Department of English & Modern Languages

MA in English Literature

Our MA in English Literature offers students two options: Literature in English and Comparative Literature. Students may opt for one of these areas based on their interest and career aims. While the MA allows for specialization for students who want to pursue higher studies in particular areas, it also allows a wide choice of courses geared to student interest.


Programme Duration

a. Four (4) semesters for the students with 4-year BA in English
b. Five (5) semesters for the students with 4-year bachelor’s degree in subjects other than English
c. Seven (7) semesters for the students with 3-year bachelor’s degree (Pass)


Grading Policy

Letter grades indicating the quality of academic performance is interpreted as follows:
Numerical Scores Letter Grades Qualitative Interpretation Grade Points
90-100 A Excellent 4.0
88-89 A- Excellent 3.7
85-87 B+ Good 3.5
80-84 B Good 3.0
78-79 B- Good 2.7
75-77 C+ Passing 2.5
70-74 C Passing 2.0
68-69 C- Passing 1.7
65-67 D+ Deficient Passing 1.5
50-64 D Deficient Passing 1.0
Below 50 F Fail Nil

Credit requirements:

Students have to complete 36 credits, which are divided into course work, and thesis or work experience. Students must take the four core courses and choose six electives, of which at least two must be taken from the student’s own area of focus. For the remaining 6 credits, students have the option to write a thesis or have work experience.

Course and credit distribution

Core courses 12 credits 4 courses
Electives 18 credits 6 courses
Thesis / Work Experience 6 credits
Total 36 credits

Courses offered

Core Courses 12 credits
ENG 501: Research Methodology
ENG 502: Contemporary Literary Theory
ENG 503: Contemporary Literature in English
ENG 504: Contemporary World Literature in Translation

Elective Courses (any 3) 9 credits
ENG 511: The Great Epics
ENG 512: Women in Literature
ENG 513: Feminist Literary Theory
ENG 514: The Literature of War
ENG 515: Other Literatures in English
ENG 516: Postcolonial Readings of Literature
ENG 517: Postmodernism
ENG 518: Editing and Publishing in Literature
ENG 519: Major Author
ENG 520: Special Topic

Area electives 9 credits
Students choose any 3 courses of which at least 2 must be from their streams

Electives from Literature in English
ENG 521: Contemporary British Literature
ENG 522: Contemporary American Literature
ENG 523: The Irish Strain
ENG 524: Modern and Contemporary Drama in English
ENG 525: Shakespeare Studies
ENG 526: Contemporary South Asian Literature in English
ENG 527: Advanced Creative Writing

Electives from Comparative Literature
ENG 531: Translation Studies
ENG 532: European Literature in Translation
ENG 533: South Asian Literature in Translation
ENG 534: Contemporary Bangla Literature
ENG 535: Race and Racism in Literature
ENG 536: Religious and Devotional Poetry
ENG 537: Women’s Tradition in Bangla Literature: Chandrabati to Selina Hossain
ENG 538: World Drama
ENG 539: Latin American Literature
ENG 540: Out of Africa
ENG 599: Thesis/Work Experience 6 credits

An overview of the programme

1ST SEMESTER (AUTUMN, AUGUST – DECEMBER)
2 Core Courses (6 credits)
ENG 501: Research Methodology
ENG 502: Contemporary Literary Theory
3 Elective Courses (9 credits)

2ND SEMESTER ( SPRING, JANUARY – APRIL)
2 Core Courses (6 credits)
ENG 503: Contemporary Literature in English
ENG 504: Contemporary World Literature in Translation

3 Elective Courses (9 credits)
3RD SEMESTER ( SUMMER, MAY - AUGUST)
ENG 599: Thesis/Work Experience (6 credits)


COURSE DESCRPTIONS


Core Courses

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of writing a research paper. They will learn how to formulate research topics, use the library as well as on-line resources, structure the paper, and document sources following accepted contemporary styles. They will be expected to use contemporary theories to help them approach their topics with clarity and relevance.
This course introduces students to contemporary literary theory including Freudian theories, Marxism, Formalism, Deconstruction, New Historicism, Postcolonialism, Feminism, Postmodernism. How does contemporary literary theory differ from earlier literary criticism?
This course will include literature of the late 20th and early 21st centuries from Anglophone countries as well as countries where writers in English have won major literary prizes. Readings will vary as new writers emerge. It is expected that at least three novels will be studied in a semester.
This course focuses on modern and contemporary world literature in translation. While the focus will be on fiction, students will also read some poems as well as a play. It is expected that at least three novels will be studied in a semester.

