Course structure by year
If you study English at Oxford the broad outlines of the course are the same whichever college you apply to, and you have access to scores of weekly lectures and seminars at the English Faculty building in addition to college tutorlal and seminar teaching.
In your first year reading English at Oxford you will study four papers (Oxford-speak for ‘modules’). One is an introduction to literary and language study at degree level, and aims to equip you with new conceptual skills to tackle a range of reading. The others cover specific literary periods: Early Medieval literature, Victorian Literature, and Modern Literature. At the end of the year you have written exams in these three papers: the introductory paper is examined via a submitted portfolio of essays. These exams do not count towards your final degree result but you must pass them in order to proceed to the second year.
Years 2 and 3
There are five compulsory papers over the second and third years, plus a special option and a dissertation. The compulsory papers are Shakespeare, Literature 1350-1550, Literature 1550-1660, Literature 1660-1760 and Literature 1760-1830. Different topics are offered for the special option, covering a range of historical periods and genres as well as language subjects. You can write your dissertation on any topic within the scope of literature and language in English.