Study English literature part-time

Join us online or in Oxford

Immerse yourself in English literature and develop your skills in critical analysis.  

Our part-time courses in English literature are designed for adult students with busy lives. Teaching takes place in small groups and 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.

Short courses

Explore a new topic or revisit a favourite subject over the course of a few days, a few weeks or a term.

Short courses include live-time weekly classes, lecture series, day schools and flexible online courses.

Credit earned from some of these is transferable towards our Certificate of Higher Education - a part-time Oxford University undergraduate course in which you study a main subject discipline, but also undertake study in other academic subjects.

> Browse short courses in literature

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 study

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

Julie Whyman

Julie Whyman

Julie’s sixth form English teacher inspired her to join our Foundation Certificate in English Literature – and then continue to the MLA course.

Shamim Chowdhury

Shamim Chowdhury

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

Antony Mumford

Antony Mumford

Antony enrolled on our Foundation Certificate in English Literature as a stepping stone to studying for a degree.