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The Master of Letters (MLitt from the Latin magister litterarum) is a postgraduate degree.

United Kingdom

The MLitt is a postgraduate degree awarded by many British universities but its usage differs across the English and Scottish University systems.

England

Within the English University system MLitts are not universally offered, either by institution or by discipline. An MLitt is effectively a Masters by research, where an MA is a taught Masters. An MLitt may be awarded as an alternative to the Master of Philosophy research degree and is usually placed higher in the hierarchy; starting with degrees such as the Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (M.Sc), then Master of Philosophy, and finally Master of Letters.

Students attending English Universities may apply for an MLitt in the first instance; for others who have completed two years of a Doctorate (PhD) and who do not wish to, or cannot, continue with the final year(s), there is the option to write up their completed research so far and graduate with an MLitt(R).

Scotland

Within the Scottish University system the MLitt is awarded either as a one year taught postgraduate degree during which students study three/four taught components, sit examinations on those components (or complete assessed coursework) and successfully submit a dissertation (generally between 15,000 - 18,000 words) or as a one year degree by research in Arts subjects having successfully submitted a dissertation of between 35,000 – 40,000 words. In Scotland the MLitt ranks equally with the Master of Arts (MA) postgraduate degree (taught or by research) as awarded by English Universities.

The MLitt is awarded within Scottish Universities on its own merit on the basis of a one year taught or research course of postgraduate study rather than as a sub-PhD compensatory alternative as in the English model.

The ancient Scottish Universities; University of Aberdeen, University of St Andrewsmarker and University of Glasgowmarker, for example, all award one year MLitt taught postgraduate degrees. In addition the University of Aberdeen also awards a one year MLitt by research.

The University of Edinburgh normally offers the degree of M.Sc for a one year taught postgraduate degree and offers either an MLitt or Master of Philosophy over two years by research.

In all cases, the MLitt is usually awarded in Arts, Divinity, Fine Art, Humanities, or Social Sciences.

United States

The M.Litt. is awarded by at least five schools in the U.S. Middlebury Collegemarker Vermont offers the degree for the advanced study of English and writing beyond the Master of Arts; Drew Universitymarker New Jersey offers it as an intermediate degree in its Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) programme (the only earned/non-honourary Doctor of Letters degree in the U.S.), an interdisciplinary Humanities programme in scholarly writing. Mary Baldwin Collegemarker Virginiamarker awards a unique M.Litt. degree, requiring two years of study, for in-depth research in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance, which it offers as an intermediate degree in its three-year MFA programme. Oxford Graduate School Tennessee offers an M.Litt. degree. The Master of Letters (MLitt) degree is offered in Family Life Education and Organisational Leadership.Sewanee: University of the South also offers an M Litt. degree in English.


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