What is a Master of Letters (MLitt) Degree?

Okoma V.
8 Min Read

The Master of Letters (MLitt) is a specialized Master’s degree that stands in for other graduate school certifications.

It offers a similar learning system, which can be either taught or research-based, and displaces the MA (Master of Arts) or MPhil (Master of Philosophy) degrees awarded by other universities.


Continue reading for a better and more detailed insight on what the Master of Letters is all about.

What is a Master of Letters?

Traditionally, the Master of Letters emerged within the ‘historic universities’ of Scotland and England.

These higher education institutions arrange their degree arrangement a bit differently from other universities. They typically grant the MA (Master of Arts) as a four-year ‘undergraduate’ Master’s degree or as an auto degree bestowed on BA graduates beyond a certain timeframe.


The MLitt is, however, a specialized Master’s degree in Literature, Legal system, Theology, History, or other Humanities and Social sciences subjects. It is an abbreviation for Magister Litterarum, which means “Master of Letters” in Latin.

Read also: Top Cheapest Online Law School To Study In 2022

READ:  Best Universities for Masters in communication

What are the Types of Master of Letters?

The MLitt is unique in how it can take two vastly distinct types.

All these types of MLitt degrees are at the ‘Masters level.’ The UK’s academic credentials approach describes them as ‘level 7’ qualifications, and the European Bologna Process recognizes them as ‘second cycle’ degrees.

As a result, an MLitt is efficiently comparable to all other Graduate degrees. These two types are as follows:


Taught MLitt Programs

If you learn the MLitt as a one-year taught Master’s (as seems to be common in Scotland), the expertise will be similar to that of a postgraduate MA.

READ:  What Can I Do With a Master's in Business Management? (Expert Answer)

You’ll spend a considerable amount of your degree learning a series of modules on particular subjects, and you’ll also have the choice of picking the ones that intrigue you the most.

You’ll then move on to your final dissertation, where you’ll inspect and write about an original research topic.

A taught MLitt will be assessed primarily through classwork essays or related assignments assigned at the end of each unit.

Read also: 15 Free Online Law Courses to Become a Lawyer


Research MLitt Programs

In England, MLitt degrees are typically research-based. Some MLitt programs involve early research methods preparation, and yet your degree will most likely not have any taught ‘classes.’

READ:  Master's Degree Grades and Assessments (Explained)

Rather, you will invest your days working on a piece of work, similar to that of an MPhil or Ph.D. student.

You will also be allotted a supervisor but will be evaluated mainly on the quality of your thesis submission.

This frequently entails taking an oral ‘viva voice’ exam, equivalent to that required for a Ph.D.

What are the Admission Requirements for an MLitt?

An MLitt normally has similar basic admission requirements as the degree it’s replacing in a school’s graduate school portfolio.


Anticipate the admissions requirements for a taught MLitt to be equivalent to those used in an MA. You must have a decent Bachelor’s degree in a relevant area of study.

READ:  Difference Between Undergraduate and Postgraduate Study

When trying to apply for a research MLitt, you may be required to submit a research proposal highlighting your proposal.

Read also: How To Write a College Essay | Best Sample

Which Subjects Award MLitt Degrees?

Because it is connected with the study of writing, Master of Letters certifications is popular in Relevant literature subjects.

This is especially true in Scotland, where the degree frequently replaces a taught MA.


But just don’t hold this correlation with ‘Litt-erature’ too literally. Some fields of the Arts and Humanities covered by MLitt programs include History, Legal system, Theology, Philosophy, and World affairs.

This is especially true in England and Ireland, where the MLitt may be available as a research degree in these disciplines.

READ:  What Can I Do with a Master's in Economics? (Expert Answer)

Who Should Study a Master of Letters?

You wouldn’t usually ‘pick’ the MLitt over another choice. Rather, a few colleges offer the certification in the position of the more common Master’s degree.

If you can still alternatively study a taught MA, an MLitt will be adequate (in Scotland). Alternatively, if you want to accomplish a quicker research project in the style of an MPhil, you can do so (at several colleges in England).

Whatever the situations are, you should not be concerned about trying to study an MLitt rather than another postgraduate Master’s degree.


Read also: What is Advanced Degree: Q and A

How long is an MLitt thesis?

The Master of Letters includes a thesis in any and all variants, but the length varies by program.

READ:  What is a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree?

Taught MLitt classes (such as those offered in Scotland) typically culminate in a 15-20,000 word thesis. This corresponds to the process for a taught MA.

Your task will be graded and kept in check from the outside, but you will not be verbally tested on it.

A   more lengthy thesis is required for Research MLitt courses (such as those offered at older English universities). This is typically between 50,000 and 60,000 words.


In terms of length, this is roughly halfway between an ‘Oxbridge’ MPhil thesis (around 30,000 words) and a Ph.D. (or DPhil) thesis (around 100,000 words).

How Many Credits is a Master of Letters Worth?

Customarily, taught MLitt degrees are worth 180 credits, just like a similar MA program.

READ:  What Can I Do With a Master's in English

You’ll earn 120 credit points for accomplishing modules during each of the two teaching semesters, with the final 60 going toward your thesis.

However, research MLitt degrees are worth 210 credits, the same as a doctorate program. You’ll, therefore, earn 140 credits for achieving modules in each of the two teaching semesters, with the remaining 70 going toward your thesis.

Read also: Tuition-free Accredited High School Diploma Online, No Cost



The Master of Letters degree is a graduate school degree awarded by a small number of British and Irish universities, primarily in primitive English and Scottish universities.

Share this Article
Leave a comment