Elective courses (any three)

This course will focus on both oral as well as written epics and attempt to examine the question why some cultures and civilizations have epics while others do not. Why do countries or poets attempt to create epics when the age of epics has passed. What is an epic in prose? It is expected that at least five texts will be studied in a semester.
This course includes a study of texts by major women authors as well as texts by male authors portraying women, that is, both with women as subjects as well as creators of literature. How true is Adrienne Richs categorical statement that men do not write for women and that women are obliged to write for men? Is there a difference between mens writings and womens writings as some critics have suggested?
What is meant by the term feminism and should the term more correctly be feminisms? How do factors such as class and race impact on feminism? Does the issue of minority impact upon how women write and view the world? Students will explore these questions through a variety of readings from different cultures.
This course will trace the depiction of war in the ancient epics through the First and Second World Wars to the Cold War. How do literary depictions of war change with changing weapons? How do national policies affect international policies/warfare and vice versa? The course will include readings from different genres. Students will be expected to read at least two novels for this course.
This course will focus on English language texts from countries other than the UK and the US. At least five texts are to be read for this course.
This course will focus on texts that have emerged out of the experience of colonization and foreground the tension with the imperial power. Literature was central to the cultural enterprise of Empire when texts produced by the imperial power were read and absorbed by the educated elite in the language of the centre. Linguistic imperialism assumes a different form as the periphery reaches out and threatens the exclusive claims of the centre. What is the impact of a variant language when it challenges the linguistic dominance of the imperial centre? Readings will include both literary texts as well as major postcolonial theorists. Students will be expected to read at least 6 of the texts in a semester. Prerequisite: ENG 502 Contemporary Literary Theory.
What is meant by postmodernism? Does it reflect a period-- after modernism-- or a philosophy and style? Students will study critics who have contributed to this concept as well as literary texts which exemplify postmodernism.
This course introduces students to the problems of editing and the other aspects of preparing and seeing a book through the press. What are the duties and responsibilities of an editor? What is involved in editing for newspapers and journals? As part of this work, students will edit and publish a journal. Students may also be required to visit a newspaper or publisher to see the practical work involved.
Depending on interest and availability of faculty, an in-depth study of a major author may be offered. Both primary and secondary material will be included in the course.
Depending on interest and availability of faculty, a special topic may be offered.

Electives from Literature in English

This course will study post-World War II British writers up to the present. What place does realism have in the present context and how do writers respond to the increasingly postmodern and postcolonial experience of British culture? Students will be expected to integrate cultural, historical, and theoretical contexts in their readings of the texts.
This course will study post-World War II American writers up to the present, incorporating the multicultural aspects of writing in America today. Students will be expected to integrate cultural, historical, and theoretical contexts in their readings of the texts. Students are expected to read at least three novels for this couse in addition to a selection of poems and one play.
Some of the most famous English writers have been from Ireland: Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, W. B. Yeats. James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, C. S Lewis, Seamus Heaney. Ireland has a rich folklore, which is often reflected in some of the writers. In addition to its folkloric Ireland has also had a troubled relationship with England. This course will explore how the different strains in Irish culture have affected its writings.
This course will include drama in English from the early twentieth century to the present. Students will also study how physical conditions of the stage combine with different social, cultural and political movements to impact upon the theatre.
This course includes an intensive reading of Shakespeares plays from comedy to romance, tragic-comedy and history play to ask what was it that made Shakespeare the major canonical text in 19th century India as well as in English departments of colonized countries. How has the study of Shakespeare changed over the centuries? What impact do major political and social changes have on readings of an author who lived more than four hundred years ago? Are we misinterpreting Shakespeare when we make him our contemporary? The Shakespeare texts to be studied include his sonnets as well as a number of plays. Shakespeare criticism will include earlier critics such as A. C. Bradley, G. Wilson Knight, and Tillyard as well as contemporary critics such as Stephen Greenblatt, Ania Loomba, J. Dollimore and A. Sinfield.
This course will study post-1947 South Asian writers up to the present. How do these writers fit into the indigenous traditions and how do they respond to the changing realities of their times? Students will be expected to integrate cultural, historical, and theoretical contexts in their readings of the texts. At least three novels will be studied a semester.
Students will be expected to read closely different genres of creative writing as well as engage in writing themselves. The course will follow a workshop method where students will be expected to read what they have written to their peers. Apart from class assignments in different genres, students will have to choose one particular genre and hand in work of a reasonable length and quality for their final assessment.

