Graduate Studies in English
M.St. in English Literature, 1550-1780
The Oxford MSt in English Literature 1550-1780 (M.St./M.Stud.) course is a one-year, taught postgraduate programme. It spans the period from the height of the English Reformation to the American War of Independence and covers intellectual movements from early humanism to the beginnings of Romanticism. The course is unique in its historical range. Even as it facilitates close specialisation (e.g. Shakespeare or Swift), the MSt encourages students to locate their work beyond institutionalised period boundaries such as 'the Renaissance' or 'the Long Eighteenth Century'. Drawing on Oxford's traditional strengths in historical scholarship, the course aims above all to foster intellectual independence whatever approach is taken.
Details of the 2009-10 course can be found in this document.
The Faculty offers two research degrees. For the D.Phil., candidates produce a thesis of up to 100,000 words. A shorter research degree, the M.Litt., resulting in a thesis of up to 50,000 words is another option. Your topic will be chosen in conjunction with your supervisor and there is ample opportunity ro explore your particular interests in depth. At the same time, Oxford offers exceptional opportunities for dialogue with a wide range of faculty members and fellow-students. There is a very large graduate community, with forty or more doctoral students in the early modern period. The traditional dual structure of central university institutions and diversified colleges is still part of Oxford's academic community. All students are members of a college, which will provide a close-knit community of graduates studying a whole range of subjects; and supervisors will likewise be actively engaged with their college colleagues. Our faculty members will typically teach across a far wider range of literary periods than the narrowly specialized teaching often found in today's academia, and may have strong interests in creative writing, the world of the theatre, and other areas outside the pigeonholes of professional specializations. At the same time, the university's huge range of seminars bring together students and faculty members and bring them in touch with the latest international scholarship. It is unusual to find a day of the week during term when there is not a seminar with early modern interests, whether in English itself or in history, classics, modern languages, theology, music, linguistics… Playreadings are also a regular feature of early modern graduate community. This environment encourages you to find your own space – literally and metaphorically; to keep your own bearings while keeping in touch with the latest scholarship; to build up links with a community that can help you to explore and broaden your own interests.
Many Oxford dissertations become the basis of books or are published much as they stand. Dissertations of high quality are referred to the Oxford University Press Monographs Committee.
For further application information see the relevant English Faculty web page.