Studying English Literature allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of literary texts from around the world.
Below you will find information about the specific degree courses offered by Oxford University and Cambridge University to study English Literature, how to prepare, and how Oxbridge Interviews can help you with your English application.BOOK COURSE
Cambridge offers a degree course in pure English Literature and boasts many famous alumni including the poets Spenser, Tennyson and Byron.
English at Cambridge is highly competitive with only 25% of applications successful. To be offered a place, you generally need to get A*AA at A Level (or equivalent), and you must have studied English Literature.
Oxford's English Language and Literature course is hugely popular and its faculty is the largest English department in Britain.
23% of applications are successful and students need at least AAA at A-level (or equivalent) to secure their place. Students are expected to have studied English Literature A-level, or equivalent.
Oxford also offers several joint-honours courses with English, such as English and Modern Languages, History and English, and Classics and English.
To prepare for your English Literature application, you must demonstrate your motivation for the subject and specific interests. You can do this reading beyond your school curriculum. Our interviewers recommend:
- 'A Lover's Discourse' by Roland Barthes - this text raises interesting questions about the roles of form, emotion, and other people in literature.
- 'Literary Theory: A Short Introduction' by Jonathan Culler - this work of criticism provides readers with a basic knowledge of theoretical approaches to texts.
Practice interviews for English Literature applications are critical. You wouldn’t sit an exam without doing a mock, so don’t place yourself in an interview without having experienced a practice interview first.
Bertie (English, Oxford)
Bertie completed his undergraduate degree in English at Merton College, Oxford. He now works as a wedding photographer and film-maker whilst studying to become a lawyer.
Bertie, why do you enjoy interviewing with Oxbridge Interviews?
"I enjoy watching candidates realise their academic opinions are valuable."
What is your advice to students applying to English?
"Trust your instincts and speak your mind – you have lots to offer, don't be afraid to offer it liberally!"
Applicants to English Literature at Oxford and Cambridge are required to sit the English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT). Students applying to joint honours degrees may be required to sit additional tests depending on the course.Learn more about the ELAT