Masters Programmes

Library gallery

Our Masters programmes are designed to serve both as an autonomous degree and as a solid foundation for those who wish to pursue more advanced research in literature in Oxford or elsewhere. One of the special features of this degree is that, unlike many master's programmes, it provides opportunities for you to pursue topics across period boundaries if you so wish.

We offer a 9-month MSt programme (in each of 7 strands) and a 21-month MPhil in English Studies (Medieval Period). Further information about each of these is available below. Most of the teaching for these courses takes place during full term, and students are expected to conduct their research and writing through the vacation periods.

When selecting your course during the application process, please ensure you choose the correct period strand. This will determine the core courses that you take, but it will not constrain your choice of options.

There is no automatic transfer to study for the DPhil or MLitt. Candidates' applications are assessed on the basis of several factors, alongside applicants with Master's degrees from other universities; for more details, see the Selection Criteria.

Other MSt programmes that the Faculty is involved in include:

MSt Film Aesthetics

MSt Medieval Studies – for further details about Medieval Studies, please see the Oxford Medieval Studies website.

MSt Women’s Studies

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The course convenors are Andy Orchard (Pembroke College) and Laura Ashe (Worcestor College).

History

Oxford has a long and distinguished history of studying medieval English language and literature. In 1795 it established one of the first ever professorships in English, the Rawlinson and Bosworth Chair of Anglo-Saxon, currently held by Andy Orchard. Amongst those who taught here are of course J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, people who made the motifs and languages of medieval English part of the imagination of the modern world. Other distinguished Oxford scholars of medieval English have included C.T. Onions, Helen Gardner, Dorothy Whitelock, Neil Ker, J.A.W. Bennett, Norman Davis, Ursula Dronke, Eric Stanley, Malcolm Parkes, Anne Hudson and Paul Strohm. Numerous more recent alumni of its graduate courses teach medieval languages and literature round the world. The current generation of medievalists is one of the largest, if not the largest, in any English department globally. With our 650–1550 MSt, as well as our MPhil and DPhil programmes, we are teaching future generations of scholars in these fields.

Graduate Study today

The MSt in English Language and Literature 650–1550 offers the knowledge and understanding, research materials and opportunities, and the skills and techniques, for undertaking that study. We aim to broaden students’ experience of the literature produced in the British Isles and related areas across nearly a millennium. We also offer unrivalled training in the core skills for research in medieval studies. These include reading, understanding and editing medieval manuscripts and early printed books; developing skills in languages such as Old English and Old Norse; and debating a wide range of approaches and methods in the study of medieval literature and culture. Optional courses with leading scholars help to focus students’ interests, and a dissertation provides the chance to pursue research projects in depth and to a high quality. 
 
The range of the literature and approaches likely to be encountered is challenging and rewarding: Anglo-Norman genealogical romance and Chaucer’s urban culture; theorizing gender in Norse sagas or comparing word and image in Old English verse; decoding the earliest English interlinear glosses or analysing the transformations of Tudor printing. We have no one method or theoretical approach; the course gives you time to learn which sort of medievalism you wish to practise, or invent. The broader part of the course (the ‘A Course’) is not formally assessed; it is a chance to learn for its own sake. Thus whatever your past experience and expected future academic specialism or career outside, the course will ensure that you become an accomplished medievalist with a wide range of expertise.

Central to that expertise is the extensive training in handling and thinking about the ‘material text’ (the ‘B course’) – how we read, date, interpret, and edit from primary sources – including coursework studying some of Oxford’s astounding holdings of manuscripts and early printed books; such training will transform the way you think about medieval literature, bringing it to archaeological life, and open up new resources for and kinds of research.

Students then pursue their particular interests in two taught courses, choosing from a range of half-dozen or so which change each year (the ‘C courses’). Recent years’ courses have included Anglo-Saxon riddles; Cynewulf; archetypes of the high middle ages; early Middle English women’s religious writing; post-Conquest literature; Chaucer’s places; intellectual dissidence and dissent in the fifteenth century; the language of Middle English literature; Older Scots literature. Students are also welcome to choose a course offered by another MSt strand, for example in another period, or in English Language. Each student submits an essay on two of these chosen subjects for assessment.

Finally, each student prepares, with the guidance of a specialist supervisor, a dissertation (the ‘D course’) on any subject of her or his choice concerning the language, literature, or cultural history of the British Isles and the Norse world in the Middle Ages. These dissertations bring to bear the skills and perspectives acquired throughout the course on one focused piece of research. The dissertation, as well as the coursework for the B and C courses, can often become the seeds of doctoral research or a first publication.

