The M.Litt. is a research degree, examined, usually after two or more years of research, by a dissertation of up to 60,000 words. The criteria for obtaining the degree are that the dissertation represent a 'substantial contribution to knowledge', but the criteria are adapted to take account of the fact that the course lasts only two years.
It should be noted that there is no formal taught element in this course of study. It does not provide a suitable foundation course from which to proceed to a higher research degree, for which the most appropriate course is an M.Phil. If you are looking for a course of this type you should return to the graduate admissions front page and find out about the Faculty's M.Phil. courses.
Candidates work closely with their supervisors, who will usually be assigned to them at the start of the course. It is possible to change supervisors with minimal formality, and it is often desirable to do so as the research project develops.
Although research students spend long hours working independently, they are also able to attend regular (usually fortnightly) seminars in their subject area. All graduate students are required to be members of a College, which offers a centre of social activity, as well as providing an opportunity to meet graduates who work in other fields.
All members of the University, including graduate students, are entitled to attend lectures in any Faculty.
In recent years the Faculty has admitted very few students for this degree. It is generally felt that many candidates would benefit more from a one-year, taught course such as an M.Phil., or from a full three year period of research for the Ph.D. In reaching decisions about applications the Degree Committee takes particular account of:
- The applicant's academic record and references
- Their suitability for the proposed course (including knowledge of foreign languages)
- The applicant's research proposal - in particular whether it represents a realistic area of study for completion within two years.
- Whether a suitable supervisor can be found for the proposed research
- The written work which a candidate submits in support of their application
Applications must be accompanied by a writing sample of 5,000 - 7,000 words. Applicants can submit any work they like, but it is worth choosing work which is recent, and which relates to the proposed subject of research, if material of this kind is available. It is probably more important, however, to submit what you consider to be your best work than something which is not your best, but is close to your field of research. Many applicants submit their undergraduate dissertation or similar extended piece of work.
If you have a particular subject of research in mind, you might wish to visit the list of Members of the Faculty to see who might be an appropriate supervisor for you. Members of the Faculty may be able to help with enquiries from potential graduate students in their own field.
The final deadline for applications for entry in 2013-2014 is 11 January, 2013.
All potential applicants should be aware that in order to be finally accepted for the course it is necessary to be accepted both by the Faculty and by a College. This can favour those who make early applications.
Enquiries which relate specifically to the English Faculty can be directed to:
The Director of Graduate Studies
University of Cambridge
9 West Road
Tel. 01223 335076
Contact us if you have any general enquiries about graduate admissions.