British, American and Postcolonial Studies

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: German English
Deadline: May 31, 2024
195 place StudyQA ranking:1002 Duration:2 years You need IELTS certificate
The MA programme in British, American and Postcolonial Studies combines advanced training in literary and cultural studies, linguistics, and book studies, thus offering students the opportunity to gain a multifaceted and profound understanding of the social and cultural dynamics of the English-speaking world. The curriculum is designed to give students maximum flexibility in constructing specific areas of specialisation, while at the same time providing a solid basis for interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Focusing on research and professional skills, the programme moreover aims to prepare students for careers in academic and non-academic settings.

Main areas of teaching at Münster's English Department include the following:

  • in linguistics: empirical and applied linguistics, variation and change in English, sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics, varieties of English, and language contact

  • in literary and cultural studies: British literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the present day, American studies, Native American studies, Asian American studies, African American studies, postcolonial studies, media studies, empire writing, literary and cultural theory, and literary historiography

  • in book studies: the past and present of the book as a medium, historical and empirical reader research, and textual studies

In addition, the programme offers opportunities for interdisciplinary study not only within English studies but also between English studies and related fields such as art history, sociology or communication studies.

All courses at the department are taught in English, thus involving intensive language practice and drawing students from around the world.

Educational organisation

This MA programme gives students the opportunity to deal with and specialise in a wide variety of focus and research areas, including British, American, and postcolonial studies as well as literary and cultural studies, linguistics, and book studies. Throughout the programme, group projects, workshops, independent study, and work experience enhance students' research, social, and practical skills and contribute to their career development. Advanced academic and professional skills courses further improve their writing, presentation, and research skills and prepare them for the job market.

In the first semester, following an initial "Orientation Week", modules are tailored to introduce students to the advanced study of literature, culture, language, and the book via lectures, seminars, and research workshops.

In addition, the two-semester module "Work Experience" provides professional skills training and hands-on experience in potential fields of employment. Students interested in pursuing an academic career may also organise an academic event (e.g., a student conference or a lecture series) and/or apply to tutor undergraduates for credits.

The second semester offers the opportunity for in-depth study in two separate modules which focus on the historical, social, and systematic dimensions of selected sub-disciplines.

In the third semester, a module on "Interdisciplinary Perspectives" within English studies and an "External Module" comprising courses in related fields such as history, anthropology, or sociology enable students to broaden their knowledge and skills and to develop interdisciplinary research projects. A year-long research module (including a postgraduate class) is provided to facilitate preparation for MA thesis and accompany the writing process of the thesis.

The final semester sees the completion of the research module and the MA thesis.

An extended stay abroad is a highly recommended, integral part of the programme (see below).

  • Survey, Tools and Methods
  • Advanced Studies in Literature, Culture, Linguistics, and Book Studies
  • Work Experience
  • Historical and Social Perspectives
  • Systematic Perspectives
  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives
  • External Module
  • Research Module

Study abroad unit(s)

The international orientation and practical dimension of this MA programme are reflected in the possibility of spending one semester abroad to study thematically relevant subjects at another university or to complete the mandatory module "Work Experience" there. This module can also be completed in Germany. Credit transfer from the host university is possible.


As part of the module "Work Experience", all students have the opportunity to gain practical experience, qualifications, and skills in relevant professional fields. Options include the following:

  • serving as an intern in firms or organisations either at home or abroad (e.g., museums, publishing houses, the media, theatres, cultural festivals, advertising agencies, consultancies, etc.);

  • planning and organising an academic event (e.g., a student conference, lecture series, film festival, art exhibition, etc.);

  • co-organising an academic event and gaining teaching experience by offering tutorials for BA students at the English Department.

Internships must consist of a minimum of 240 hours. They can either be part-time (during the semester or the semester break) or full-time (during the semester break, approx. six weeks).

Forms of assessment

Credit for modules is awarded through a variety of assessments:
  • written and oral examinations
  • research papers
  • critical evaluations
  • portfolios
  • annotated bibliographies for select research fields
  • reading lists
  • presentations

A total of 120 ECTS credits is awarded, including the MA thesis.

Course objectives

This MA programme covers all major fields of English studies: British studies, American studies, postcolonial studies, book studies, and linguistics. Its comprehensive approach allows for in-depth specialisation, helping students gain expertise in one (or more) of the literatures, cultures and disciplines involved. The curriculum moreover focuses on professional and transferable soft skills such as career development, self-organisation, independent study, and team work, which are instrumental in a wide spectrum of employment areas.

The programme is intended to prepare students for national and international careers in both academic and non-academic settings. Through sound scholarly training and the opportunity to gain teaching experience, graduates pursuing an academic career will be well-equipped to continue their research, typically in the form of a PhD. Graduates aiming at the non-academic sector will be especially qualified for professions requiring intercultural competence and expertise in the fields of language, literature, and communication (e.g., cultural management, publishing, media, advertising, and public relations).

Language requirements

Applicants must have an excellent command of the English language. For non-native speakers, this must be documented by one of the following tests:
  • CPE
  • CAE (grade A or B)
  • TOEFL pBT 620+
  • TOEFL iBT 109+
  • IELTS 8.0+

German language skills are desirable.

Academic requirements

We welcome applicants with a three-year undergraduate degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) that is thematically related to this MA programme. In addition to documenting their language skills and previous academic achievements, prospective students are required to submit a curriculum vitae and a letter of intent.

For detailed admission requirements, please refer to:

Enrolment fees

Social semester fee of 240 EUR per semester, including a semester ticket covering public transport for the greater Münster area and the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia

Costs of living

Approx. 700 EUR per month to cover accommodation, insurance, and personal expenses

Arrival support

The programme includes an "Orientation Week" at the beginning of the first semester.

Services and support for international students

International Office:
Further support is offered by the university's International Students' Centre "Die Brücke":
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