National and Transnational Studies: Literature, Culture, Language

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Deadline: May 31, 2023
195 place StudyQA ranking:1547 Duration:2 years You need IELTS certificate
The two-year (four-semester) programme "National and Transnational Studies: Literature, Culture, Language" offers:

  • A specialisation in anglophone literatures and cultures from around the world and in English linguistics, combined with an interdisciplinary orientation towards other modern languages and literatures, book studies, film and media studies, history, and social anthropology. The Master's programme also draws on scholarship from other fields such as sociology or political science

  • Reflections on nationalism and nationality as cultural (rather than merely political or economic) phenomena: how are nationalism and nationality constructed through literature, language and other forms of cultural expression? Core topics include the evolution and transformation of national identities, minority cultures, cultural memory, national aesthetics, canon formation, and varieties of English

  • Explorations of complex cultural dynamics beyond national frameworks of our increasingly globalised world; topics include colonialism, postcolonialism, migration, diaspora, transculturalism, English as a world language and the sociolinguistics of globalisation

  • Studies in a wide range of literatures, cultures and varieties of English (e.g. British Isles, North America, Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific)

  • Advanced understanding of theoretical approaches from literary and cultural studies as well as sociolinguistics, including reflections on selected approaches from the social sciences (e.g. social anthropology, sociology, political science)

  • Courses on a wide range of cultural productions, including literature, film and other media formats, cultural theory, English linguistics, and subjects from related disciplines

  • Combination of taught courses and independent research

As this Master's programme focuses on anglophone literatures and cultures and on varieties of English, students are mainly based in the English Department. Our staff possess a broad range of specialisations, from Shakespeare to Bollywood and from Adam Smith to Zadie Smith. This variety is reflected in our teaching and in the wide range of topics available for students' own research choices.

Interdisciplinary components can be chosen from a number of related fields such as other literatures and languages, history, ethnology or social anthropology. Beyond our established partnerships, our students have also taken classes in sociology and political science.

Educational organisation

The programme comprises a variety of course types, including lectures, seminars, postgraduate research classes, practical skills courses (including language tuition) as well as independent study and research.

Most modules and courses take place over one semester, with the exception of the Research Modules, each of which takes place over two semesters.

The first semester begins with an orientation week, followed by the module "Foundations of National and Transnational Studies: History, Theory, Methods," including an introductory course, components from literary and cultural studies as well as linguistics.
"Research Module I" runs throughout the first and second semesters.
The second semester also includes the modules "Nationalism, Transnationalism, Transculturalism: Literary, Cultural and Linguistic Manifestations" and "Minorities and Migration".

The third semester comprises the module "Culture Contact, Culture Conflict" and the interdisciplinary "External Module" which allows students to attend relevant courses in other departments and disciplines. It is also recommended that the module "Work Experience" be completed in this semester.
"Research Module II" runs throughout the third and fourth semesters.
Most of the fourth semester is dedicated to completion of the Master's thesis and preparation for the disputation.

Small student numbers in this Master's programme (max. 20 students per year) ensure good teacher-student ratios. Moreover, curriculum and course structures allow for the individualised mentoring required in a strongly research-based programme.

Study abroad unit(s)

It is possible to spend one semester abroad, studying thematically relevant subjects at another academic institution. Credits acquired during this period will be accepted. It is recommended that the study abroad period takes place during the second or third semester, though it is also possible to choose the fourth semester.
The module "Work Experience" can likewise be completed abroad.


In the compulsory module "Work Experience", students gain practical experience in professional fields especially relevant to the thematic and international focus of this Master's programme. Students choose one of the following options:
  • Option A) Internships in relevant businesses and organisations of their choice such as museums, festival organisations, media & publishing, advertising & PR, consulting, national and international organisations dealing with migration, language policy or international cultural relations as well as multinational private businesses in various sectors; internships cover a minimum of 150 working hours and can be completed on a part-time basis within the semester or on a full-time basis for a minimum of four weeks in the semester break (either in Germany or abroad).
  • Option B) Work experience in the academic sector by teaching tutorials for BA students at Münster University's English Department; each tutor teaches one tutorial (approx. 30 hours) and spends a further 120 hours preparing lessons, attending compulsory mentoring sessions for tutors (offered by the academic staff), and correcting/marking assignments completed by BA students in their tutorial.
  • Option C) Organising academic events such as a one-day postgraduate conference, guest lectures, readings by literary authors, exhibitions or a one-day university film festival; depending on the workload involved, students organise these events in groups or individually.

Forms of assessment

The programme comprises a variety of assessments, including written and oral examinations, presentations, research papers as well as other types of written work (such as essays, bibliographies or portfolios).

Course objectives

The programme offers specialised qualifications in literary and cultural studies as well as in linguistics, with a particular focus on the anglophone world. This is combined with an interdisciplinary orientation towards other modern languages and literatures, history, ethnology, and social anthropology. Students are also encouraged to draw on scholarship from other fields such as film and media studies, sociology or political science. The MA focuses on cultural ramifications and representations of the social phenomena of nationhood, nationalism and transnationalism. Graduates possess advanced knowledge of anglophone literatures and cultures from around the globe as well as theoretical, methodological and language competence for analysing literary, cultural and linguistic phenomena. They can relate these to socio-historical and interdisciplinary frameworks and are able to present the results of their work in line with postgraduate academic standards.
Various options for specialisation enable students to develop individually tailored profiles which prepare them for national and international careers in academic and non-academic sectors. Preparation for academic careers (e.g. via PhD study) is facilitated through the programme's strong orientation towards research as well as towards recent disciplinary and theoretical developments. Preparation for non-academic careers is facilitated through its emphasis on international perspectives, on independent study and self-organisation as well as on transferable soft skills, e.g. with regard to group projects, work experience, advanced English-language skills, oral and written communication, and media competence. Potential non-academic career options include media and publishing, advertising and PR, museums, festival organisation, consulting, national and international organisations dealing with migration, language policy or international cultural relations as well as multinational private businesses in various sectors.

Language requirements

Excellent English language skills are required. For non-native speakers, this is proven by one of the following tests:
  • CPE
  • TOEFL pBT 620+
  • TOEFL iBT 109+
  • IELTS 7.5+

German language skills are desirable.

Academic requirements

Prospective students must have completed a first academic degree (Bachelor's or equivalent) with a standard period of study of at least six semesters. This first degree must be in a field which is thematically relevant to this Master's programme: literature, linguistics, cultural studies, media studies, communicative science, history, sociology, political science, social anthropology, ethnology, philosophy, theology, educational science, art history or psychology.

All prospective students should have a strong interest in literary and cultural studies and linguistics as well as in the study of national and transnational identities. Applicants who have already dealt with national and transnational identities in their undergraduate studies are especially welcome. Students previously unfamiliar with the methodologies of literary and cultural studies, and of linguistics, should be prepared to familiarise themselves with these fields during their first semester on the MA programme.

It is desirable but not obligatory that prospective students have spent several months abroad or have done internships relevant to the programme.

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

Orientation week at the beginning of the first semester

Services and support for international students

International Office:
Further support is offered by "Die Brücke" ("The Bridge"), the International Students' Centre of Münster University:
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