Study English literature part-time

Continue your studies with Oxford University

Our part-time, flexible courses in English literature are designed for adult students with busy lives, who come from a variety of backgrounds. Teaching takes place in small groups, and (depending on the course) during evenings, weekends, short residencies or online. Tutors and students get to know each other in an informal, supportive and friendly environment. Whether you're just returning to study, or are a committed lifelong learner – we have a course for you.

Immerse yourself in English literature and develop your skills in critical analysis:: short courses, online classes, summer schools, undergraduate awards and postgradute degrees.

Short courses

Online short courses

Our short online courses in literature and creative writing take place in a virtual learning environment so you can study whenever it suits you, from anywhere in the world. Class sizes are kept small to maximise interaction between you and your classmates and tutor in the online forums.

Virtual classes

During the coronovirus pandemic the Department moved our face-to-face teaching online as 'Weekly Oxford Worldwide' (WOW) - a series of mostly 10-week classes that combines recorded lectures with live weekly virtual class sessions. Have a look at our WOW classes in literature and creative writing.

Summer schools

Join us for a week or longer: live and study at Oxford's historic colleges or at Rewley House, experience dining in hall, and explore the world famous university city. Residential and non-residential options are available. See our literature and creative writing summer schools.

Undergraduate awards

Certificate of Higher Education

Credit earned from our short online courses is transferable towards our Certificate of Higher Education - a part-time undergraduate course in which you study a main subject discipline such as literature, but also undertake study in other academic subjects.

> Find out more about the Certificate of Higher Education.

Foundation Certificate in English Literature

Do you love reading a wide range of books, and discussing your reading with others? Would you like to study literature in more depth and develop solid skills in critical analysis? Our part-time Foundation Certificate in English Literature covers a range of writing from Shakespeare to the twentieth century and teaches skills in the analysis of literature, including the ability to read closely and to recognise and apply approaches in contemporary literary theory.

Taught part-time over two years, the course is equivalent to the first year of a full-time undergraduate English degree.

Two study options are available, so you can choose your preferred mode of study to fit around your work, home or family life.

> Find out more about the Foundation Certificate.

Postgraduate degrees

MSt in Literature and Arts

This two-year part-time Oxford University master’s degree explores the past through the lens of human creativity, and informs our understanding of creativity by studying the context from which it emerged. It is an interdisciplinary programme which encompasses literature, art and architectural history, history, and philosophy/history of ideas. 

> Find out more about the MSt in Literature and Arts.

DPhil in Literature and Arts

The part-time DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy, equivalent to a PhD) is normally studied over four to eight years. Students will often build on research and skills developed during the MSt in Literature and Arts, and prospective students are recommended to look at the MSt as a progression pathway to this DPhil. 

> Find out more about the DPhil in Literature and Arts.

Student spotlights

Margaret T. Campbell

The realisation that she'd never taken a course outside the study of law prompted Margaret to enrol on Jane Austen online.

Shamim Chowdhury

Shamim is a journalist who enrolled on our Foundation Certificate in English Literature because she craved a new challenge.

Simon Lamoon

Having previously completed master’s degrees in business and finance, Simon decided to take an intellectual break from financial services and enrol on the MSt in Literature and Arts.