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Postgraduate Admissions


The required elements of the course consist of two seminars in both Michaelmas and Lent term selected from the course options offered. Where possible, courses may also be taken from other MPhils 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 the 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 can also attend sessions of regular graduate research seminars.

One to one supervision

At least eight hours per year.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

60 hours per year.


Each student has a supervisor who gives advice on planning the year’s work and the dissertation in particular.  Advice on the coursework essay is given by the convenor of the appropriate class and further supervision is offered by the dissertation supervisor, who reads a draft. 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 the Michaelmas term, receives feedback from the supervisor; the first coursework essay, which is submitted at the end of Michaelmas term, is returned with two examiners' comments at the beginning of Lent term; the Lent-term coursework essay is returned with two examiners' comments at the beginning of Easter term. Supervisors write termly reports online which can be accessed by the student.


Thesis / Dissertation

A 12,000–15,000-word dissertation submitted at the end of Easter term which contributes 50 per cent to the final mark.


A short written exercise relating to the dissertation 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 respectively contribute 20 and 30 per cent to the final mark.

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Key Information

9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Faculty of English

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2021

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
Jan. 7, 2021
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2021, Lent 2022 and Easter 2022.

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