The structure of the course

  • The A course: seminars over the first two terms introduce a range of medieval literature composed between 650 and 1550 and a variety of topics and approaches for consideration, such as voice and writing, authorship, form and formalism, historicism. Students give presentations in the weekly seminars but there is no formal assessment.
  • The B course: seminars over the first two terms introduce skills in transcription, palaeography, codicology and editing and introduce reflection on the significance of studying the material forms of and textual transmission of medieval literature. Students sit a short test in transcription and submit a piece of coursework demonstrating research on literature in original material form or editorial transformation.
  • The C courses: students choose one C course in each of the first two terms on a range of specialist topics and are taught in weekly small-group seminars. They submit an essay of 5,000-7,000 words at the end of each term related to a term’s C course.
  • The D course or dissertation: in discussion with Faculty members, students devise a research project of their own. They then receive one-to-one supervision on that research and complete a dissertation of 10,000 words by the end of the third term.

The MPhil

For those who would like to take their studies further, there is a second taught Master’s level course, the MPhil, which runs over two years, but whose first year syllabus is the same as that of the MSt course. It includes further taught courses, opportunities for more linguistic training, and a second, longer dissertation in the second year. It is possible to apply for this course from the outset or apply to switch onto it at the end of the MSt.

Scholarships

The Faculty offers MSt funding each year through the Jeremy Griffiths Studentship, which is generously supported by John and Jeanne Griffiths in memory of their son, Jeremy, who was a graduate student in medieval literature in our Faculty. In addition the Cecily Clarke scholarship may be awarded to a student of English Medieval Studies, with a preference to subjects relating to Middle English Philology.

 

The intellectual life of the Faculty of English 

Chaucer's Clerk of Oxenford

As well as the formal teaching and assessment, there is a thriving community of medievalists engaged in research and discussion in the Faculty. Those teaching and researching in the Faculty form one of the largest cadres of medievalists in the world, whose interests cover the full range of Old Norse, Old English, Middle English, early Tudor literature and Older Scots, as well as several members with interests in Anglo-Norman and Celtic literatures. The Faculty’s medievalists and their activities are listed here. The graduate students – many of them published scholars and adept teachers in their own right – are crucial members of this community.

The medievalists gather every Wednesday for the Medieval English Research Seminar, at which eminent visiting speakers and locals give papers for discussion, followed by a social gathering. There is a work-in-progress group for people from dissertation students to Faculty members who are studying manuscripts or textual transmission, and there are extra termly seminars of specialists in Old Norse. There are similar research seminars in other parts of the English Faculty and in other faculties (‘medieval church and culture’, medieval social history, medieval music, Anglo-Norman reading group, literature and medicine, the history of the book) at which you are welcome: the current programme for all these can be found on the Medieval Research page.

Oxford hosts annually the Oxford Graduate Medieval Conference and meetings of the student-run Oxford Medieval Society run throughout the year. The Faculty regularly hosts conferences at which our own students give papers or assist with the organization. Events in the next few years include conferences on literature after the Conquests of 1016 and 1066; on the important literary milieu of Syon Abbey; and the major international conference of the Early Book Society. The literary life of the Faculty reaches forwards too, of course, with lectures by our Professor of Poetry and special events such as the Clarendon Lectures by a distinguished guest each year. Recent years’ Clarendon Lecturers have included David Wallace, James Simpson and Brian Cummings. Each year, a distinguished medievalist is invited as a guest lecturer in Medieval Studies, and gives a lecture, seminar, and workshop with current graduate students across different faculties. Previous incumbents include Caroline Walker Bynum, Jeffrey Hamburger and Christopher Page.

The course convenors are Emma Smith (Hertford College) and Lorna Hutson (Merton Professor of English Literature). 

Details of Faculty members working in the Early Modern period can be found here.

In addition to the courses provided specifically for the MSt there are many other classes and seminars including two research seminars which feature visiting speakers, Early Modern Literature and Restoration to Reform. The Bodleian Library, founded in 1602, offers immense holdings in early modern printed books and manuscripts, and also has the particular interest of representing in its architecture a key moment of early modern cultural history. The Taylorian Library offers extensive holdings in Continental printed books and in modern secondary literature. Many college libraries contain unique holdings of early modern books. The period is also very well represented in the Faculties of History and Modern Languages and graduate students are able to attend lectures and seminars in related disciplines. There is active interdisciplinary collaboration with Classics and with Women's Studies. Beginners' classes in a wide range of ancient and modern languages are available through other Faculties.

