Humanities Research MA/MSc

Develop your individual interests in English Language, English Literature or History on this flexible course that combines both taught modules and self-directed study in your chosen area of specialism to gradually support you in designing your final research project.



This course provides a flexible structure to support you in developing an individual research specialism in either English Language, English Literature or History. The curriculum enables you to explore your independent research goals in each module, with research methodology taught alongside supervised subject-specific research. Designed to develop your skills in a step-by-step approach, the course culminates in an extended piece of writing in your chosen area.

Our staff are renowned for their research and we can supervise areas such as:

  • English Language – Global Englishes and sociolinguistics
  • English Literature – digital humanities; adaptation studies; Shakespeare; Medieval and Renaissance studies; Romantic and Victorian literature; Modernist studies; contemporary literature; American literature; and history of the book
  • History - War, Conflict and Peace; Migration history; Visual History; Heritage and Public History; Sport and Leisure History

You will graduate with the area of your specialism named in the award title, for example, MA in Humanities Research (English Literature). You will be awarded either an MA or MSc depending on your skills, aspirations and your choice of emphasis for the Dissertation, with the MSc reflecting work that employs a substantive use of scientific experimentation.

You will also collaborate with fellow students to organise a one-day humanities conference, gaining skills in event management and presenting a paper. The course enhances your ability to think creatively and solve complex problems with originality, and develops transferable skills that are highly valued in many sectors. It is therefore an ideal stepping-stone to either research at PhD level or a career in teaching, publishing, research, media, event management or the creative and heritage industries.

You will join a thriving research community and be encouraged to participate in research events, conferences and networking with our established research centres including the Centre for Adaptations, the Centre for Textual Studies, the Photographic History Research Centre and the International Centre for Sports History and Culture.

Key features

  • Tailor the curriculum to your own specialist research interests and receive expert teaching and supervision from leading scholars who have national and international reputations for their expertise.
  • Benefit from both collaborative teaching and individual learning experiences and receive personalised feedback to help you to reach your independent research goals. 
  • Practical training in presenting work, research and organising a conference gives you real-world skills for a career in teaching, publishing, research, media or event management.  
  • Benefit from block teaching, where most students study one subject at a time. A simple timetable will allow you to really engage with your learning, receive regular feedback and assessments, get to know your course mates and enjoy a better study-life balance.

Talk to our course team

If you would like to find out more about how this course can help you achieve your career ambitions, send a message to our course team [Dr Takako Kato] who would be happy to chat to you. Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate event or call our course enquirers team on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70  / WhatsApp: 0797 0655 800.


We are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study, and there are a number of postgraduate scholarships on offer to help you achieve this.

International student scholarships

Find out about available international scholarships or visit our fees and funding page for more information. 


DMU has been shortlisted for the Postgraduate Award in the 2024 Whatuni Student Choice Awards (WUSCAs), as voted for by students.

  • UK
  • EU/International

Duration: One year full-time.

Start date: September 2024

Fees and funding: 2024/25 tuition fees for UK students: £9,435 (full-time) per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.


Duration: One year full-time.

Start date: September 2024

Fees and funding: 2024/25 tuition fees for UK students: £15,800 (full-time) per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements

You should have the equivalent or above of a 2:2 UK bachelor’s honours degree in a relevant subject area.

We encourage and welcome applications from applicants with a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives.

Study proposal

Applicants with relevant qualifications will be asked to provide a study proposal outlining the aspect of English Language, English Literature or History that you wish to focus on.

Application documents required

Applicants with relevant qualifications will be asked to provide the following documents:

  • Supporting statement (about 500 words). Why do you wish to study this course at DMU? Please also state any work experience which may be relevant to your proposed research project.
  • A study proposal (about 1,000 words). This should include the title of your project; research background and current priorities; research aims and objectives; significance and/or originality of your research.
  • A current CV.
  • Two references.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 5.5 in each band or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessment

Additional costs 


Block 1: Thriving as a Researcher

This module aims to equip you with the advanced research skills needed to thrive as a researcher in the arts and humanities, offering a range of theoretical and practical training opportunities. As well as sessions on research methods, you will contribute to workshops in research presentation, writing for publication, teaching and research, and ethical research. Staff-led seminars will be complemented by weekly collaborative, student-led meetings of the cohort in which you will be able to discuss your research with each other.


Poster presentation, 25%. You will present a poster of your research intentions to your cohort.

Essay, 75%. A 4000-word essay in which you will contextualise your own research goals in relation to the methods and issues raised by the course.

