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MPhil in European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures

Course Description

The MPhil in European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures provides you with the critical and theoretical tools to enable you to undertake in-depth study of specific aspects of European literature and culture or Latin American and Francophone contexts.

The course introduces you to a broad range of critical theory concepts and allows you to write a short thesis. Students take three taught courses consisting of lectures and seminars, one of which is a core course in critical theory.

Visit the website: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/mmmmmpelc

Course detail

During Lent term, students take two modules chosen from a range of module options. Two modules are run in conjunction with the MPhil in Latin American Studies, one of which is a module on Latin American Film. It is also possible to borrow modules from the MPhil in Screen Media and Cultures, and the MPhil in English Studies: Criticism and Culture, run by the Faculty of English.

Although not all students may wish to progress to higher research, this MPhil programme is designed to prepare students for continuation to PhD work. This preparation includes the academic and research training provided by the course content itself but also advice and support with PhD applications, funding applications and the drafting of a research proposal.

The Medieval and Early Modern pathway is aimed at students who wish to specialize in subjects linked to Medieval and/or Early Modern studies. The course offers tailored training to students working in this field, providing theoretical and practical tools to read, understand and work on pre-modern sources. The pathway is a flexible structure that can be adjusted to particular needs and interests offering a wide range of approaches to a variety of texts and historical contexts. This course is particularly suited to students wishing to pursue their graduate studies further and work on a PhD in Medieval and/or Early Modern studies. Students interested will have to register to the pathway at the beginning of the academic year.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme students will have:

1. developed a knowledge of critical theory and an ability to work with theory or specific critical approaches;
2. developed a deeper knowledge of one or more areas of European Literature & Culture and of the critical debates within that (or those) area(s);
3. developed more advanced critical judgement and sensitivity to literary texts;
4. demonstrated advanced skills in literary analysis;
5. developed intellectual and practical research skills;
6. presented their own ideas in a public forum.


The EuroLit MPhil is a nine-month course that runs from October to June of any given academic year. It is classified as a research Master's. Students are expected to submit coursework and a thesis during the year, as follows:

Michaelmas Term: Core Course

During the first term of study, students attend weekly lectures and mini-seminars designed to give them a broad insight into European literature and culture. At the end of this term, they submit one 4,500-word essay. The essay focuses on a specific theoretical framework or critical approach. Additionally those following the early modern and medieval pathway may submit a paleography exercise as assessment for this course. Two hours of individual supervision are provided.

Lent Term: Modules

Students can choose from a range of module options. Some are shared with different MPhils (e.g. Screen Media and Cultures) and other Departments and Faculties within the University, such as Latin American Studies. (The list of modules can change from year to year depending on the availability of academic staff.)

During Lent Term, students attend weekly group seminars led by the module covenor, lasting around 1.5 to 2 hours per week per module. In addition, two hours of individual supervision (per essay) will be provided as students draft their module essays. Essays are submitted at the end of Lent Term.

Examples of modules

- Modern and Contemporary French and Francophone Culture: Articulations of the Real
- Searching for Happiness
- Identity and hybridity in Arthurian romance
- The alterity of medieval literature
- The Enlightenment and its Critics: from Kant to Foucault
- Memory and Subjectivity in the German Novel
- History of the Book, 1450-1650
- The Modern City
- Marginalities in Nineteenth-Century European Culture
- Europe and the Renaissance
- New Commitments: Literature, Cinema and Culture in Italy 1960 - present
- Dante: Medieval and Modern
- Women Writers in Early Modern Italy
- The Culture of East Slavic Lands from Rus to the Battle of Poltava
- Literature and Nationalism in Russia and Eastern Europe
- Revolutionising Body and Mind in Early Twentieth-Century Russia
- Al-Andalus and España: Translatio and Tolerance
- Golden Age Literature and Culture: The Baroque Marvel
- Iberian Voices
- The Consolidation and Crisis of Representation in Ibero-American Literature
- Latin American Literary Culture
- Latin American Film and Visual Arts

Assessment - Easter Term

During this term, students write a thesis. Theses must, according to the criteria laid down by the Board of Graduate Studies, 'represent a contribution to learning'. Theses must be written in English. The arrangements for their preparation are similar to those for the essays. Titles are chosen by students, in consultation with module convenors and/or prospective supervisors, and then have to be approved by the Faculty Degree Committee.

Topics and precise thesis titles must be submitted by a specific deadline in Lent Term. Up to this point the Course Director is the titular supervisor of MPhil students, but once the thesis topics are approved, a specialist supervisor is appointed for each student. Students are entitled to up to four hour-long sessions with their supervisor. (In the event that a thesis is co-supervised, a candidate may expect two hours of individual teaching from each supervisor. Only one supervisor should comment on the full draft of the thesis.)


For those applying to continue from the MPhil to PhD, the minimum academic standard is a distinction on the MPhil.

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

Funding Opportunities

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

Visit the MPhil in European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Benjamin Quarshie

"The MPhil in European and Comparative Literatures and Cultures offered a thorough course in cultural and literary theory, as well as the flexibility to develop one's own interests. I found the Core Course seminars a challenging opportunity to share ideas with other students, and a stimulating supplement to my research into Latin American literature, cultural studies and visual arts. The one-on-one supervisions that fed into my work were hugely enjoyable because they felt very collaborative, and supervisors were as keen to share their enthusiasm and research as they were to support any interests in theories and works that were not necessarily on the teaching timetables."


Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree in Modern European Language/Culture, with other humanities degrees also considered.

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