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University of Oxford Faculty of English

English & American Studies

The M.St. 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 M.St. 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.

The current convenor of the strand is Dr Lloyd Pratt. Members of the faculty with a special interest in this field include Dr Sally Bayley, Ms Jeri Johnson, Dr Andrew Klevan, Professor Hermione Lee, Professor Laura Marcus, Dr Michele Mendelssohn, and Dr Kirsten Shepherd-Barr.

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 normally take one Special Option in each of the first two terms, but may take up to four if they decide to opt out of the B course.

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).


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.