Research Degrees in English Language and Literature

[Until MT 2015: General

Candidates for admission to D.Phil. and M.Litt. status, must have been interviewed by one of the persons appointed by the Board for this purpose, unless the Board determines otherwise.

  • 1.Transfer to M.Litt. and D.Phil. status

    • (i) All research candidates are initially registered as Probationer Research Students and will be required to submit an application to transfer to M.Litt. or D.Phil. status no later than Friday of noughth week in the Trinity Term of their first year as a Probationer Research Student. In exceptional cases the English Graduate Studies Committee may permit the candidate to postpone submission; candidates seeking such postponement must apply to the Director of Graduate Studies well in advance, and no later than Monday of fifth week of Hilary Term.

    • (ii) Candidates must write to the English Graduate Studies Office by Friday of the eighth week of Hilary Term of their first year as a Probationer Research Student, giving notice of their intention to apply for transfer to D.Phil. status, and providing the title of their proposed thesis.

    • (iii) Candidates must submit the following materials: (1) The transfer of status application form, endorsed by the candidate’s society and supervisor. (2) Two copies of a detailed outline (not exceeding 1,000 words) of the proposed subject and the manner in which it will be treated, including a provisional list of chapters and their proposed coverage. (3) Two copies of a piece of written work on the topic of their proposed thesis (of about 10,000 words).

    • (iv) A confidential report from the supervisor should be sent by the supervisor directly to the English Graduate Studies Office. The Graduate Studies Office shall send the outline, written work and the confidential report to two assessors appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies shall not appoint the candidate’s supervisor as an assessor.

    • (v) The assessors shall then examine the candidate orally and report to the English Graduate Studies Committee in writing whether the candidate’s subject is satisfactory for the degree in question and whether he or she is competent to undertake it. If they think this is not the case, they may recommend resubmission after a set period of probation; such resubmission will constitute the second attempt at Transfer of Status provided for in the General Regulations for the degree. If the assessors disagree, the Graduate Studies Committee shall decide what should be done.

  • 2.Confirmation of D.Phil. status

    • (i) Application for confirmation of D.Phil. status, with endorsements by the candidate’s society and supervisor, shall normally be presented to the English Studies Office not later than Monday of fifth week in the eighth term after admission to the D.Phil. programme. In exceptional cases the English Graduate Studies Committee may permit the candidate to postpone submission by up to one term: candidates seeking such postponement should apply to the Committee through the Director of Graduate Studies well in advance.

    • (ii) Application for confirmation of D.Phil. status shall be accompanied by: (1) two copies of a full outline of chapters (c.100 words per chapters), summarising the scope of individual chapters and their state of completion, including a timetable for completion of the work which remains to be done before submission of the thesis; (2) two copies of a draft abstract of the thesis as a whole, of approximately 1,000 words; (3) two copies of a sample chapter, of 10,000 words; (4) a confidential report from the supervisor which should be sent direct to the Graduate Studies Office. The English Graduate Studies Office will send the written work and the confidential report as well as any previous reports on transfer to the interviewer appointed by the English Graduate Studies Committee on behalf of the English Faculty Board.

    • (iii) The interviewers shall examine the candidate orally. If the interviewer considers it necessary, a second assessor may be appointed in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.

    • (iv) The interviewer(s) shall report to the English Graduate Studies Committee in writing whether the candidate’s subject is satisfactory and whether he or she is competent to tackle it. If confirmation is not recommended the interviewers may (1) recommend reapplication after a further period of study or (2) recommend transfer to M.Litt. status.

    • (v) Any candidate whose first application for confirmation is refused may reapply on one (only) further occasion, normally within one term of the original application. The candidate may be granted an extension of time for one term if this is necessary for the purposes of making the application. The material required will be the same as (ii) above.