A. Literature, Contexts and Approaches (Core Course)

The general classes on ‘Literature, Contexts and Approaches' introduce representative key texts and current debates on the literature and cultural history of the period.

The A Course is taught as weekly seminar over eight weeks in Michaelmas Term, and is designed to provide a solid foundation for advanced literary study.

B. Bibliography, Theories of Text, History of the Book, Manuscript Studies

This is a range of lectures and seminars in each of the first two terms designed to train students for research in English. Within this strand, there will be classes on palaeography, offering students the skills essential to exploring the enormous riches of Oxford's manuscript collections, and on book history, bibliography, and textual criticism.

C. Special Options

Special Option courses are one-term courses on specialist themes usually relating to the current research interests of the teacher(s).

C options for this strand over the past few years have included: 'Shakespeare and the Book'; ‘The Sidneys'; 'Literature and Religion, c.1550-1642'; 'The New Milton Studies'; 'Early Modern Women and the Book'; 'Imagining Early Modern London, 1558-1640'; 'Women's Writing in English Literature 1660-1789'; ‘Early Modern Writing and the New Philosophy'.

Students take one Special Option in each of the first two terms.

The special option courses present an excellent opportunity for you to develop your research interests. You are not constrained to follow option courses within your designated period, and indeed, option courses often traverse the boundaries of the broad periods.

D. Dissertation

All students write a 10,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice, but related to the work they have been doing over the year. You will be assigned to a member of Faculty who will act as your supervisor.

Assessment

In addition to the dissertation, you will submit three essays of 5-7,000 words – one at the end of the first term, and two at the end of the second term – relating to the B and C courses that you have taken.

Students normally take all four components to fulfil the requirements of the degree. All course work will be completed by the end of the second term (Hilary Term), leaving the summer term (Trinity Term) for the writing of the dissertation, which is submitted in early June.

The course convenors are Timothy Michael (Lincoln College) and David Womersley (St Catherine's College).

Faculty members with research and teaching interests in the eighteenth century and romantic periods can be found on the relevant period pages.

The English Faculty has expertise in poetry, editorial practice, textual scholarship, the history of the book, intellectual history, women’s writing, prose fiction, and the relationship between literature and politics. Faculty members work in collaboration with the Bodleian Centre for the Study of the Book and with the interdisciplinary Besterman Centre for the Enlightenment.

The MSt in English 1700-1830, one of five overlapping period strands, is a 9-month programme offering a broad foundation for further research and a complete, unique course of study in itself. Examples of possible work across the period as a whole might include (say) the influence of Dryden and Milton on the development of epic and mock-epic from Pope to Wordsworth and Byron; the growth of prose fiction from Behn and Defoe to Austen and Scott; or the shape of the journalistic essay from Addison and Steele via Johnson to Hazlitt and the Romantic reviewers.

Oxford possesses unparalleled resources in the literature, history, and culture of this period. Many college libraries contain one-off examples of seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth-century books. The Bodleian Library’s holdings range from single items—the autograph copy of Pope’s ‘Essay on Criticism’, Austen’s ‘Volume the First’ of juvenilia—to archives of printed ephemera, correspondence, diaries, and miscellaneous papers. Many of the Library’s first and early editions show fascinating evidence of ownership and marginalia. The Abinger collection, a major source for British literary history during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, includes Percy Bysshe Shelley’s manuscripts, William Godwin’s notebooks, and a unique autograph draft of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The cultural and intellectual progenitors of Romanticism are represented in extensive collections of antiquaries’ papers (among them John Aubrey, Elias Ashmole, and William Stukeley), and the literary remains of William Gilpin. Francis Douce, Keeper of the Manuscripts at the British Museum (1807-11), bequeathed over 19,000 printed books and 420 manuscripts to the Bodleian; his collection incorporates children’s books, broadside ballads, history, biography, the fine arts, travel, and archaeology.

There is a strong community of graduate students working in the period, with two thriving research seminars: Restoration to Reform and Romantic Realignments.

The MSt has four components:

A. Literature, Contexts and Approaches (Core Course)

The A course seeks to extend students’ knowledge of literature from 1700-1830, and encourages discussion of critical and theoretical readings of that period. It is taught as a weekly seminar in Michaelmas Term and provides a basis for advanced literary-critical study.

B. Bibliography, Theories of Text, History of the Book, Manuscript Studies

This range of lectures and seminars in each of the first two terms is designed to train students for research in English. Within this strand are classes on palaeography, offering students the necessary skills to explore Oxford’s manuscript collections, and on book history, bibliography, and textual criticism.

