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Postgraduate Admissions


The MPhil in European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures (ELAC) MPhil by thesis is a nine-month course that runs from October to June of any given academic year. It is classified as a research master's.  

The MPhil by thesis is for students who can already demonstrate an advanced level of familiarity with relevant research methods and topics within their field and readiness for advanced independent research.  Applicants will need to provide an outline proposal of a research project for their thesis. They will also need to have identified a prospective supervisor in advance. 

Students taking the MPhil by thesis will follow some elements of the MPhil by Advanced Study, but a formal assessment is by a 30,000-word thesis alone, submitted at the end of the course.  

MPhil by thesis students will normally attend the Core Course in Michaelmas Term (which is attended by students on the MPhil by Advanced Study). There is the option of attending MPhil by Advanced Study modules, subject to the approval of the Course Director and relevant module leaders. 

Applicants may find it useful to look at staff research interests within the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics (MMLL) to find out more about potential supervisors in their fields of interest.


-End of Michaelmas (fall) Term: Submission of a developed thesis proposal

-Beginning of Lent (winter) Term: Submission of first 5000 words (precise content to be agreed with supervisor)

-End of Lent (winter) Term: Short informal oral presentations and discussion

-Early June: Submission of the thesis.  Around two to three weeks later there is an oral examination (viva) on the thesis.

One to one supervision

Students following the MPhil by thesis will normally have discussed their proposed research in advance with a staff member specialising in the relevant subject area, and this person or an equivalent will be appointed as a supervisor throughout the year. For equity, there are norms for the amount of supervision each student can expect to receive. It is expected that a student will be capable of largely independent work.

The following supervision is provided:

•   Seven hours of supervision throughout the course

Supervision for the thesis can be taken in half-hour units, as appropriate and as agreed with the supervisor.

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

Seminars & classes

16 hours of core course mini-seminars in the Michaelmas term.

Up to 18 hours of module seminars in the Lent term (optional and subject to the approval of the Course Director and relevant module leaders).


16 hours of lecture classes in the Michaelmas term.


In Michaelmas, Lent and Easter terms reports are written by the supervisor and made available to the student online. Feedback on the thesis is provided after it has been examined in the form of written assessors' reports.


Thesis / Dissertation

The research presented in a 30,000-word thesis, including footnotes, but excluding appendices and bibliography, will be evaluated independently by two examiners. An oral examination (viva) will be held in all cases.

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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:

Michaelmas 2022

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
May 16, 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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