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Postgraduate Admissions

Course closed:

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


Course Structure

The ELAC MPhil is a nine-month course that runs from October to June of any given academic year. Students are expected to submit coursework and a dissertation during the year, as follows:

Michaelmas Term: Core Course in Critical Theory

During the first term of study, students attend weekly lectures and mini-seminars designed to give them a broad insight into literary/cultural theory and methodology. At the end of this term, they submit one essay. The essay focuses on a specific theoretical framework or critical approach. Alternatively, those following the Medieval and Early Modern Pathway may submit a palaeography exercise as an assessment for this course.  

The Medieval and Early Modern Pathway is aimed at students who wish to specialise 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. It is particularly suited to students wishing to pursue their postgraduate studies further and work on a PhD in Medieval and/or Early Modern studies. 

Lent Term: Modules

Students can choose two modules from a range of module options. Some are shared with different MPhils (eg Film and Screen Studies) and other sections and faculties within the University, such as the Centre of 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 convenor, lasting 1.5 to two hours per week per module. Two essays are submitted at the end of the Lent term.

Examples of modules that may be offered can be seen on the Faculty webpages.

Easter Term: dissertation

During this term, students write a dissertation. The dissertation must represent a contribution to learning. The dissertation 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 dissertation titles must be submitted by a specific deadline in the Lent term. Up to this point, the course director is the titular supervisor of MPhil students, but once the dissertation topics are approved, a specialist supervisor is appointed for each student. 

One to one supervision

Approximately seven hours per year (one hour per essay and four hours for the dissertation).

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

Seminars & classes

Approximately 34 hours of seminars per year (16 hours for the core course mini-seminars and 18 hours for the Lent term seminars).


16 hours of lecture classes per year.


Feedback on the essays and dissertation is provided in the form of a written report on each exercise together with the mark awarded.


Thesis / Dissertation

Students will be asked to submit a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words. The examiners have the option to conduct an oral examination with the candidate.


Students will be asked to complete three 4,500-word essays. The core course essay is substitutable with a palaeography exercise for those taking the Early Modern and Medieval Pathway.

Key Information

9 months full-time

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. 1, 2020
Application deadline
June 2, 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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