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English at Oxford

The University of Oxford offers an undergraduate course in English Language and Literature. The course focuses upon various aspects of language and literature. The course is well designed and modified to equip students with thorough understanding.

The English Faculty at Oxford is one of the largest English departments in Britain. Some of the Oxford colleges have minimum two fellows in English who are accountable for tutorial teaching in their own college and also deliver lectures to all students in the English Faculty. Therefore, students have an excellent opportunity to learn from a broad range of specialist teachers. The department has a well-equipped library. The library has an ample collection of books, journals, magazines and periodicals.

Oxford students have an easy access to the English Faulty library, the Bodleian Library and other faculty libraries and their own college libraries. The English Faculty has long pioneered the use of advanced resources such as electronic resources in teaching. Presently, the library has a broad range of facilities and resources. The English faculty has its own computer room and all colleges have computing facilities for students. Students are encouraged to use various facilities in order to gain the knowledge.

In the first two terms, students shall be introduced to the technical and conceptual tools used in the study of literature and a broad range of different critical approaches and assumptions. Students are given tutorial works on either Modern or Victorian literature and on either Middle English literature or English literature.

In the final term of the first year, students may select a special topic or a single author or Modern or Victorian literature, if they have not studied before. In the second and third years, students shall extend their study of English literary history in period papers, which range from Middle English to the Romantic age.

Students shall also study Shakespeare and the development and history of the English language and select two subjects from the range of 'special topics', 'special authors' and Modern or Victorian literature if they have not studied in the first year. Some of the papers are evaluated by three-hour written exams but the third-year special topic and author papers are generally evaluated by extended essays. This kind of submitted work may constitute approximately a third of their final assessment.

Students have an alternative syllabus in the second and third year of the course. This focuses upon the Middle and Old English language and literature and enables students to study associated subjects such as Old Norse and archaeology. It must be noted that every college may not be able to offer a wide range of alternatives within each optional paper in given year. If students are concerned about this, then they must check with individual colleges before making their application.

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