C. Special Options

These one-term courses are on specialist topics which sometimes relate to the current research interests of the tutor(s). Students take one Special Option in each of the first two terms. Students are free to pursue C courses from any of the overlapping period strands which make up the MSt in English; these courses present an excellent opportunity to develop your research interests.

Possible C options for this strand include: ‘Milton’; ‘Women’s Writing in English Literature, 1660-1789’; ‘English Biography, 1683-1791’; ‘Seventeenth-Century Writing and the New Philosophy’; ‘Swift’; ‘Romantic Autobiography’; ‘Wordsworth’; ‘Hazlitt’; and ‘Writing the Nation: 1750-1830’.

D. Dissertation

All students write a 10,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice, related to the work they have been doing over the year.  A member of the Faculty is assigned to each student as dissertation supervisor.

Assessment

Students will submit a dissertation and three essays of 5-7,000 words—one at the end of the first term, and two at the end of the second term—relating to the B and C courses they have taken. Students normally take all four components in order to fulfil the requirements of the degree. All course work will be completed by the end of the second term (Hilary), leaving the summer term (Trinity) for the dissertation, which is submitted in early June.

The course convenors are Stefano Evangelista (Trinity College) and David Russell (Corpus Christi College). Many members of the English Faculty work on literature of this period, and there is a very lively community of graduate students researching Victorian topics. Graduates and Faculty members come together at the many research seminars in our period that are held over the term: 'Victorian Literature', 'Comparative Literature', and 'Fin-de-Siècle'.

Details of other Faculty members with interests in this period can be found here.

Oxford's library and archive resources in this period are second to none. There are outstanding collections in the Bodleian Library of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century books and manuscripts, including the Abinger Collection which holds manuscripts of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Godwin's notebooks, and many other papers belonging to the Shelley circle. There are also extremely rich collections of nineteenth-century periodicals and ephemera, including the extensive holdings of the John Johnson Collection. The English Faculty Library is also well stocked with relevant books and journals.

A. Literature, Contexts and Approaches (Core Course)

This strand’s A course aims to broaden and deepen your knowledge of the literature in the period 1830-1914, encouraging you to extend your understanding of the Romantic and Victorian eras and their culture, and to explore your existing interests. It ranges across genres, engaging with theatrical works, poetry, and prose writing as it developed over the 120 years covered in the course. The A Course is taught as a weekly seminar that runs over eight weeks in Michaelmas Term; it is designed to provide a solid foundation for advanced literary study.

B. Bibliography, Theories of Text, History of the Book, Manuscript Studies

This is a range of lectures and seminars in each of the first two terms designed to train students for research in English. Within this strand, there will be classes on palaeography, offering students the skills essential to exploring the enormous riches of Oxford 's manuscript collections, and on book history, bibliography, and textual criticism.

C. Special Options

Special Option courses are one-term courses on specialist themes usually relating to the current research interests of the teacher(s).

C options for this strand over the past few years have included: ‘Oscar Wilde and Late Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture', ‘Romantic Autobiography', ‘Wordsworth' and ‘Victorian Sexualities', ‘Hazlitt', ‘Writing the Nation: 1750-1830', ‘Victorian Emotion', ‘Dickens and Victorian Travel' and ‘The Visionary Gleam: God, Nature, Man in Poets from Cowper to Hopkins'.

Students take one Special Option in each of the first two terms.

The special option courses present an excellent opportunity for you to develop your research interests. You are not constrained to follow option courses within your designated period, and indeed, option courses often traverse the boundaries of the broad periods.

D. Dissertation

All students write a 10,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice, but related to the work they have been doing over the year. You will be assigned to a member of Faculty who will act as your supervisor.

Assessment

In addition to the dissertation, you will submit three essays of 5-7,000 words – one at the end of the first term, and two at the end of the second term – relating to the B and C courses that you have taken.

Students normally take all four components to fulfil the requirements of the degree. All course work will be completed by the end of the second term (Hilary Term), leaving the summer term (Trinity Term) for the writing of the dissertation, which is submitted in early June.

The course convenors are David Dwan (Hertford College), Marina MacKay (St Peter's College) and Michael Whitworth (Merton College).

The Faculty includes numerous scholars and teachers working in the modern period, as can be seen here.

Within the modern period, particular areas of interest among faculty members include modernist poetry, fiction, and drama, the cultural contexts of literature, literature and science, life writing, modern drama and performance studies, contemporary poetry, post-colonial studies, and Irish literature.

