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The MPhil in American Literature will consist of an intensive foundation course, taught in the Michaelmas term by a team of specialists, which combines detailed attention to specified primary texts with broader investigations into the conceptual, theoretical, and cultural parameters of the literary history of the United States.

Students will be free in the Lent term to choose two from a range of optional courses offered by the MPhils in American Literature, Modern and Contemporary Literature, and Criticism and Culture. The MPhil will be examined by means of two pieces of coursework and a dissertation on a topic of the student's choosing. Students will research and write their dissertations over the course of the three terms in close consultation with supervisors.

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Course detail

By the end of the course students should have:

1. developed a deeper knowledge of their chosen area within American literary studies and of the critical debates within that area;
2. developed an understanding of critical debates that enables the evaluation of current research in their specialist area;
3. developed an understanding of the broader field of American literary studies and the place of their specialist area within it.


Students are required to attend the Foundation Course seminars and the Resources and Methods seminars in Michaelmas term, and in the Lent term two courses from a pool of options that is shared between the M.Phils. in American Literature, Modern and Contemporary Literature, Criticism and Culture and Eighteenth-century and Romantic Studies.

M.Phil. students are required to attend a minimum of ten sessions a year of any of the following fortnightly Graduate Research Seminars: the American Literature Graduate Seminar, the Nineteenth Century Graduate Seminar, the Twentieth Century and Contemporary Literature Graduate Seminar.

M.Phil. students are also required to attend the one-day American Literature Symposium which takes place during Easter term.


- 12,000 – 15,000 word dissertation submitted at the end of Easter term and contributing 50% to the final mark.
- A short-written exercise which is marked on a pass/resubmission basis.
- Two 5,000-word essays. One is submitted at the end of Michaelmas Term the other at the end of Lent Term. These relate to the work pursued in the seminars taken and contribute 20% and 30% respectively to the final mark.


Students wanting to continue from the MPhil to the PhD must obtain a minimum of 70 across the coursework with a minimum of 70 for the dissertation.

How to apply:


There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this course. For information on more general funding opportunities, please see the following link:

Visit the MPhil in American Literature page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Cambridge

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