MA Final Exam



Research MA students are required to take a final exam. The exam takes place twice a year, in September and December. The format is a 4-hour, sit-in, open-book session. Only students who have completed their coursework can register.

Students who wish to take the exam must register at least two months in advance with the MA advisor. In addition, they must sign up for the exam as a course on their curriculum. The course number is 74444. Upon registration students will receive a list of 10 works, with a fair representation of different genres and different periods--these works will constitute the basic required syllabus for all candidates in a given exam cycle. Students will be expected to show a command of the texts and a good grasp of their significance within literary history. 


The list of works, exam questions and exams will be compiled and assessed by the exam committee which will include the MA advisor and two members of staff.


 Examples of essay questions given in past exams:


Answer one out of three essay questions.

  • Discuss the tension between historical realism and fiction in two works on your syllabus. 
  • Address the theme of nature in two works on your list. In what ways do the diverging attitudes to nature in these works reflect historical or generic differences?
  • Discuss represenations of the ghostly in two works on your list. Draw out specific cultural and historical significances of this theme in both works.


The exam will be open book for the primary sources only. No secondary sources can be brought to the exam though they can be mentioned in the exam (based on knowledge of the critical reception of the works).