Master of Philosophy in Modern Languages

(See also the general notice at the commencement of these regulations.)

  • 1. Candidates must follow a Programme chosen from those listed in the ‘Handbook for Taught-Course Graduate Students’.

    In order to gain admission to the course, applicants must show evidence of linguistic ability compatible with advanced literary study in the language(s) chosen to study. Comparative Literature candidates shall not be required to have reading fluency in more than two languages other than English. Unless otherwise stated, candidates will be expected to write in English unless explicit permission is obtained to write in the language (or one of the languages) studied. In the case of Comparative Literature candidates, writing in more than one language in addition to English will not be authorised.

    All candidates must follow a course of instruction in Modern Languages at Oxford for a period of six terms. In exceptional circumstances, the Board of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages may permit an extension of time. Candidates shall, when entering their name for the examination, be required to produce from their society a certificate stating that they are following the course of instruction for the period prescribed.

  • 2. All candidates shall be required:

    • (a) To offer A, B, C, D, and E as defined in 3 below.

    • (b) To present themselves for viva voce examination at the time appointed by the examiners.

  • 3. The examination shall consist of the following:

  • [For students starting before MT 2017: (A) Either

    • (i) Literary Theory. All candidates must attend such lectures, seminars, and classes as the course convener shall determine. All candidates must present one seminar paper during their course, and submit a written essay based on some aspect of the work done for the seminar. This essay shall be written in English and must be of between 5,000 and 7,000 words in length, inclusive of a bibliography of works consulted. Candidates must submit three typed copies of the essay to the Head of Examinations and Assessments, Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, by noon on Thursday of tenth week of Hilary Term of their first year. Each copy must have a cover sheet giving the candidate’s name, college, the title of the essay, the name of the candidate’s supervisor, and the words ‘Literary Theory', submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the M.Phil. in Modern Languages’.

  • Or

    • (ii) History of Ideas in Germany from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries. All candidates must attend such lectures, seminars, and classes as the course convener shall determine. All candidates must present one seminar paper during their course, and submit a written essay based on some aspect of the work done for the seminar. This essay may be written in English or German and must be of between 5,000 and 7,000 words in length. Candidates must submit three typed copies of the essay to the Head of Examinations and Assessments, Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, by noon on Thursday of tenth week of Hilary Term of their first year. Each copy must have a cover sheet giving the candidate’s name, college, the title of the essay, the name of the candidate’s course convener, and the words ‘History of Ideas in Germany, submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the M.Phil. in Modern Languages’.

  • Or

    • (iii) Each candidate shall be required to offer either, (1) the History of the Book, or (2) Palaeography with Textual Criticism. Candidates will be examined on one or two essays on topics agreed by them with their course convener relating either to the history of the book (for (1)) or to palaeography with textual criticism (for (2)). The essay or essays should be between 5,000 and 7,000 words in total. Candidates must submit three typed copies to the Head of Examinations and Assessments, Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, by noon on Thursday of tenth week of Hilary Term of their first year. Each copy must have a cover sheet giving the candidate’s name, college, the title of the essay, the name of the candidate’s supervisor, and the words ‘History of the Book/Palaeography with Textual Criticism [either/or], submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Master of Philosophy in Modern Languages'. For (2), candidates will in addition be required to undertake a practical transcription test, made without reference to dictionaries or handbooks, on a short manuscript text selected by the course convener, who will also mark, sign, and date the candidate’s work. The test should take place by the end of the fourth week of the Trinity Term in which the examination is to be taken. The mark should be sent by the course convener to the Modern Languages Graduate Office.

  • Or

    • The work submitted under (i) must be written in English; the work submitted under (ii) may be written in English or German; the work submitted under (iii) may be written in English or, subject to the approval of the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty Board, in a language appropriate to the literature concerned.

      Approval must be sought for the choice of options in (A) by the end of the fourth week of Michaelmas Term in the first year.]

  • [For students starting from MT 2017: (A) One of the following options:

    • (i) Key Questions in Critical Thought

      (ii) Spaces of Comparison

      (iii) History of Ideas in Germany from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century

      (iv) Palaeography, History of the Book and Digital Humanities

  • Candidates are required to submit an essay on one of the options above of between 5,000 and 7,000 words in total.

    Candidates must submit three typed copies to the Head of Examinations and Assessments, Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, by noon on Thursday of tenth week of Hilary Term.

    Each copy must have a cover sheet giving the candidate's name, college, the title of the essay, the name of the candidate's supervisor, and the title of the ‘method’ option submitted.

    The work submitted under (i), (ii) or (iv) must be written in English; the work submitted under (iii) may be written in English or German.]

