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Director of Studies    Dr Michele Gemelos
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Undergraduate Study

BA English


Course Overview

St Edmund's has each year a small but vigorous group of people reading English as mature undergraduates or as affiliated students. Their ages usually range from early twenties to mid thirties, but people who are older than this are welcomed in the University, College and Faculty; they not only derive great benefit from reading English but often have made a considerable mark in the College and Faculty. Coming as they do from a wide variety of backgrounds, our students bring many varied skills to the College, and to their subject. The degree results of St Edmund's students in English have regularly been excellent, and have included more than the college's statistically fair share of Firsts.

The English tripos is divided into a two–year Part One, and a one–year Part Two programme. For most students, Part One involves a reading of literature originally written in English from Chaucer through to the present day. Part I also includes study of Shakespeare, plus work on practical criticism (detailed readings of previously unseen literary texts) and, for those with good existing skills, optional work on a foreign literature and language. Students also research and write a Part I dissertation, i.e. a long essay, on a subject of literary interest.

In the third year, students take Part II of the Tripos.  There are two compulsory elements: practical criticism, and a term’s work on tragedy (in its Greek and Shakespearean dramatic forms as well as in other media and cultural traditions). Beyond that, students pursue a combination of optional papers and write one or two substantial dissertations.

Though the course does not involve continuous assessment, the place of dissertations in Parts I and II ensures that English students undertake extensive and independent literary research.

There is further information about the course on the University and Faculty webpages.


Entry Requirements

Applications from mature students taking A levels or Access courses are welcome. There are no specific entry requirements for the course, although a facility with languages would be beneficial for students taking Part One of the Tripos.

At-Interview Assessment

All applicants for the English Tripos at St Edmund's will be required to take a 90 minute at interview admissions test.  Further information about this will be provided.  
Please note that your performance in the assessment at interview will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.