Selection criteria for the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy in English; Master of Philosophy in English (Medieval); Master of Studies in English.
Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of a candidate’s ability to meet the following criteria:
1. Academic ability
Proven and potential academic excellence
Applicants to the MSt and MPhil programmes are normally expected to be predicted or to have achieved a first-class degree (or equivalent international qualifications) in English Literature and/or English Language, or exceptionally a related subject. Applicants to research programmes are normally expected to be predicted or to have achieved a Master’s degree in a relevant subject (preferably English literature or English language) with distinction. For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum overall GPA we seek is 3.75 with at least 3.85 in the Major.
Appropriate indicators will include:
Academic references/letters of recommendation
These should support intellectual ability, academic achievement, motivation, and (for MSt application) ability to work in a group.
Please note that all references must be received by the application deadline, along with all other elements of the application. We therefore recommend contacting your referees well in advance of the deadline.
Written work and/or portfolio produced by the student
Applicants should submit either two pieces of work, in English, at 2,000 words apiece or a single piece of 4,000 words. Extracts from longer pieces are welcome but should be prefaced by a note which puts them in context. It is better to submit essays related to the area and in the subject in which the applicants wishes to work. The written work will be assessed for: analytical and critical acumen; ability to construct and defend an argument; powers of expression.
Research proposal or personal statement
Research Proposal (for applicants to DPhil): The research proposal should be an outline of your research plans (in English) of approximately two pages in length. This will be assessed for: the coherence and viability of the project; the originality of the project; the feasibility of successfully completing the project in the time available for the course (a maximum of four years); evidence of understanding of appropriate research skills required for successful completion of the project and of appropriate training at master’s level or equivalent to undertake the project.
Personal Statement (for applicants to the MSt/MPhil): The personal statement should be one to two pages in length. This will be assessed for: evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study and the nature of the course applied to; commitment to the subject; evidence of a defined set of research interests. A statement which indicates the likely dissertation research area the candidate wishes to pursue is more useful than one which presents personal interests, achievements and aspirations.
Performance at interview(s)
Interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.
2. Other qualifications and experience
Evidence of training in research techniques may be an advantage.
3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places
The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:
- The ability of the Faculty of English to provide: the appropriate supervision from among its permanent postholding staff; research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work.
- There are minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted onto Oxford’s research and taught programmes.
The provision of supervision is subject to the following points.
- The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Faculty of English and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
- Under exceptional circumstances a co-supervisor may be found outside the Faculty of English.
4. English language requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English, at the higher level required by the University. Further information.
5. Deadlines and required full set of application materials
Please refer to the Graduate Admissions website for information on the deadlines which must be met, and the full set of supporting materials required, in order for applications to be guaranteed consideration.
Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until the college which makes the offer is satisfied that you have sufficient funding to cover your fees and living costs, for the standard period of fee liability for your course.
7. Equal opportunities
Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the selection criteria appropriate to the programme of study.
All applications will be assessed by at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise.
It would be expected that graduate applicants would be familiar with the recent published work of any supervisor they propose.
In the case of students who require specific help to adjust to an academic programme or to a new range of skills, the supervisor will work with them to ensure that they have additional support.