The Bodleian Library, the English Faculty Library, the Taylorian, the History Library, and the Rothermere American Institute Library provide a great wealth of resources for the study of modern literature at Oxford . Students are welcome to attend lectures across related disciplines. The Faculty has a number of visiting lecturers and writers every year. The Professor of Poetry (Professor Simon Armitage), successor to figures such as Seamus Heaney, James Fenton, Paul Muldoon, Christopher Ricks and Geoffrey Hill, took up the post in October 2015.

A. Literature, Contexts and Approaches (Core Course)

The A course on ‘Literature, Context and Approaches' will give a wide overview of genres and critical approaches in the period, covering such topics as the concept of modernity, colonial space, modernist fictional form, literature and visual culture, theatre and revolution, metafiction, and late twentieth-century poetics.

The A Course is taught as a weekly seminar that runs over eight weeks in Michaelmas Term, and is designed to provide a solid foundation for advanced literary study.

B. Bibliography, Theories of Text, History of the Book, Manuscript Studies

This is a range of lectures and seminars in each of the first two terms designed to train students for research in English. Within this strand, there will classes on book history and theories of text, appropriate to the period.

C. Special Options

Special Option courses are one-term courses on specialist themes usually relating to the current research interests of the teacher(s).

C options for this strand - some of which cross period boundaries - may include (subject to availability and demand), ‘Literatures of Empire and Nation’, ‘Cinema and Modernism,’ ‘How New York Stole the Idea of the Avant-Garde,’ ‘Others and J.M. Coetzee,’ ‘Literature and Psychoanalysis,’ ‘African Literature: Testimony, Life-Writing and Literary Conversations,’ ‘Locating Contemporary Poetry,’ ‘Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot', ‘Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Life-Writing', ‘Women and Drama’, ‘Post-1945 Modern Drama', ‘Joseph Conrad', ‘Virginia Woolf, Society and Politics', ‘Contemporary Fiction', and ‘Policing Literature: 1780-1980'.

Students take one Special Option in each of the first two terms.

The special option courses present an excellent opportunity for you to develop your research interests. You are not constrained to follow option courses within your designated period, and indeed, option courses often traverse the boundaries of the broad periods.

D. Dissertation

All students write a 10,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice, but related to the work they have been doing over the year. You will be assigned to a member of Faculty who will act as your supervisor.

Assessment

In addition to the dissertation, you will submit three essays of 5-7,000 words – one at the end of the first term, and two at the end of the second term – relating to the B and C courses that you have taken.

Students normally take all four components to fulfil the requirements of the degree. All course work will be completed by the end of the second term (Hilary Term), leaving the summer term (Trinity Term) for the writing of the dissertation, which is submitted in early June.

The course convenors are Rachel Malkin (Linacre College) and Lloyd Pratt.

Members of the faculty with a special interest in this field can be found here.

The MSt in English and American Studies is designed for students who wish to complement a Master's degree in English with postgraduate training in English and American Studies.

Students will be allowed to specialize in any of the four later historical areas currently offered on the MSt in English: 1550-1700, 1700-1830, 1830-1914 or 1900-present. They will also enjoy access to the research facilities of the Vere Harmsworth Library and will be invited to attend the regular programme of lectures and seminars on American cultural topics provided by the Rothermere American Institute.

A. Literature, Contexts and Approaches (Core Course)

The A Course is taught as a weekly seminar that runs over eight weeks in Michaelmas Term; it is designed to provide a solid foundation for advanced literary study.

B. Bibliography, Theories of Text, History of the Book, Manuscript Studies

This is a range of lectures and seminars in each of the first two terms is designed to train students for advanced research.

C. Special Options

Special Option courses are one-term courses on specialist themes usually relating to the current research interests of the teacher(s).

In place of one of the regular Course C options, students will take a compulsory core course in American Studies, designed to introduce them to the methods and practices of interdisciplinary study in this field.

Students take one Special Option in each of the first two terms.

The special option courses present an excellent opportunity for you to develop your research interests. You are not constrained to follow option courses within your designated period, and indeed, option courses often traverse the boundaries of the broad periods.

D. Dissertation

All students write a 10,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice, but related to the work they have been doing over the year. You will be assigned to a member of Faculty who will act as your supervisor.

For this strand, students will be required to write their dissertation on an approved topic in the field of English and American Studies (broadly conceived, and allowing scope for comparative studies).

