MSt in Modern Languages

This course is suitable for those interested in a single literature or in comparative literature, since it can be done in either one or two literatures. English can only be offered in connection with another literature.

The MSt is suitable if you are unsure whether you want to do a research degree, as it provides a self-contained qualification that can lead on to further study but is also valuable in its own right. It allows you to:

  • build on your undergraduate studies
  • learn about literary theory or methods of scholarship
  • write a dissertation on a topic that interests you

The MSt is suitable for candidates who are applying for a one-year grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and expect later to apply for a three-year grant for the DPhil.

Supervision

You will be assigned a supervisor (or two supervisors in the case of two literatures), who will be a specialist(s) in your chosen field(s) of study. Your supervisor(s) will normally teach you for part of the course, advise you on your dissertation, and also advise you on lectures and seminars that are relevant to your work.

The Faculty offers a wide range of lecture courses open to undergraduates and graduates, and a number of research seminars which enable graduates to present their own work and discuss that of others.

Course Structure

Michaelmas Term Hilary Term Trinity Term
Special Subject 1 Special Subject 2 Dissertation
(10-12,000 words)
Theory Option

Course Content

MSt Programmes of Special Subjects

Special Subjects are grouped into language specific and comparative programmes or wider area of study. if numbers permit, seminars will be conducted on each programme. The subjects correspond to areas of particular teaching and research strength in Oxford, but the list is by no means exhaustive and is subject to amendment. Staff research interests may also help you to develop further ideas for Special Subjects.

You will meet your supervisor(s) four or more times during the two terms and will write a number of essays which your supervisor(s) will read, mark, and discuss with you.

Language specific Comparative
French European Enlightenment
German Cultural Studies
Italian Comparative Literature
Spanish Medieval Literature
Portuguese  
Russian  
Byzantine & Modern Greek  

Methods of Criticism or Scholarship seminars

This option provides all students with training in the theoretical and methodological issues relevant to their studies. The lectures and seminars will run over two terms, Michaelmas and Hilary.

Key Questions in Critical Thought

  • Reading List 2018-19.       Lecture Series 2018-19. 
  • taught by a series of lectures in the first two terms of the academic year and by a seminar in the second term
  • covers a range of topics including feminism and gender, post-colonialism and globalisation, affect theory, eco-criticism and the new materialism, ethical criticism, and the debate about humanities and education
  • the seminar provides a forum for detailed discussion of some of the issues that have been raised in the lectures and that students want to explore further
  • every student is expected to make a short presentation (no more than fifteen minutes) to the seminar, and at the end of the second term each student submits an essay of 5,000 to 7,000 words for examination

Spaces of Comparison

  • Course Outline Document 2018-19 (this will be published here shortly
  • intended for graduates working on comparative literature and taught by a seminar in the second term
  • brings teaching staff and graduates with expertise in different literatures together, providing an opportunity to engage in debate on theoretical and methodological questions central to comparative work
  • topics addressed are: National literatures – World literature?; The Ancients and the Moderns – the Role of the Canon; Translation, Adaptation, Version; Place and Displacement
  • every student is expected to make a short presentation (no more than fifteen minutes) to the seminar
  • at the end of the second term students submit an essay of 5,000 to 7,000 words on a comparative topic or a topic relating to the issues covered in the Theory of Literature lectures and seminars
  •  

History of Ideas in Germany from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries

  • Course Outline Document 2018-19
  • taught in an introductory series of lectures in the first term and by a series of seminars in the first and second term
  • intended primarily for graduates in German, but others make take part, using translations if necessary
  • the course deals with writers such as Kant, Schiller, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Heidegger, Benjamin, Wittgenstein, Arendt and Adorno
  • every student is expected to make a short presentation (no more than fifteen minutes) to the seminar
  • at the end of the second term students submit an essay of 5,000 to 7,000 words on a topic relating to the issues covered in the course

Palaeography, History of the Book and Digital Humanities

  • Course Outline Document 2018-19
  • the workshops and seminars for Palaeography, History of the Book and Digital Humanities are held in the first and second term
  • the course provides training in dealing with manuscripts and books across different historical periods and European language. The aim is to combine philological training with project work
  • the course is taught in cooperation with local libraries and printers to make use of the unparalleled richness of Oxford resources, especially the Taylorian Institute and the Centre for the Study of the Book
  • at the end of the second term students submit an essay of 5,000 to 7,000 words on a topic relating to the issues covered in the course

Dissertation

All candidates prepare a dissertation of 10,000 to 12,000 words which must be submitted in the sixth week of the third term of study. The subject will normally be related to one or more of your Special Subjects, or to your theoretical or methodological option. It allows you to use and extend the reading you have done for your Special Subjects, to apply the theoretical reflections or methodological approaches acquired in your first two terms, and to undertake a piece of research that may lead on to doctoral work.

Assessment

Language work for the MSt in Modern Languages is normally written in English, but may be submitted in one appropriate language other than English, provided you seek permission from the Director of Graduate Studies via the Graduate Office. The only restrictions are that:

  • the essay submitted for the seminars on Key Questions in Critical Thought must be in English
  • the essay submitted for the seminars on History of Ideas in Germany from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries may be written in English or German
  • at least one of the pieces of written work you submit must be in English

Special Subjects

You will select what you and your supervisor(s) think are the best essay or essays and submit it or them as a portfolio for examination. Special Subject submissions may comprise one or two essays to a total maximum word length of between 5,000 — 7,000 words.

The portfolio will be jointly marked by an examiner and your special subject tutor. Should there be any substantial disagreement between the two markers, an External Examiner will adjudicate. The assessor(s) will take account of the fact that the essays were written in the first two terms of your course.

Methods of Criticism or Scholarship seminars

Key Questions in Critical Thought — submission of an essay of 5,000 to 7,000 words for examination at the end of the second term.

Spaces of Comparison — submission of an essay of 5,000 to 7,000 words for examination at the end of the second term  on a comparative topic or a topic relating to the issues covered in the Theory of Literature lectures and seminars.

History of Ideas in Germany from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries — submission of an essay of 5,000 to 7,000 words for examination at the end of the second term, which may be written in English or German.

Palaeography and Textual Criticism — submission of an essay of 5,000 to 7,000 words and a one-hour transcription test, which is arranged by the supervisor.

History of the Book — submission of an essay of 5,000 to 7,000 words.

Dissertation

Submission of a dissertation of 10,000 — 12,000 words in the sixth week of the third term of study.

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