MA in English Studies

The MA in English Studies adopts a multidisciplinary approach that establishes a symbiotic link between language/linguistics and literature/cultural studies. It is unique in its scope because it fills a niche left by existing university MA degree programmes, most of which are heavily weighted towards either English language or literature. It caters to junior university faculty, teachers of English, professionals in the advertising, media and social marketing sectors, and past students of English pursuing postgraduate study in the subject.

Objectives & Expected Outcomes

The objectives of the course are to enhance existing knowledge of English Studies in the areas of Sociolinguistics, World Englishes, Postcolonial Theory and Literature, and Corpus Linguistics. It aims to broaden this knowledge by covering new fields such as Digital Cultures relevant to information technology, and Life Writing relevant to the study of archiving and biography.

The expected outcomes of this MA are that students develop the capacity for critical thinking and applied research skills through an engagement with the reading, classroom discussions, and assignments for the course. The course will also meet the current English language needs of the country through its focus on language policy and planning, English as a life skill, the teaching of literature, and the study of new media.

Admission Requirements

Selection for the MA in English Studies depends on the following criteria:

A Special Degree in English with a Class from a recognized university, OR a General Degree with a Class with English as one subject from a recognized university, OR a Postgraduate Diploma in a field related to English Studies, from a recognized university OR any other academic qualification and/or at least five years’ relevant experience deemed equivalent by the Senate on the recommendation of the Arts Faculty Board and the Department of English, University of Colombo.

Candidates will be required to sit a selection test and face an interview.


The MA in English Studies is a two-year full-time taught/research programme. It begins with a year of course work that consists of two semesters. The basic course work requirement is the completion of three course units (two core course units and one elective course unit) in each semester. Course work is examined by continuous assessments conducted during term time, as well as by a final examination at term end in each semester. Admission to the second (research) year will depend on examination results from the first year. The second year begins with instruction in research methodology but will otherwise consist entirely of supervised research conducted towards the completion of the dissertation.

Course Content

The following course units will be offered:

  • Research Methodology
  • Textual Analysis and Practice
  • World Englishes
  • Digital Cultures
  • Beyond the Post-colonial
  • Sri Lankan Writing in English
  • Sociolinguistics: Critical Approaches
  • Life Writing


  • Snr.Prof. Neloufer de Mel, PhD (Canterbury)
  • Prof. Dushyanthi Mendis, PhD (Michigan)
  • Prof. Neluka Silva, PhD (Leeds)
  • Dr. Shermal Wijewardene, PhD (Monash)
  • Dr. Dinithi Karunanayake PhD (Manchester)
  • Dr. Shravika D. Amarasekara, PhD (Manchester)
  • Dr. Kaushlya Perera (Pennsylvania State University)
  • Ms. Ruhanie Perera, MA (London)

Course Content

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MA in English Studies: Postgraduate Convocation 2019