MA English part 2
This module enables you to complete your MA in English by producing a dissertation on a topic that you choose yourself, guided by your tutor and building on the study areas and approaches you explored in MA English part 1 (A815). This provides a satisfying culmination to your studies enabling you to demonstrate your command of scholarly techniques and your skill in devising, planning and writing an extended research project in literature. Highly rewarding in its own right, the MA dissertation is also an ideal preparation for doctoral level research and for a wide range of careers.
02 May 2015
Registration now closed
07 May 2016
Registration closes 05/02/16 (places subject to availability)Click to register
This module is expected to start for the last time in May 2022.
What you will study
In this module you will move on to the planning and research for the MA dissertation, which will be on a topic and texts of your own choice. You will have the opportunity to draw on the study areas and approaches you explored in MA English part 1 (A815), including issues of intertextuality, translation, adaptation or book history. Your tutor will help you decide on its focus and range. Your tutor will also provide advice and feedback on developing a viable dissertation proposal and on making an initial review of the primary and secondary sources relevant to your chosen research topic. There will be two specific stages of guidance before you submit your final dissertation: firstly, you will devise your topic and prepare an outline proposal in consultation with your tutor; and secondly, a month or so later, you will prepare a sample chapter on which you will receive feedback from your tutor. You will then spend the rest of the year completing the dissertation. This is your chance to work independently to develop a topic in which you are passionately interested, and to exercise and enhance the skills you have acquired during part 1 of the MA.
You will learn
This is the second part of a two-part programme, which, continuing from part 1, will:
further develop the skills you acquired in part 1 of the MA and enable you to apply them in a research project and dissertation
further enhance your knowledge and understanding of how competing and overlapping critical and theoretical perspectives bear upon the practice of literary research at postgraduate level
provide further training in research tools and methods appropriate to postgraduate study in literature
enable you to design a programme of independent research and writing.
In combination with the wide-ranging issues and concepts explored in MA English part 1 (A815), this module will provide you with an extensive theoretical and practical training in major issues in the study of literature, as well as in research methods, project planning and writing. The MA is the ideal preparation for higher-level doctoral study, and indeed an MA qualification is usually required for admission to a programme of research leading to a PhD. The training in research and writing that you acquire in the course of your MA studies will also be invaluable for any job for which a high level of research and writing skills are required, and is of specific relevance for careers such as teaching, journalism and other media work, and librarianship. The MA in English can open up a wide range of careers, from the city to the civil service, from the classroom to the newsroom.
Normally you must have completed MA English part 1 (A815) (or the discontinued modules AA810 and either A811 or A813) before you take this module. Alternatively, you can complete your MA by taking A816 if you have already gained 120 credits from the discontinued MA in Literature (F29).
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
Outside the UK
It is possible to study this module outside the UK, though you will need to ensure that you will be able to access relevant primary and secondary source materials. You will almost certainly need to arrange physical access to a research library in order to use material that is only available in print form.
You will have begun to think about the topic for your dissertation, and begun some initial reading and planning for it before the end of the taught module, MA English part 1 (A815). Before the formal start of A816 you should be compiling your initial bibliography of primary and secondary sources relevant to your topic, and should be thinking about how you might structure your dissertation, so that you are ready to submit your proposal without delay when the module starts.
A816 is a compulsory module in our:
Some postgraduate qualifications allow study to be chosen from other subject areas. We advise you to refer to the relevant qualification descriptions for information on the circumstances in which this module can count towards these qualifications because from time to time the structure and requirements may change.
Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser before registering.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are
available on our Essential documents website.
If you have a disability
Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material is available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.
If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.
You will be provided with a Dissertation Guide setting out specific guidance on the planning and preparation of your dissertation. It will include details of the tasks that you need to undertake along with cut-off dates for assignments. Certain of the critical Readings provided for the part 1 module (A815) may continue to be useful as you plan and work on your dissertation. The Handbook to Literary Research is a set book for this module as well as for A815. It will become increasingly important as you begin independent work on your dissertation. You will have access to a dedicated website which includes online forums and very extensive electronic resources via The Open University Library.
You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.
We recommend either of the following:
Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.
A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.
We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:
Internet Explorer 9 and above
Apple Safari 7 and above
Google Chrome 31 and above
Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.
Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.
See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.
Teaching and assessment
Support from your tutor
Your tutor will help you decide upon a suitable dissertation topic and provide feedback on drafts of your work at set points in the module. Your tutor will also support you via online forums (on the A816 website) or by email or telephone as appropriate. You may have the opportunity to attend a day school as part of your tuition for this module, where you will have face-to-face tutorial contact.
Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.
The assessment details can be found in the facts box above.
You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.
You will complete two assignments related to your planning and research for the dissertation, which will marked by your tutor although they do not form part of the assessment of your final MA. The first of these will be a brief (1500 word) dissertation proposal for comment and approval by your tutor. The second will consist of a sample chapter (up to 5000 words), on which your tutor will provide detailed feedback. This chapter will form part of your final dissertation (12,000-15,000 words), on which you will then work independently. The MA will be assessed solely on the final dissertation, as submitted. The dissertation will be assessed by your tutor and a second marker. Their recommendations will help to determine the result awarded by the Examination and Assessment Board.
You will submit your dissertation in hard copy, and you will find instructions for doing this in the Dissertation Guide.
Students also studied
Students who studied this course also studied at some time:
The details given here are for the module that starts in May 2015 and May 2016. We expect it to be available once a year.
How to register
To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.
The Open University is the world's leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you're at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you'll be supported throughout your studies - your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.
For more information about distance learning at the OU read Study explained.