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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

American Literature is no longer accepting new applications.


Students are required to attend the Foundation Course seminars and the Resources and Methods seminars in Michaelmas term, and in the Lent term two courses from a pool of options that is shared between the MPhils in American Literature, Modern and Contemporary Literature, Criticism and Culture, Eighteenth-century and Romantic Studies, and Medieval and Renaissance Literature.

MPhil students are also required to attend the one-day American Literature Symposium which takes place during Easter term.

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

57 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 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

12,000–15,000 word dissertation submitted at the end of Easter term and contributing 50 per cent to the final mark.


A short written exercise relating to the dissertation which is marked on a pass/resubmission basis.

Two 4,000–5,000-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 per cent respectively to the final mark.

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:

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.