Elizabeth Hasan, MA English Literature

Elizabeth Hasan

Why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds? 

The choice of the MA English Literature programme at the University of Leeds came naturally to me as I searched for a conducive environment that would allow me to merge both of my lifelong interests - writing poetry and studying literature.

The University of Leeds Poetry Centre, which conducts various competitions and poetry readings as well as organising seminars and academic workshops, aids me in my creative process while stimulating me to explore my literary interests further.

The MA English Literature programme offered at the University of Leeds, incorporates research-led teaching which will prepare me for rigorous and intellectual practice of my faculties. The diverse selection of the modules offered in the programme also complements well with the many areas of interest that I developed during my undergraduate study. The compulsory module combined with the 10,000-word dissertation, produced through independent research, acquaints me with critical reading and research methodologies that are a prerequisite for further studies, especially a Ph.D. Also, as an avid reader, the University Library and its vast Special Collections offer a wealth of materials to research upon.  

What is the best aspect of your course? 

While studying the course, I have come to love various aspects such as individual modules as well as the flexibility offered when choosing optional modules.

Similarly, a lot of experimentation is allowed for the research project module. I can communicate openly with my lecturers and instructors, who are always available during their office hours and over email. But what really stood out to me was the network of support that was available to us students: from library, student support teams, to MA focus groups discussing our experiences in class.

There is plenty of academic support available too from skills@library regarding essay writing, structuring and referencing. There are resources regarding time management and planning available too, which helps during the assessment period, especially for those of us who are not familiar with the demands of the university assessment system.   

Another great aspect of studying English at Leeds, is that the department also focuses on extracurricular activities and organises guest lectures and seminars. I enjoy theatre so I regularly visit the Playhouse Lab. There are trips organised too, especially recent ones to Haworth and York. 

Can you tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed as part of your degree? 

As part of my final assessment for The Digital and English Studies module, I chose to create digital files for Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali.

My problem area was the fact that there are two Gitanjalis - the Gitanjali that won the prize was translated from the original Bengali by the author himself and his reception in the west was largely based on this translated English Gitanjali. The flexibility in mode of assessment helped me focus on the translatory and cultural aspects of these two texts by letting me make TEI-XML files for 12 poems from Bengali and English versions of the text and encoding them for meter, rhyme and stanzas. This aligned with the interdisciplinary aspirations I had while enrolling into the module. A bonus was my module instructor’s expertise, which guided me in formulating my own questions. It was challenging yet quite fun! 

What activities outside of your studies are you involved in? 

Outside of my studies, I like to attend various creative events organised by the library like ‘Write it Wednesdays’, visiting the various art galleries in Leeds, and participate in Leeds University Union events. 

What would you say to students thinking about studying your course? 

To go for it! Rest assured you will be in very capable hands. Start the application process early and don’t hesitate to reach out to the School of English in case of enquiries. 

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students? 

Leeds is a multicultural and multilingual city, you’ll fit right in!

The University campus is snuggled next to the city centre which has plenty of shops and recreational centres like bars, pubs and cinemas. It has a bustling student population and is safe too. The transport system is regular, with buses running to all major cities and towns, nearby. The train station and the bus station are close to the city centre as well.

There are so many historical places to visit in Leeds itself, like The Royal Armouries, Roundhay Park, Kirkstall Abbey and many more. If you are a fan of Victorian and Gothic architecture like me, then this is the place for you! 

What do you plan to do once you graduate?  

I plan on looking for a job related to the publishing or creative industries. 

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help in securing a graduate role following graduation?)

The best part of studying a degree like English Literature is the number of transferable skills that you acquire which helps in branching out to various careers. Studying and spending time at Leeds has equipped me with essential skills like time management, teamwork, organisational efficiency and fluency in MS Office that are valuable for a graduate role.