Over the four semesters, the study programme involves a broad-based approach in which most students work on all of the subdisciplines of English, with an option to study one field in depth – British or American literature, Medieval literature, or Linguistics. Interdisciplinary work is a key aspect of studies in the Department and there are intensive weekend seminars for some classes during which students and professors meet in a congenial setting to investigate a subject in detail. The study programme culminates with the writing of an original thesis in a field of the student's choice. Students can participate in research colloquia and explore their ideas in a setting of peers. The Department has extensive and up-to-date physical and electronic library resources.


The study plan comprises 5 modules worth 12 ECTS each, which cover the following subjects: English linguistics, English philology, English literature 1500-1780, English literature from 1780 to the present day, American literature. Students will choose their MA thesis topic in one of these 5 subjects.

Responsable du programme d'études / Verantwortliche/r für das Studienprogramm:

Areas of specialisation for all MA supervisors of the English Department

  • Prof. Thomas Austenfeld
    • American Literature from 1492 to the present
    • In particular: from Emerson to the Civil War,
    • Realism and Naturalism,
    • American modernism, especially women writers
    • American poetry, all periods
    • Regional literatures, especially Southern and Western
    • The short story
    • African- American and Native American literatures
    • Autobiography and Memoir
  • Prof. Elisabeth Dutton

    Generally, medieval English literature and language - Old and Middle English - including but not necessarily limited to: 

    • Early English theatre
    • Medieval religious/devotional writing
    • Medieval women’s writing
    • Medieval romance
    • Medieval saints
    • Geoffrey Chaucer
    • John Gower
    • William Langland
    • Non-playhouse Tudor drama 
  • Prof. Didier Maillat

    Supervision of thesis topics including (but not limited to) the following areas can be discussed. Projects can adopt a theoretical or experimental approach:

    • Experimental Pragmatics
    • Pragmatics
    • Language and cognition
    • Pragmatics of manipulation
    • Disinformation and misinformation
    • Political discourse
    • Advertising language (multimodal communication)
    • Pragmatics of persuasion
    • Figurative language (metaphor, euphemism, irony, etc.)
    • Humour (pun, wit, etc.)
    • Taboo language (insults, slur, banter, etc.)
    • Pragmatics of literary texts
    • Pragmatics of AI communication
    • Pragmatics of English as a Foreign Language
  • Prof. Kilian Schindler

    Any aspects of English literature from c. 1500 to c. 1780, in particular, but not restricted to:

    • early modern drama, especially of the Elizabethan and Jacobean period (William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, John Webster, etc.)
    • critical approaches such as Shakespeare and race or queer studies
    • religion and/or politics in early modern literature (e.g. Machiavellianism, tyranny, or religious dissent)
    • modern adaptations of early modern works (such as Shakespeare plays)
    • The works of John Milton
    • satire in prose, poetry, or drama
  • Prof. Julia Straub

    English Literature from the late 18th century to the present day, in particular, but not restricted to:

    • Victorian Literature

    • Contemporary literature (21st century)

    • Literature and other media, esp. text/image relationships

    • Literature and technology, posthumanism

    • Dystopian writing

    • Transatlantic writing, global anglophone literature

    • Gender and literature, esp. motherhood

    • Modernism

    • Melodrama

  • Dr. Aurélie Blanc

    Aurélie Blanc is happy to supervise MA theses on:

    • Medieval Drama
    • Texts written for and by nuns
    • The body in the Middle Ages (medicine, death, violence, war, the sacred body, etc...)
    • Other ideas that students would like to explore are also possible
  • Dr. David Correia Saavedra

    David Correia Saavedra is likely to supervise work on the following topics/in the following areas:

    • Morphology

    • Word-Formation

    • Language Change

    • Corpus Linguistics

  • Dr. Steve Oswald

    Steve Oswald routinely supervises theoretical, empirical and experimental MA research work in the following areas (please note this list is not exhaustive):

    • Pragmatics
    • Argumentation theory
    • Rhetoric
    • Fallacies
    • Deception and manipulation
    • Discourse analysis (media, advertising, politics, etc.)
    • Humour research
    • Metaphor
    • Argumentative and pragmatic aspects of conspiracy theories
  • Dr. Aurélie Zurbrügg

    Aurélie Zurbrügg is likely to supervise MA theses in the following areas:

    • African American Literature
    • Contemporary American Literature
    • Media Studies
    • The connections between literature and forms of popular culture

MA thesis

The official submission procedure you must follow to submit your MA thesis can be found here in French and in German. Explicit and specific guidelines can be downloaded here in French and in German.