Electives from Comparative Literature

This course will introduce students to different theories of translation as well as the practical aspects of translating from one language into another. Students will be expected to have command of both Bangla and English and also have some knowledge of one other language. As part of their course work, they will be expected to choose one genreand translate a piece of reasonable length into English. The readings will include variant translations of classical writings as well as readings of texts in the Bangla original and in English translation.
This course will focus on the tradition of European literature since the Renaissance up to the 19th century. The genres of prose, poetry and drama will be included. Acquaintance with a European language is desirable but not essential.
This course will survey the South Asian tradition from early classics up to the mid- twentieth century. The genres of prose, poetry and drama will be included. Acquaintance with a South Asian language in addition to Bangla is desirable but not essential.
This course will study post-1947 writers from both Bangladesh and West Bengal up to the present. How do these writers fit into the indigenous traditions and how do they respond to the changing realities of their times? Students will be expected to integrate cultural, historical, and theoretical contexts in their readings of the texts. As the material will be taught in Bangla, students who take the course must be able to read Bangla. However, students will be expected to write their assignments, term papers and examinations in English. Selections from the required texts will be made to include at least two novels in each semester.
How are race and racism reflected in literature? This course will study predominantly writings from countries where conflict between the races has manifested itself in literature as well as life. How have racially powerful writers depicted the racial under classes? And how have underprivileged ethnic or minority writers absorbed and/or reacted to the privileged mainstream? Using texts from the US and South Africa students will examine how racial conflicts are portrayed and how writers respond to the changing realities of their times. Students will be expected to integrate cultural, historical, and theoretical contexts in their readings of the texts.
ENG 536: Religious and Devotional Poetry
This course will focus on women in Bangla literature, from the medieval period to the present. Beginning with Chandrabati, who composed a Bangla Ramayana as well as a number of folk ballads, through 19th century women writers such as Nawab Faizunnessa and Swarnakumari Devi, the readings will go on to authors like Razia Khan, Rabeya Khatun and Selina Hossain. As the readings will be in Bangla, students are expected to have completed a Bangla language course at the undergraduate level. However, students will be expected to write their assignments, term papers and examinations in English.
This course will include both western and eastern traditions of drama from its beginnings in Greece and India to the present. Students will also study how physical conditions of the stage combine with different social, cultural and political movements to impact upon the theatre. Students are expected to study at least six texts from the list given.
This course includes Spanish and Portuguese literature from the Americas, such as Chile, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Columbia. What are the distinguishing features of this literature apart from its being written in the Romance languages? What role has magic realism played in bringing this literature to prominence during the second half of the 20th century?
This course includes literature in English and in English translation from the African continent. Is there a pan-Africanness about literatures emerging from Africa? Or are the different literatures separated by historical, political, linguistic and cultural boundaries? At least two novels will be selected.
Students may choose either option. If they choose the thesis option, they will be required to write a dissertation of between 10,000 12,000 words. The thesis normally arises from the courses taken in the earlier semesters. In the autumn semester students would need to get their respective topics approved by the supervisor designated by the department. The final semester is spent in researching and writing the thesis. The thesis will have to be defended in front of a committee composed of at least one faculty member and one external examiner. Alternately, students may choose the work experience option, which may be in the form of working in academia or in a field where English is required, for example, in an English language newspaper or publishing house. Students would need to inform the supervisor designated by the department about where they will be working. The choice of workplace must be approved by the supervisor. Students must submit a report of their experience in addition to the report provided by the organization/institution where they have worked.


Contact Us

Department of English
Room No: 7001
Phone: +88-02-8431645-53
Ext: 2415
Email: nadia@iub.edu.bd