English by Research dissertation

The Master of Arts in English is a 1 year full-time degree.


The English MA by dissertation is a highly regarded senior postgraduate qualification of the highest quality. This degree will prove that you are a serious researcher, able to produce research of international quality. We offer expert supervision in a wide range of possible subject areas, ranging from Medieval studies to the latest in Postcolonial Ecologies.

Career Opportunities

The MA is a requirement for progression to a doctorate and an academic career. Because it proves your ability to undertake research, the MA by Dissertation is especially esteemed by academic disciplines.

It is also a very highly regarded qualification in the fields of education, journalism, media, digital arts, gaming, and so on.

This qualification will also open doors in the corporate world, particularly in human resources, corporate ethics, and public relations. Many English graduates have gone on to careers in the commercial world as they have high analytical ability, critical thinking skills, emotional intelligence, are keenly alert diverse needs of many different peoples, and are, most especially, creatively gifted.


At the end of 2 years you will have produced a 100 000 word dissertation, instantiating your research abilities.

Entry Requirements

The department will consider applications from candidates with at least a 65% average in English Honours, including at least 70% for the English Honours research essay, depending on the institution and at the discretion of the Postgraduate Convener.  Applications from candidates with the equivalent in a cognate discipline (African Literature, Linguistics, etc.) will also be considered. 


University Application Process

  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

International students, please check this section.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at www.wits.ac.za/askwits.

University Fees and Funding

Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.