-mail: aisi@hjelp.uit.no
Telephone: +47 77660793

Information about semester start

The master's programme in English literature gives students the opportunity to study a broad range of literary and cultural texts in English, while specializing in an area of their choice under the leadership of a researcher in that field. The English section can offer supervision in English, Irish, American and post-colonial literatures, and is particularly strong in the areas of romanticism, modernism, and contemporary literature.

Each year, students are offered courses organized around socially-relevant themes, key literary periods and genres, and/or prominent authors. All master's level courses include training in secondary research and literary theory, practice in close analysis, and feedback on students' written work.

In moving from coursework to the master's thesis, students move toward a more specialized focus and more independent research. This research is supported by each student's supervisor and by a series of organized work-in-progress seminars targeting the skills needed for master's-level research.

The programme consists of:
60 credits coursework in English literature (ENG-3000-level)
60 credits Master's thesis (ENG-3992)

The mandatory coursework includes:
ENG-3192 Literary and Cultural Theory; and

One course from each of these categories:
3000-level Literature and Society Courses (such as Literature and Justice; or Literature and the Environment)
3000-level Period-Based Studies (such as Modernism, Major Authors or Contemporary Poetry)
3000-level Studies in Genre (such as Short Fiction or Development of the Novel)

Literary and Cultural Theory (ENG-3192) and Literature and Society courses are offered in the fall. Studies in Genre and Period Studies courses are offered in the spring. The remaining 20 credits of coursework may be fulfilled by choosing from any ENG-3000 courses offered in literature/culture. Specific courses being offered vary, and will be stated in the course catalogue for the current semester.

Students wishing to substitute courses from other relevant fields (typically selected to support research for the master's thesis or during an exchange) may apply to have this substitution approved on an individual basis (up to 20 credits).

The master's thesis is theoretically-informed work of independent research on a limited topic within English literature. Theses are 70-100 pages in length (1.5 spacing, Times New Roman 12).

Students are assigned a supervisor appropriate for their topic. The topic of research will be decided upon in collaboration with a member of the English literature section.

After completing the master's degree in English literature, candidates will have the following learning outcomes:


The candidate:

  • has gained advanced knowledge about English literature from a diversity of national contexts and periods, with specialized knowledge in the area chosen for the thesis
  • understands and can engage with diverse theoretical approaches to literary and cultural texts
  • can apply knowledge from one literary sub-field within a new sub-field
  • can analyse and interpret literary texts in relation to history, genre, and socio-cultural debates


The candidate can:

  • evaluate and engage with literary criticism expressing diverse perspectives and use them to structure and formulate scholarly arguments
  • analyse existing literary theories and interpretations and work independently on theoretical or interpretive problems
  • use relevant methods of historical and literary research and creative thinking to develop ideas in an independent manner
  • formulate research questions and carry out an independent research project about English literature in the form of a master's thesis and related presentation with the support of supervision and in accordance with the norms of research ethics

General Competence

The candidate is able to:

  • communicate sophisticated content to specialists and the general public using appropriate literary critical terminology
  • apply his or her knowledge and skills in new areas in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects
  • contribute to new thinking in the field of English literature

English master's candidates possess sought-after analytical and creative thinking skills and are respected for their skills in oral and written communication. A master's degree in English literature prepares students for work in the literary and cultural industries through positions in publishing, journalism, museums, libraries, and bookstores. It also prepares graduates for a wide range of jobs that require culturally-sensitive international communication. The independent work of the master's thesis provides experience relevant for higher positions in the government and in business.

Finally, the programme qualifies students for admission to doctoral programmes in literature, thereby providing possibilities for further research career.

Our spring classes for 2024 are:
ENG-3108: Colonial and Postcolonial Discourses in English Literature
ENG-3153: Literary History
ENG-3195: Poetry: Innovations in Genre

Admission to the master's programme in English literature requires a bachelor's degree (180 ECTS), or equivalent qualification, in English literature, or a degree combining English literature and a closely-related discipline (minimum 80 ECTS in English).

Applicants need an average minimum grade of C or better from the bachelor's degree to be admitted to the master's program.

Applicants with education from non-Nordic countries must document English language proficiency. You will find more information about English language requirements here.

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries can find more information about applying for admission here.

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries can find more information about applying for admission here.

Non-EU students must be prepared to pay tuition fees, more information here

Please note that all questions related to the admission process should be directed to the Admission Office at the university.

In order to reach the learning goals, students should expect to work 40 hours a week attending and lectures, seminars and studying independently.

The master's thesis requires independent research and writing on a specialized topic chosen by the student in collaboration with a supervisor. Students are expected to anticipate and organize their research and writing tasks and to produce work to be discussed at regular meetings with their supervisor.

Most courses include written assignments or oral presentations that must be approved in order to take the exam.

The most common forms of examination are home exams written on assigned topics over a one-two week period or term papers on topics that students choose in cooperation with course instructor. Grades range from A-F, where A is the highest grade and F is fail.

For further information about work requirements, exam formats and evaluative criteria, see the individual course descriptions.

The language of all teaching and examinations is English.

Exchange studies abroad will make you more attractive on the job market. Studies abroad will increase your learning outcomes, improve your language skills, give you unique adventures and international experience. Students taking the Master's in English Literature are encouraged to make use of one of our exchange agreements in the second semester.

For an updated overview of exchange universities, please take a look at UiT's webpage on student exchange.

