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MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance Literature

Course Description

The MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance literature is one of the most successful courses of its kind. Each year it attracts a first-class intake of students from the UK and abroad, and its graduates have an outstanding record in gaining employment in the academic world and outside. Each student works closely with a member of the Faculty on his or her chosen dissertation topic, as well as participating in seminars and classes. Training in how to read manuscript and early printed materials ensures that every student on the course is able to make use of the extensive collections in the University Library and in College libraries.

Cambridge has a distinguished international reputation in English and in many other fields in the humanities (for example, Classics, Modern and Medieval Languages, History, Philosophy, and History of Art), and students on this course may be able to attend lectures offered by any Faculty within the school. This creates a learning environment which naturally enables interdisciplinary work. The course lasts nine months, with the last few months being devoted to intensive work on the dissertation.

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

Course detail

By the end of the course students should have developed:

- a comprehensive knowledge of their chosen area of research and of the critical debates within it;
- a wider knowledge of the literary writing of the period and the traditions that inform scholarship devoted to that writing.


Students must attend regular seminars in Michaelmas and Lent terms on the Interpretation of Literary Texts (Medieval strand of the M.Phil) / Texts, Context, and Methods (Renaissance strand), and weekly classes on Textual and Related Studies in Michaelmas Term.

Participants on the M.Phil are required to attend a minimum of ten sessions selected from the fortnightly Graduate Research Seminars for the year which must include the Renaissance seminar or the Medieval Seminar as appropriate.

Students are also welcome to attend lectures in the English Faculty, as well as, if they wish, lectures in other adjacent Faculties whose teaching might be of interest and relevance.

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, is also returned with feedback through 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 and the TRS exercises are 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 4,000-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 which contribute 15% each to the final mark.
A Textual and Related Exercise submitted at the end of Lent Term which contributes 20% 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 Medieval and Renaissance Literature 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. Find University Minimum Academic Requirements here View Website

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