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Postgraduate Admissions


The required elements of the course consist of three seminar courses 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 taught seminars students will be expected to attend events such as dissertation workshops or symposia and training sessions provided by the University Library and Faculty Library on bibliographical and information management skills, along with sessions on electronic resources and referencing.

Students are required to attend a minimum of ten sessions of the regular postgraduate research seminars.

One to one supervision

At least eight hours per year (one-to-one supervision).

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

Seminars & classes

70-80 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 Michaelmas term, receives feedback from the supervisor; the first coursework essay, which is submitted after Michaelmas term, is returned with two examiners' comments early in 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.


Either two 5,000-word essays, one submitted after Michaelmas term and the other after Lent term, or (for Medieval specialisation) one exercise in Textual and Related Studies or one 5,000-word essay submitted after Michaelmas term, and one 5,000-word essay submitted after Lent term. These relate to the work pursued in the seminars taken and contribute 20 and 30 per cent to the final mark (the highest scoring work contributes the higher percentage). A short written exercise relating to the dissertation, which is marked on a pass/resubmission basis, is submitted during Michaelmas term. 


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Key Information

9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Faculty of English

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Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2022

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
Jan. 6, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 6, 2022
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.

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