    (B) A thesis, which may be written in English or, with the approval of the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty Board, in the language appropriate to the literature concerned, of approximately 20,000 words and not more than 25,000 words, on a subject approved by the Board or by a person or persons to whom the Board may delegate this function. The subject of the thesis shall be related either to the fields of study represented by[For students starting before MT 2017: (A) (i), (ii) or (iii) above] [For students starting from MT 2017: (A) (i), (ii), (iii) or (iv) above ]or to one or more of the candidate’s Special Subjects (C). When seeking approval for the subject of the thesis, every candidate shall submit with the proposed title a written statement of not more than 500 words explaining the scope of the topic and the manner in which it is proposed to treat it. Candidates are required to register the subject area or title of their dissertation with the Modern Languages Graduate Office by the end of the fourth week of Hilary Term of their second year. The thesis must be presented in proper scholarly form. Three copies typed in double-spacing on one side only of quarto or A4 paper, each copy bound or held firmly in a stiff cover, must be delivered to the Head of Examinations and Assessments, Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford, by noon on Thursday of the sixth week of Trinity Term of the second year.

  • Successful candidates will be required to deposit one copy of their thesis in the Bodleian Library.

  • (C) Three Special Subjects.

  • (i) and (ii) Candidates must select two Special Subjects from those listed in the ‘Graduate Studies in Modern Languages’ handbook associated with the programme which they are following; candidates may select a special subject from a different programme with approval from their supervisor; (iii) the third Special Subject must be of the candidate’s own devising, worked out under supervisory guidance.

    Candidates will normally offer two Special Subjects from the same language and area, or from different areas in the same language. The Comparative Literature Programme will contain Special Subjects from two different languages, or one at least of the special subjects (C, D, and E) is comparative in scope

    Approval of Special Subjects (i) and (ii) must be sought, by application to the Modern Language Graduate Office, 41 Wellington Square, Oxford by the end of the fourth week of Michaelmas Term of the first year. Approval of Special Subject (iii) and proposed title of the Dissertation must be sought, by application to the Modern Language Graduate Office, 41 Wellington Square, Oxford by the end of the fourth week of Hilary Term of the second year.

    The Special Subjects must have the written support of the candidate’s supervisor and be approved by or on behalf of the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty Board. A proposal for a Special Subject of the candidate’s own devising shall be accompanied by a statement (of approximately 100 words) of the character and scope of the subject proposed.

    Candidates will be assessed on an essay, or two essays (which may be written in English, or, with the approval of the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty Board, in the language appropriate to the literature concerned), on the topics they have agreed with the supervisor of each Special Subject.

    The essay or essays submitted for each Special Subject should be between 5,000 and 7,000 words in total.

    Students are required to submit work for assessment on all four of the non- dissertation components (A, C, D, and E). Of these four, the component gaining the lowest passing mark will be discounted in the final assessment. A fail mark must always be included in the final assessment.

    [For students starting before MT 2017: The Special Subject essays shall be submitted to the Head of Examinations and Assessments, High Street, Oxford, by noon on Thursday of the first week of Hilary Term. However, candidates are strongly advised to complete their essays for the first two Special Subjects by the end of Hilary Term of their first year.] [For students starting from MT 2017: The Special Subject essays shall be submitted to the Head of Examinations and Assessments, High Street, Oxford.  The special subject for Michaelmas Term should be submitted by noon on Thursday of the week ten of Michaelmas Term of the candidate’s first year.  The special subject for Hilary Term should be submitted by noon on Thursday of the week ten of Hilary Term of the candidate’s first year.  The self devised special subject should be submitted by noon on Thursday of week four of Michaelmas Term of the candidate’s second year.  Each copy must have a cover sheet giving the candidate's name, college, the title of the essay, the name of the candidate's supervisor, and the title of the ‘method’ option submitted.]

  • 4. Candidates for Comparative Literature should ensure that either at least one of the special subjects (C, D, and E) is comparative in scope or the three special subjects are concerned with different languages. The dissertation must deal explicitly with comparative issues.

  • 5. If it is the opinion of the examiners that the work done by a candidate, while not of sufficient merit to qualify for the degree of M.Phil., is nevertheless of sufficient merit to qualify for the Degree of Master of Studies in Modern Languages, the candidate shall be given the option of re-sitting the M.Phil. examination under the appropriate regulation, or of being granted permission to supplicate for the Degree of Master of Studies.

  • 6. In the case of re-submission, candidates shall be required to submit all the material by noon on Thursday of the sixth week of the first Trinity Term following their first examination. Candidates may resubmit on one occasion only.

  • 7. The examiners may award a Distinction for excellence in the whole examination.