A question about Master's in English

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Nimrodthehunter
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#1
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I'm an Indian student who wishes to get his Master's degree in English from a UK university. My grades are sufficient, but I am worried about the 4000 word essay on a topic related to my programme which must accompany the statement of purpose. The university from which I graduated is old-fashioned. It's still all standardized tests; no essay-writing involved. My problem now is that I have no idea what the preferred or accepted standard of quality is for an essay such as this. It do not know what kind of essays graduate students in the UK are generally capable of writing. Further, how in-depth is the essay supposed to be? Is it supposed to be a critical essay or a flavorful companion piece to my SOP? Should it be of the same quality as a Master's dissertation? Are there any online resource that may help me with this? In case it helps, the university I wish to apply to is King's. Also, I am very sorry if these are naive questions. Bear with me, please.
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iceflyier
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I just finished a postgrad there, so hope I can be of help. Which programme are you applying for? They have ten from what I can remember. The writing sample I gave them was an essay from my last year of undergrad and had nothing to do whatsoever with my SOP. It was a critical commentary on some postmodernist plays.

Oh, and I'm an international student too from a thoroughly non-English speaking country, and I got a first for my master's, so I wouldn't worry too much about the writing sample not being up to par. You might want to have someone look over it for you, though, if this is your first time writing.
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Nimrodthehunter
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I want to apply for English: 1850 - Present. Could you point me towards, say, a sample essay or a piece of writing in general which would give me some idea of the quality they expect?
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Nimrodthehunter
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(Original post by iceflyier)
I just finished a postgrad there, so hope I can be of help. Which programme are you applying for? They have ten from what I can remember. The writing sample I gave them was an essay from my last year of undergrad and had nothing to do whatsoever with my SOP. It was a critical commentary on some postmodernist plays.

Oh, and I'm an international student too from a thoroughly non-English speaking country, and I got a first for my master's, so I wouldn't worry too much about the writing sample not being up to par. You might want to have someone look over it for you, though, if this is your first time writing.

If I may trouble you with another question, what sort of thing are they looking for in this essay? Does the writer need to present some brilliant, original, never-heard-before theory or interpretation of their subject? Or do they only want acute analysis? The library in our college was poor in scholarly texts, and so I have read a very meagre amount of criticism. One of my chief fears is that I will attempt an essay on, say, Yeats, but end up writing very superficial things, or things that other critics have already said.
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katabasis
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(Original post by Nimrodthehunter)
If I may trouble you with another question, what sort of thing are they looking for in this essay? Does the writer need to present some brilliant, original, never-heard-before theory or interpretation of their subject? Or do they only want acute analysis? The library in our college was poor in scholarly texts, and so I have read a very meagre amount of criticism. One of my chief fears is that I will attempt an essay on, say, Yeats, but end up writing very superficial things, or things that other critics have already said.
Hello,

I'm applying for Comp Lit at various universities. Essentially you need to tackle a piece through a variety of lenses, but you need to come up with a reason why it's important. The essay can't just agree or disagree with something - it has to produce some sort of understanding.

If you've never done university writing before, it would help to try to do some research on scholar.google.com to get a glimpse of how literary criticism is used. Obviously you also need to pull in various theorist in your essay. From what I heard, they want a writing sample with lots of citations.

I'd be more than happy to share mine with you if you PM me.
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iceflyier
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Does the writer need to present some brilliant, original, never-heard-before theory or interpretation of their subject?
No, you're only at undergrad level, they're not expecting TOO much from you.
That being said, the 1850 course is pretty big on theorists such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, it MAY help your application slightly if you write about them, since I assume you'll be starting from scratch.

That being said, I think one of the sample essays I submitted was a discussion of existentialism in Waiting for Godot..
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