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Oxbridge MSt in Medieval English - a few questions

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I'm considering applying to the MSt in medieval English at Oxford or Cambridge, and have two questions that I'm desperately hoping someone will be able to answer:

1) How narrowly focused should the statement of purpose be? Do I need to have a research topic to be seriously considered, or is it enough to indicate general research interests? (I.e., physiognomy in several romances, treatments of space and travel, treatments of geography in romance, etc.). I took eight English courses in my last two years of college, but did not focus in any particular period.

2) Will it matter that my writing sample is not at all theory-heavy? I tend toward close readings, focusing on language and structural themes (which now strikes me as almost childish), and I don't think that I used any secondary literature in my undergraduate thesis (it was an honors thesis written for a very reputable liberal arts college, and my thesis adviser is a very well respected medievalist who thought it was excellent). I doubt this would fly with a US school, but I've been told that Oxford is less theory-oriented. I'm not as sure about Cambridge.

I intend to go on to law school after this one final hurrah (knowing the employment prospects in academia), and I know the funding situation I'll be getting myself into, but going to Oxford or Cambridge (but particularly Oxford) has been a lifelong dream and I would deeply appreciate any input. Thank you very much!

Edited by mhallard
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I am not doing English and I am not sure about this particular programme at Oxford but, normally, a statement of purpose for an M.St. at Oxford should not be too narrow. You still need to indicate your research interests and a fit with the programme but you do not need to have one specific topi you want to work on.

Having said that, if you have one, it is great and you should mention it - it would not hurt (as long as there is someone in Oxford to supervise you).

I would suggest you contact an Admissions officer in the English department at Oxford and ask these two questions (I have no idea about the second question). You can also try contact the faculty.

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