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M.A. in English Literatures and Literary Theory


If you love literature, this is the ideal course of study for you. Besides reading a large number of exciting novels, short stories, plays, poems, essays and letters, you will have the chance to watch and analyze a variety of films, and even see some wonderful performances on stage.

The University of Freiburg's Master of Arts in English Literatures and Literary Theory – MELLIT – is the definitive M.A. program that prepares you for a Ph.D. in British, American or postcolonial literature, or many other career paths of your choice. It exposes students to a wide range of British and American texts of all genres and from all periods. In order to ensure complete coverage of the full range of literature in the English language, early British literature (pre-1800) receives special attention.

Besides immersion in literatures from different countries, centuries and genres, the program also focuses on introducing students to different literary theories and their application in literary research. An understanding of the various theoretical approaches is necessary when preparing to write a major research project like an M.A. or Ph.D. thesis. The professors in the English Department specialize in areas as diverse as cultural studies, postcolonial literary theory, narratology, feminism, ethnic studies, law and literature, and ethical approaches to literature.

Although we offer courses in all genres and periods, special emphasis is placed on fiction and drama, the Renaissance, 18th and 19th century novels, American and British plays in the 18th and 19th centuries, modernist and postmodernist writing, and the short story as a genre.

Moreover, this master's program has a linguistic component. Literature is, after all, written language, and in order to effectively study and analyze that language, one needs to have a good grasp of linguistic concepts. In addition, theoretical models and approaches, particularly those based on structuralism and poststructuralism, frequently use concepts and terms derived from linguistics – so here too, a good basic knowledge of the field comes in handy.

Students graduating from this master's program have a number of career options. Besides continuing with an academic career and doing a Ph.D., they are qualified to engage in all kinds of work in the cultural and creative industries (conference and exhibition planning, journalism and broadcasting, editing and publishing, theatrical performance or production, etc.). This program will foster your creativity and love of the arts, ensuring you'll have no problem finding a niche for your interests out in the world.

Program Content & Structure

Modules & Courses

This M.A. program is made up of modules, each focusing on a specific topic. The modules can consist of a variety of course types, including seminars, lectures and tutorials. Some courses are required and others are elective. The program is divided into the following modules:

Prüfungsordnung 2023:

  • Theories and Methods in Literary Studies
  • English Literatures
    • before 1500
    • 1500–1900
    • after 1900
  • History and Theory of Genres
  • Teaching and Work Practice

Prüfungsordnung 2013:

  • Theories and Methods of Literary and Cultural Studies
  • English Literatures
  • Core Texts of Literary Studies
  • Research Methods and Teaching Experience

Program Requirements and Sequence (as of 2023)

Program Requirements and Sequence (until 2022)


Application – Admission – Enrollment

Language and Acceptance Requirements

We welcome applications from candidates with an undergraduate degree (BA or equivalent) in the humanities with a high GPA. A working knowledge of German is recommended for success in Freiburg but not required for the application.

Furthermore, the M.A. program requires an excellent command of the English language (C1). Please note the information concerning language requirements on the main M.A. page, and be sure to clear up any questions you may have with the program coordinator Dr. Barton.


The application process takes place online via the University of Freiburg's Campus Management System HISinOne.

🛟 Application: step by step

Application Period: 

15 April until 30 June: Non-citizens of the EU | 15 April until 31 July: EU citizens


Required Documents:

Excerpted from the acceptance guidelines (authoritative text in German here)

§ 2 Criteria for Admission

  • A first degree with an average grade of at least 2,5 from a German university in a literary studies or philological bachelor degree course with a focus on literary or cultural studies or in an equivalent three-year degree at a German or foreign university.
  • Knowledge of the English language corresponding to at least level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for languages.
  • At least 50 ECTS points in at least one of the subjects English Philology, Anglo-American Literary Studies or Anglo-American Cultural Studies.
  • If the first degree was not completed within the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), or if the required 50 ECTS credits have not been acquired, the applicant must submit a written essay of approx. 2,000 words that addresses one of two given assignments published on the departmental website.
  • Applicants who submit an essay must also hand in a signed declaration in either German or English which affirms that they have independently completed the essay, without any assistance from others, and have properly indicated any material taken from external sources.


§ 3 Application

In order for your application to be accepted, the following documents must be submitted:

  • A completed online application form;
  • your undergraduate diploma;
  • your transcript of records outlining the contents of your undergraduate degree (documents in languages other than English, German, or French need to be translated and officially notarized by a certified translator into German or English)
  • Proof of successful completion of an English language examination (if necessary)
  • A 2,000-word essay that addresses one of two given assignments below (if necessary)
  • A signed Pledge of Academic Integrity affirming that you have independently completed the essay and have properly indicated any material taken from external sources (if necessary)
  • statement of intent (motivation letter) of no longer than one page (in A4 format) in which the applicant states their personal reasons for seeking acceptance to the Master of Arts English Literatures and Literary Theory program at the University of Freiburg.


Choose one of the two assignments below (A or B) and write an essay of approximately 2,000 words. Please upload the document into your online application form along with a signed declaration stating that you have independently completed the work and have properly indicated any material taken from external sources.

(A) Please conduct a close reading of the following poem. Pay attention to its formal structure as well as its binary oppositions and ambiguities in your interpretation.

Mystic and Cavalier
Go from me: I am one of those who fall.
What! hath no cold wind swept your heart at all,
In my sad company? Before the end,
Go from me, dear my friend!

Yours are the victories of light: your feet
Rest from good toil, where rest is brave and sweet:
But after warfare in a mourning gloom,
I rest in clouds of doom.

Have you not read so, looking in these eyes?
Is it the common light of the pure skies,
Lights up their shadowy depths? The end is set:
Though the end be not yet.

When gracious music stirs, and all is bright,
And beauty triumphs through a courtly night;
When I too joy, a man like other men:
Yet, am I like them, then?

And in the battle, when the horsemen sweep
Against a thousand deaths, and fall on sleep:
Who ever sought that sudden calm, if I
Sought not? yet could not die!

Seek with thine eyes to pierce this crystal sphere:
Canst read a fate there, prosperous and clear?
Only the mists, only the weeping clouds,
Dimness and airy shrouds.

Beneath, what angels are at work? What powers
Prepare the secret of the fatal hours?
See! the mists tremble, and the clouds are stirred:
When comes the calling word?

The clouds are breaking from the crystal ball,
Breaking and clearing: and I look to fall.
When the cold winds and airs of portent sweep,
My spirit may have sleep.

O rich and sounding voices of the air!
Interpreters and prophets of despair:
Priests of a fearful sacrament! I come,
To make with you mine home.

(B) Please analyze the trailer to the 2021 film The Green Knight and comment on its adaptation of the Middle English chivalric romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Consider consulting a glossary of film terms such as this one.


⚠️ Please note that your application can only be considered if all the documents listed above have been received within the application period.


General information concerning enrollment can be found on the Student Service Center's website.


The coordinator of the MELLIT program will be happy to advise you concerning the details of the application and admissions process as well as concerning the program in general.

Program Director:
Prof. Dr. Monika Fludernik

MELLIT Coordinator:
Dr. Roman Barton

☎ +49 761 203-3314
R 4006 | KG IV

Mailing Address:

M.A. in English Literatures and Literary Theory
University of Freiburg
English Department | Chair of Prof. Fludernik
Rempartstr. 15
79098 Freiburg