Assessment

In addition to the dissertation, you will submit three essays of 5-7,000 words – one at the end of the first term, and two at the end of the second term – relating to the B and C courses that you have taken.

Students normally take all four components to fulfil the requirements of the degree. All course work will be completed by the end of the second term (Hilary Term), leaving the summer term (Trinity Term) for the writing of the dissertation, which is submitted in early June.

The course convenors are Elleke Boehmer (Wolfson College), Michelle Kelly (English Faculty) and Matthew Reynolds.

Members of the faculty with a special interest in this field can be seen here.

The MSt in World Literatures in English offers a broad foundation for further research in Anglophone colonial, postcolonial, world and transnational literary studies, and a complete, unique course of study in itself.

Oxford has a distinguished record in particular in the general theoretical and literary-cultural field of postcolonial studies, in colonial historiography, in postcolonial book history, and in South Asian and West, East and southern African literatures in English (fiction and poetry). From as far back as the mid-nineteenth century, the University of Oxford developed a world-renowned reputation for fostering international (then colonial) networks of scholars and scholarship—networks which in their turn contributed to building the Bodleian Library’s rich resources in colonial and postcolonial materials, as held for example in the Indian Institute, John Johnson and Rhodes House library collections as well as in College libraries and archives. The study of colonial, postcolonial or international literatures in English, and of theories related to this field, has been carried out within the Faculty of English Language and Literature at Oxford since the early 1990s, to the extent that scholars around the world now make a strong association between this field of study and English at Oxford.

The association of Oxford English with World literary studies has been reinforced in recent years with the successes of the lively Postcolonial Writing and Theory Seminar which runs in term across the academic year. It also organizes well-attended annual or biennial conferences and workshops. In recent years the Postcolonial seminar has hosted talks and readings by, amongst others, Nobel Prize-winner J.M. Coetzee, and prizewinning authors Caryl Phillips, Les Murray and Kamila Shamsie, as well as world literature and comparative literature theorists Ato Quayson, Pheng Cheah and David Palumbo-Liu.

 

A. The Colonial, the Postcolonial, the World: Literature, Contexts and Approaches (Core Course)

This strand’s A course will be concerned with exploring the keynote themes and methodologies defining the field, including: the world and the globe (globalization); what was empire?; nationalism and trans-nationalism; race and race identity; cosmopolitanism and provincialism; the city and the Global South; hybridity and migration.

The A Course is taught as a weekly seminar that runs over eight weeks in Michaelmas Term, and is designed to provide a solid foundation for advanced literary study in the field.

B. Bibliography, Theories of Text, History of the Book, Manuscript Studies

A research methods course taught by practical class and/or seminar, covering the material histories of the colonial and postcolonial book.

C. Special Options

Special Option courses are one-term courses on specialist themes usually relating to the current research interests of the teacher(s).

Students take one Special Option in each of the first two terms.

The special option courses present an excellent opportunity for you to develop your research interests. You are not constrained to follow option courses within your designated period, and indeed, option courses often traverse the boundaries of the broad periods.

D. Dissertation

All students write a 10,000 word dissertation on a subject of their choice, but related to the work they have been doing over the year. You will be assigned to a member of Faculty who will act as your supervisor.

Bod MS Digby 232 fol 1 - Lydgate and Henry V

The course convenor is Daniel Wakelin (St Hilda's College).

Oxford is now very rare in offering a two-year taught & research postgraduate course in medieval studies. The time and space this affords makes the Oxford MPhil the very best preparation for later research in any aspect of medieval literary or cultural history; it also stands alone as a thoroughly satisfying qualification indicating significant levels of critical, linguistic, and historical skill, expertise, and research competence, transferable to any future career.

Students begin by following the programme of the one year course. This already includes a broad grounding in medieval literature and culture, technical training in manuscripts, paleography, and codicology (depending on courses taken), and the opportunity to pursue specific personal interests in coursework essays and in the MSt dissertation. In the second year students have the opportunity both to broaden and deepen their knowledge, adding further options in medieval languages, literatures, authors, philosophy, history, and palaeography, taking advantage if they wish of courses offered by specialists in other faculties.

Students finally submit a second, longer dissertation, which often forms the basis of doctoral research, or a substantial publication. Those intending to proceed to doctoral work after their MPhil should consult with their course convenors about their second-year option choices early in their first year of study.

The extra time involved in the two-year MPhil allows for internationally-recognised standards of expertise to be attained before a doctorate is even embarked upon. The opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement are multiple, and the depth of research possible is unparalleled at Master's level.

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