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Early Modern English Literature: Text & Transmission MA

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Our degree in Early Modern English Literature is taught with the British Library and provides a unique opportunity to study early modern literary works, including Shakespeare, Donne, and Jonson, in the light of recent critical approaches and as print and manuscript material artefacts.

The module taught at the British Library is specially designed to teach students how to search collections of early modern manuscripts and rare books held in major research libraries worldwide and how to identify the agents involved in their production, transmission and preservation in libraries and private collections.

Our MA offers an ideal foundation for doctoral work and careers in the arts, education, curatorship and broadcasting.

Key Benefits

  • A strong tradition of Shakespeare, textual editing and early modern literary studies at King’s.
  • Unique access to unparalleled collections at the British Library and to the expertise of world-class curators, who will teach a core module and supervise some dissertations.
  • Close links with the London Shakespeare Seminar, the London Renaissance Seminar, the Institute of English Studies, and Lambeth Palace Library.
  • Located in the heart of literary London.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake No set number.

Course leaders

Dr Sarah Lewis

Further details

Course contact for further information Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of English



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Early Modern English Literature: Text and Translation MA

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Course detail


Our Early Modern English Literature MA is an innovative and exciting partnership between the Department of English at King’s and the British Library.

The course focuses on the transmission of key early modern literary texts, investigating both the circulation of literary texts in manuscript and print and the way they were received. The specific process through which a literary text reaches its readers or its audience is central to its interpretation.

You will learn to read early modern handwriting, to transcribe neglected literary manuscripts and rare printed texts, and to edit them for the modern reader. In focusing on transmission alongside more traditional literary approaches, the course explores the impact of the materiality of the text and of the material conditions of its (re)production on the way it is interpreted.

The Material Legacy of Early Modern Literary Texts module, which is taught at the British Library, is specifically designed to teach you how to search collections of early modern manuscripts and rare books held in major research libraries worldwide, and how to identify the factors and people involved in their production, transmission and preservation in libraries and private collections.

Further literature

Course format and assessment


If you are a full-time student, we will provide you with four to six hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars. We will expect you to undertake 26 hours of independent study.

If you are a part-time student, we will provide you with two to four hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars. We will expect you to undertake 13 hours of independent study.

We will use a delivery method that will ensure students have a rich, exciting experience from the start. Face to face teaching will be complemented and supported with innovative technology so that students also experience elements of digital learning and assessment.

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.


Your performance will be assessed mainly through written coursework or presentations. Forms of written assessment typically include essays and critical commentaries. Coursework contributes approximately 100% and examinations approximately 0% to your final mark.


The course is primarily taught at the King’s College London Strand Campus and the British Library.

Both institutions are located in the heart of literary London, and you will have easy access to the wealth of cultural offerings – including a range of libraries, archives, and theatres – in one of the world’s most vibrant and diverse cities.

This MA allows you to make the most of the extensive literary resources and facilities available at these two world-class organizations.

Regulating body

King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits.
Required Modules

You are required to take:

• Working with Early Modern Literary Texts (30 credits)

• The Material Legacy of Early Modern Literary Texts (20 credits)

• Dissertation (90 credits)


Optional Modules

In addition, you are required to take two modules, totalling 40 credits, from a range of optional modules that may typically include:

• Global/Local Shakespeares (20 credits)

• Professing Writing in Early Modern England (20 credits)

• Pre-modern Dialogues: Medieval & Early Modern Literatures in Conversation (20 credits)

• Theatre, Gender & Culture in Jacobean London (20 Credits)

• Poetic Movements, Poetic Moods 1660-1800 (20 credits)

• A range of master’s modules offered in the School of Arts & Humanities or Global Institutes, subject to approvals

If you are a part-time student, you will take The Material Legacy of Early Modern Literary Texts in your first year, along with 20 credits from the list of optional modules above. In your second year you will take your dissertation and Working with Early Modern Literary Texts, along with a further 20 credits of optional modules.

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to- date, innovative and relevant courses of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates

Entry requirements & how to apply

Early Modern English MA Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements    2:1

Minimum 2:1 BA honours degree in English Literature or in a subject in which English literature plays a significant part; other well-qualified candidates may be considered.

In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Your application will be assessed by at least two academics. We do not interview all applicants, but you are welcome to call the programme leader to arrange a visit. We aim to process all applications within four to six weeks, although this may take longer in February and March, and over holiday periods.

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £70 applies.


Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Personal Statement  Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages).

Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application


Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our first application deadline is the 26th March 2021. After this date, the programme will remain open only if places are still available and will be closed as soon as it is full.

For programmes that remain open beyond this date, the final application deadlines for the following fee statuses are listed below:

  • EU or overseas (international) fee status: 30th July 2021
  • Home fee status: 27th August 2021
Please note, you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline in March, and we are unable to process more offers as places are filled before the final application deadlines above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home fees: £10,500 per year (2021/22)
  • Full time overseas fees: £23,460 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time Home fees: £5,250 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time overseas fees: £11,730 per year (2021/22)

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March, payment is due by 30th April 2021.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April and 30th June, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July and 31st July, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer from late August onwards, payment is due within 2 days of receiving the offer.
  • If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

 Additional costs/expenses

In addition to your tuition fees, you can also expect to pay for:

· books if you choose to buy your own copies

· library fees and fines

· personal photocopies

· printing course handouts

· society membership fees

· stationery

· travel costs for travel around London and between campuses

· graduation costs

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Some of our graduates use their skills and knowledge to pursue PhD level study in the area, leading to a teaching or academic career. Others are ideally placed for jobs in the arts, creative and cultural industries, curatorship and broadcasting.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

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