  • 3.Theses

    Theses submitted to the Board of the Faculty of English Language and Literature for the Degree of M.Litt. should normally be around 40,000 words in length and should in no case exceed 50,000 words, exclusive of the bibliography and of any text that is being edited but including notes, glossary, appendices, etc. Theses submitted for the Degree of D.Phil. should normally be around 80,000 words in length and should in no case exceed 100,000 words, exclusive of the bibliography and of any text being edited, but including notes, glossary, appendices, etc. Leave to exceed these limits will be given only in exceptional cases (e.g. when the subject of the thesis requires extensive quotation from unpublished or inaccessible material, or where substantial and supplementary bibliographical or biographical listings are essential or helpful for an understanding of the arguments of the thesis) and on the recommendation of the supervisor. Applications to exceed the limit of 50,000 words for the M.Litt. or 100,000 words for the D.Phil. must be made in writing to the English Graduate Studies Committee in advance of the application for appointment of examiners. Each application should include a detailed explanation, a statement of the excess length requested, and a covering letter from the supervisor.]

  • [From MT 2015: 1. Admission as a Probationer Research Student

    Candidates must apply for admission as Probationer Research Student on a full-time basis.

    2. Transfer to M.Litt. and D.Phil. status

    • (i) Probationer Research Students will be required to submit an application to transfer to M.Litt or D.Phil status no later than Friday of noughth week in the third term of their study as a Probationer Research Student (normally Trinity term). In exceptional cases the English Graduate Studies Committee may permit the candidate to postpone submission; candidates seeking such postponement must apply to the Director of Graduate Studies well in advance, and no later than Monday of fifth week of Hilary Term.

      (ii) Candidates must write to the English Graduate Studies Office by Friday of the eighth week of Hilary Term of their first year as a Probationer Research Student, giving notice of their intention to apply for transfer to D.Phil status, and providing the title of their proposed thesis.

      (iii) Candidates must submit the documents detailed in the Divisional regulations, above. The report from the supervisor should be sent by the supervisor directly to the English Graduate Studies Office.

  • 3. Confirmation of D.Phil. status

    • (i) Application for confirmation of D.Phil. status, with endorsements by the candidate’s society and supervisor, shall normally be presented to the English Studies Office not later than Monday of fifth week in the eighth term after admission to the D. Phil. programme. In exceptional cases the English Graduate Studies Committee may permit the candidate to postpone submission by up to one term: candidates seeking such postponement should apply to the Committee through the Director of Graduate Studies well in advance.

      (ii) Application for confirmation of D.Phil. status shall be accompanied by: (1) a full outline of chapters (c.100 words per chapters), summarising the scope of individual chapters and their state of completion, including a timetable for completion of the work which remains to be done before submission of the thesis; (2) a draft abstract of the thesis as a whole, of approximately 1,000 words; (3) a sample chapter, of 10,000 words; (4) a confidential report from the supervisor which should be sent direct to the Graduate Studies Office. The English Graduate Studies Office will send the written work and the confidential report as well as any previous reports on transfer to the interviewer appointed by the English Graduate Studies Committee on behalf of the English Faculty Board.

  • 4. Theses

    Theses submitted to the Board of the Faculty of English Language and Literature for the Degree of M.Litt. should normally be around 40,000 words in length and should in no case exceed 50,000 words, exclusive of the bibliography and of any text that is being edited but including notes, glossary, appendices, etc. Theses submitted for the Degree of D.Phil. should normally be around 80,000 words in length and should in no case exceed 100,000 words, exclusive of the bibliography and of any text being edited, but including notes, glossary, appendices, etc. Leave to exceed these limits will be given only in exceptional cases (e.g. when the subject of the thesis requires extensive quotation from unpublished or inaccessible material, or where substantial and supplementary bibliographical or biographical listings are essential or helpful for an understanding of the arguments of the thesis) and on the recommendation of the supervisor. Applications to exceed the limit of 50,000 words for the M.Litt. or 100,000 words for the D.Phil. must be made in writing to the English Graduate Studies Committee in advance of the application for appointment of examiners. Each application should include a detailed explanation, a statement of the excess length requested, and a covering letter from the supervisor.]