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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures by Advanced Study is no longer accepting new applications.

The MPhil in European, Latin American, and Comparative  Literatures and Cultures (ELAC) provides students with the critical and theoretical tools to enable them to undertake an in-depth study of specific aspects of European literatures and cultures and/or Latin American and Francophone contexts. The course introduces students to a broad range of critical theory concepts, allows for in-depth study of specific cultures and contexts, and includes the writing of a dissertation based on original research.

The MPhil is offered by the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics (MMLL) as a full-time programme and introduces students to research skills and specialist knowledge of specific cultural areas.

The course aims:

  • to offer students with relevant experience at degree level a self-contained 9-month course in which they have the opportunity for in-depth study of specific aspects of European and comparative literatures and cultures (and in some cases film, history and the visual arts) and critical theory; and
  • to provide foundations for continuation to PhD research.

These aims are achieved by:

  • offering an overview of central aspects of modern literary/cultural theory and critical approaches to develop a general understanding of the field;
  • offering an opportunity for in-depth study of two areas in critical theory and approaches and for developing skills to write on theory and to use theory or palaeographical and bibliographical techniques as a tool in the study of literary or other cultural texts;
  • offering an opportunity for expanding knowledge of the literature and culture of specific periods and language areas beyond the undergraduate level;
  • offering an opportunity for in-depth and sustained work on the individual essay and dissertation topics;
  • offering the opportunity either to specialise in one European language area or to continue work in several languages (in the latter case offering guidance in developing comparative research projects);
  • offering an opportunity to give seminar papers to a specialist audience in order to develop skills in presenting work and discussing the issues which arise from it with other MPhil students and senior members of the Faculty;
  • offering an opportunity to learn to work to tight deadlines (time management);
  • offering practice in writing shorter essays with a strict deadline (4,500 words);
  • offering experience in independent research and training in developing a realistic research project and writing it up as a dissertation (15,000 words) within a limited period of time;
  • offering an opportunity to develop bibliographical, editorial and other research skills;
  • offering an opportunity to work under the supervision of specialists in relevant areas; and
  • offering the opportunity to participate in the research culture of the Faculty and to attend postgraduate seminars and reading groups.

In addition to these subject-specific skills, the following general transferable skills are also acquired:

  • The relatively intense timetable of the MPhil demands that students develop exemplary time-management skills. They work in collaboration with their supervisors to devise appropriate plans of study and have to ensure that they meet all deadlines, both formal and informal.
  • Students are expected to make regular presentations in seminar settings to develop their oral presentation skills.
  • Written work is assessed on the basis of a demonstration of scholarly research and critical analysis. That is, students are expected to present a lucid, coherent and carefully substantiated exposition of a critical viewpoint. Writing must be in clear, grammatically correct, continuous prose, and must function as a single, comprehensible, persuasive, cumulative demonstration, not as a series of disconnected insights. The organisation of the argument of the essay or dissertation and its prose style are of crucial importance.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme students will have:

  • developed knowledge of critical theory and an ability to work with theory or specific critical approaches;
  • developed a deeper knowledge of one or more areas of European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures and of the critical debates within the relevant area(s);
  • developed more advanced critical judgement and sensitivity to literary texts;
  • demonstrated advanced skills in literary analysis;
  • developed intellectual and practical research skills; and
  • presented their own ideas in a public forum.


For those applying to continue from the MPhil by Advanced Study to PhD, the minimum academic standard is an overall distinction on the MPhil.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.


Key Information

9 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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