Block 2: Applying Methods in Practice

This module provides you with the opportunity to apply the advanced research methods studied as part of the programme to a case study in your chosen subject specialism. The choice of research method(s) and the focus of the case study will be negotiated with your supervisor at the start of the module.


5000-word case study, 100%.

Block 3: Conference Organisation and Presentation

This module is designed to offer you practical experience of event organisation and presentation, alongside the further development of your individual research specialism. It will involve collaborative as well as individual research skills. You will be guided through the necessary training in organising a conference, choosing a topic and delivering a relevant paper. You will be assigned a role, for example as a programme developer, marketing manager or website designer, and will also present a paper at the conference.


Reflective essay, 30%. A 1500-word essay outlining your contribution to the management of the conference.

Presentation, 70%.

Block 4: Developing your Project

This module is designed to provide you with experience in designing and writing a research project. This will include addressing whether the project requires ethical approval and support for seeking such approval, where relevant. The aims of the module are to prepare the groundwork for the final dissertation and to enable you to present and receive feedback from your supervisors.


Research proposal, 100%. You will produce a 5000-word extended project proposal for the proposed dissertation topic, with aims and hypotheses, proposed case studies, methodology, primary sources to be consulted, and an annotated bibliography of key secondary texts to be used.

Blocks 5 and 6: Dissertation

The final project will be a sustained piece of writing, amounting to 12,000 words. The piece will draw on research undertaken throughout the year but will provide a new and sustained argument. Your dissertation will demonstrate advanced skills in writing, research, argument construction and presentation as well as self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems.



At the start of the course you will be supported to develop your own research area and this specialist topic will provide the focus for all assessments. The taught modules will develop your practical skills in research to prepare you for your final dissertation and will consist mostly of tutorials and seminars, in which you will collaborate with students from across the cohort.

There is a mix of assessments to enable you to display your skills and knowledge in a variety of ways. These include a research poster, essay, case study analysis, conference presentation, reflective essay, research proposal (including an annotated bibliography), and a dissertation. You will have the opportunity to tailor your assessments to your chosen area of research specialism and your strengths.

Contact hours

In Blocks 1 and 3 you will attend an average of 4 hours of timetabled taught sessions each week, including seminars and tutorials, and will be expected to undertake 30-40 hours of independent study each week. Blocks 2 and 4-6 will be predominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), during which you can expect to undertake between 35 and 40 hours of independent study each week.

Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources and research environment, including the Kimberlin Library, specialist workshops and studios, and a wide range of research seminars and training. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs associated with your dissertation, which will vary depending on the nature of your research. You are encouraged to consider these as you develop your dissertation proposal, and to discuss what they may be with your supervisor.

Learn more about postgraduate fees and funding information.

Fees and funding are subject to change.


Facilities and features

Library and learning zones

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including the Virtual Learning Environment, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.

Campus Centre

The home of  De Montfort Students' Union, (DSU) our Campus Centre offers a welcoming and lively hub for student life. Conveniently located at the heart of campus, it includes a convenience store, a Subway and a Starbucks. Here you can find the DSU-owned charitable accommodation service Sulets and DSU’s shop, SUpplies, selling art supplies, stationery and clothing, and printing and binding services. The building is also home to the DSU officer team. 

Opportunities and careers

Find the people who will open doors for you

DMU's award-winning careers service provides guaranteed work experience opportunities DMU Careers Team

Careers and employability

We want to help you develop skills that are based on real-world experience. Our dedicated Careers Team, are on hand to support you with finding placements, volunteering opportunities, CV writing skills, research opportunities and much more.

DMU students are encouraged to pursue their entrepreneurial spirit and the Enterprise Team can help you explore your business idea, business growth, the option of freelancing or being self-employed. There are lots of events, workshops, one-to-one consultation opportunities and enterprise competitions that you can get involved in to progress in your chosen career path. 


DMU Global

This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.


Graduate careers

You will graduate with high-level transferrable skills in communication, collaboration, creative thinking, primary source analysis, critical evaluation, writing for publication, conference organisation and presenting work. With these skills and your new knowledge, you will be well-equipped for a range of careers including in teaching, publishing, media, museum and archive work, the civil service, the creative and heritage industries, and project or event management.

The course also offers an excellent transition from postgraduate to PhD level study, ideal if you wish to advance your studies to the next level. Find out more about our Humanities MPhil/PhD research opportunities.


Take your next steps