The application deadlines are:

1 February (autumn semester)
1 September (spring semester)

Institute Country
University of Constance Tyskland
University of Limerick Irland
University of Saskatchewan Canada
The Norwegian Study Centre Storbritannia og Nord-Irland
Laura Virginia Castor ISK
Castor, Laura

 Laura Castor is professor in English literature/culture who is passionate about teaching, reading and writing on Indigenous people's issues (especially in North America) and African American literatures and cultures. She teaches, writes, and has advised Masters theses on topics such as contemporary Native North American and African American fiction, dystopian literature, satire, life narrative, and gendered discourses. In research and teaching, she seeks to understand how historical, cultural and intersectional contexts are represented in the arts. Her current research examines questions related to collective memory, embodied social justice,decolonial and antiracist interventions in the academy. An ongoing concern of hers is how we might move toward healing trauma through storytelling --in, for example, life narratives, fiction, and crossovers between fiction, visual art, and music. Her book, Facing Trauma in Contemporary American Literary Discourse: Stories of Survival and Possibility (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019) addresses these issues.  


Falke, Cassandra

Cassandra Falke is a Professor of English Literature at UiT. She specializes in English romanticism and literary theory. Her books include  Intersections in Christianity and Critical Theory (ed. 2010),  Literature by the Working Class: English Autobiography, 1820-1848 (2013),  The Phenomenology of Love and Reading  (2016; paperback 2018), Phenomenology of the Broken Body (co-ed 2019), Wild Romanticism (co-ed, 2021), and Interpreting Violence: Narrative, Ethics and Hermeneutics (co-ed 2023). In articles and book chapters, he has also written about Romantic-period literature, class, education, contemporary phenomenology and the portrayal of violence in literature.   

She is the recipient of a Fulbright professorship, two NEH awards, and a Distinguished Professor designation for teaching. She led the NOH-HS funded network,  Interpreting Violence: Narrative, Ethics and Hermeneutics  and is a partner in the project Instrumental Narratives: The Limits of Storytelling and New Story-Critical Narrative Theory . She also led the project ReadRespond: Literature / History / Human Rights , an international, online reading initiative encouraging discussions of rights-engaged literature. Falke was President of the American Studies Association of Norway from 2018-2022 and leads UiT's Interdisciplinary Phenomenology research group. Her current book projects are entitled Global Human Rights Fiction  (Routledge 2023),  Wise Passiveness: Being Receptive in the Romantic Period  (Bloomsbury, 2024), and   The Reader as Witness: Seeing Political Violence through Contemporary Novels.  A list of recent publications may be viewed in Cristin and on the attached CV. During the 2024-2025 academic year, she will be a fellow of the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University.

Justin Parks, ISK
Parks, Justin Michael

Justin Parks is Associate Professor in American literature and cultural studies and current academic programme director of the English literature section at UiT. His research and teaching are rooted in modern and contemporary poetry and poetics and American studies, and he also has strong interests in Marxist theory, media (including visual and sound) studies, and environmental/energy humanities. Most recently, he has taught courses on Anglophone modernism and postmodernism, the literature of the 1930s, poetry and poetics, and William Faulkner.

He is the author of the monograph Poetry and the Limits of Modernity in Depression America (Cambridge University Press, 2023). His current research extends his interest in reading literary and cultural forms in the context of ongoing crises within modernity to address issues of energy and environment: He guest-edited a special issue of the journal Textual Practice (2021) on literature and extractivism and his ongoing research investigates the interrelationships between poetry and energy discourses throughout the long twentieth century.

He is currently Executive Editor of the journal American Studies in Scandinavia.

Minna Niemi
Niemi, Minna Johanna

Minna Johanna Niemi is associate professor (førsteamanuensis) in the English literature section. She received her PhD in English from the University at Buffalo in 2011. Her research and teaching interests include postcolonial literary studies, Anglophone African literary studies, trauma studies, and ethics. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, the South African Journal of Philosophy, ARIEL, Postcolonial Studies, and the Journal of Southern African Studies.

She is the author of Complicity and Responsibility in Contemporary African Writing: The Postcolony Revisited (Routledge, 2021).


She is currently co-editing a collection of essays focusing on Zimbabwean politics of the past and working on her second monograph on western complicity in the postcolonial political arena.

Bilde av Moi, Ruben
Moi, Ruben

Ruben Moi is Professor in English literature and culture. His research focuses on Just Literature (JUL), Irish literature and culture and Border Aesthetics, but also includes Modernism and visual arts. Other fields of interest are the Renaissance, Romanticism and didactics. He is a member of the Norwegian Academic Council for English and several international Irish research associations. For many years he was the leader of Ordkalotten (WordCape) Tromsø International Litereature Festival. Moi's recent books are:

Paul Muldoon and the Language of Poetry:  https://brill.com/display/title/35800?language=en

The Crossings of Art in Ireland: https://www.amazon.com/Crossings-Art-Ireland-Reimagining/dp/303430983X

Bilde av Jonsson, Emelie
Jonsson, Emelie

Emelie Jonsson is associate professor of English literature at the University of Tromsø, Norway. Her research centers on the friction between human psychology and naturalistic cosmology. She has published evolutionary interpretive arguments on a number of authors, including E. M. Forster, H. G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Joseph Conrad, as well as collaborated on quantitative projects concerning intellectual history, biocultural theory, and poetic archetypes reflecting mating strategies.


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