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MPhil in English Studies: Criticism and Culture

Course Description

The MPhil in Criticism and Culture is an innovative nine-month course of literary study with an interdisciplinary and comparative focus, running from October until the end of June. It aims to provide an introduction to and training in different aspects of contemporary literary criticism and literary and cultural theory.

You will be encouraged to develop a critical and methodological framework, and to pursue questions relating to literary and cultural production alongside your individual research project. Within a flexible framework, you will be able to study particular areas in depth or explore topics broadly relevant to your intended research. Each student works closely with a member of the Faculty on his or her chosen dissertation topic while participating in collaborative seminars and classes.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/elelmpecc

Course detail

By the end of the course students should have:

- developed a deeper knowledge of contemporary literary criticism and literary and cultural theory in general, and of their chosen area of research in particular.

- developed an understanding of critical debates which allows the evaluation of current research in their dissertation field.


The required elements of the course consist of two seminars in both Michaelmas and Lent term selected from the course-options offered. In Michaelmas Term students must take the core course. Students may substitute one of the two courses required per term from another M.Phil. in the English Faculty or from another Faculty subject to the approval of the convenor. Pre-existing exchange arrangements have been set up with the following M.Phils. in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages (MML) (NB Lent term courses only): European Literature & Culture ; Russian Studies ; Screen Media and Cultures, and with the Faculties of History of Art and Architecture and History and Philosophy of Science (HPS). Courses may also be taken from other M.Phils. by special arrangement.

In addition to the two taught seminars students will be expected to attend the Pre-Dissertation Workshop in Lent Term, followed by the student-facilitated Dissertation-Writing Groups in Easter Term. Students will also be expected to attend training sessions provided by the University Library on bibliographical and library skills, along with sessions on electronic resources such as LION and the MLA bibliography .

Students are required to attend a minimum of ten sessions a year of any of the following fortnightly Graduate Research Seminars: the Criticism and Culture Graduate Seminar (a speaker series); the Postcolonial Graduate Seminar, and the Twentieth Century Graduate Seminar.

Each student has a supervisor who gives advice on planning the year’s work and the dissertation in particular. Supervision on the coursework essays is offered by the convenor of the appropriate class. Documentation offering specifications and guidance in relation to each element of assessed work is provided to students. Progress is monitored through the discussion with each student of draft sections of their dissertations by their supervisor and through submitted work: The short-written exercise, which is submitted in Michaelmas Term, receives feedback from the supervisor; the first course-work which is submitted at the end of Michaelmas term is returned with examiner’s comments at the beginning of Lent term; the Lent-term course-work essay returned with comments at the beginning of Easter term. Supervisors write termly reports online which can be accessed by the student.


- A 12,000 – 15,000 word dissertation submitted at the end of Easter term which contributes 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.


If you wish to continue from the M.Phil. to the Ph.D. you must obtain a minimum of 70 across the coursework with a minimum of 70 for the dissertation.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

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

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in English Studies: Criticism and Culture page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. At least a high 2.i honours degree from a UK university or equivalent. Applicants should note, however, that the majority of those accepted onto English Faculty MPhils have a first-class honours degree or equivalent. Applicants will normally be expected to have taken a substantial number of English courses at university level and to possess a sound background in the literature of the period covered by the course.

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