The first year of the course provides a foundation in core tools, approaches and topics. In years two and three there is a diverse selection of optional papers that allow students to pursue their own specialist interests.
The approach to literary studies at Merton is based on the close reading of literary texts, informed by an understanding of historical, aesthetic, and intellectual contexts, but there is ample opportunity for theoretical diversity. Considerable emphasis is placed upon the intellectual background to literature, and tutorials are regularly supplemented by seminars in this area.
Most students take the English Language and Literature Course I but applicants with an interest in Course II (Medieval Literature and Language) are also very welcome.