University of Oxford: English and American Studies

InstitutionUniversity of Oxford
Department English Language and Literature
Telephone 01865 270059
Study type Taught


**The information provided on this page was correct at the time of publication (November 2019). For complete and up-to-date information about this course, please visit the relevant University of Oxford course page via**

The English master's programmes are designed to serve both as an autonomous degree for students wishing to pursue more advanced studies in English literature, and as a solid foundation for doctoral research.

The MSt programme in English and American Studies consists of four main components, through which you will study the history and criticism of American literature alongside the history and criticism of Literature in English.

In the first two terms, you will take a core course (A) that offers a ‘state-of-the-field’ overview of American literary studies and a compulsory course in book history and theories of text focused on materials emerging from Colonial American and US contexts (B). You will also choose two courses from a range of options in American Literature, Literature in English, and World Literature (C). Under the guidance of a specialist supervisor you will also research and write a dissertation, usually one primarily on American materials, which is submitted in the final term.

The MSt programme is assessed via the submission of four pieces of coursework. In addition to the dissertation, you will submit three essays of 6,000 to 7,000 words – one at the end of the first term, and two at the end of the second term – relating to the B and C courses that have been taken.

All course work will be completed by the end of the second term (Hilary term), leaving the summer term (Trinity term) to complete the dissertation, which is submitted in June.

**A. Core course: Literature, contexts and approaches**
This is the core course for this MSt. It is formally non-assessed but compulsory. The classes on American literature, contexts and approaches introduce representative key texts and current debates on the literature and cultural history of Colonial America and the US. This course is designed to provide a solid foundation for advanced literary study in American literature and culture.

**B. Core course: Bibliography, theories of text, history of the book, manuscript studies**
This is a compulsory, assessed course, taught via a range of lectures and seminars in each of the first two terms. It is designed to train you for research in English, through the study of bibliography, palaeography, book history and theories of text in the Colonial American and US national contexts.

**C. Special options**
The special option courses present an excellent opportunity for you to develop and pursue your research interests, whether related or unrelated to other work undertaken as part of the MSt degree. You are not constrained to follow option courses in American literature and, indeed, option courses often traverse the boundaries of the broad periods and subject groups. The courses are taught in weekly, small group seminars.

**D. Dissertation**
You will write a 10,000- to 11,000-word dissertation on a subject of your choice, but related to the work you have been doing over the year in the English and American Studies strand of the MSt program. You will be assigned to a member of academic staff who will act as your supervisor.


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