The Oxford English Faculty is the largest and highest ranked within the UK and visiting students are encouraged to make full use of its teaching resources, including lectures and seminars open to all. Lady Margaret Hall as a college has a very strong English department with expertise across the full range of literary history. 

The College has five full-time English tutors: Professor Christine Gerrard is an expert in eighteenth century literature and Professor Sophie Ratcliffe researches literature and philosophy from the nineteenth century to the present day. Dr Ben Higgins is an expert in Shakespeare and Dr Brittany Schorn works in Old English, Old Norse and Middle English. Finally, Dr Oliver Clarkson is an expert on Wordsworth and the Romantic period more broadly. 

At any one time there are around 50 students at undergraduate and postgraduate level studying English at the college. LMH currently takes an average of 4 visiting students in English every year. Visiting students may be taught in tutorials with regular undergraduates or have individually arranged tutorials, depending on their choices.

How is the teaching organised?

Your term will be structured around taking a major course, which usually requires 8 tutorials per term (one per week) and a minor course, which will usually involve 4 tutorials per term (one on each alternative week). Therefore, an average 8-week term for a Visiting Student will involve 12 one-hour tutorials. You will usually be asked to write a short essay for each of these tutorials. Your work will be individually assessed and marked and feedback will be given on a week-by-week basis, generally via individual tutorials. Your final term grade will be awarded on the basis of both the quality of your written work and how well you have engaged in tutorial discussions with your tutor. Hence both written and verbal skills are developed and evaluated during the course.

What courses can I take?

Visiting students in English can take courses in practically any area or period of English, American or post-colonial literature they wish to pursue, from Anglo-Saxon to Zadie Smith! Many students choose as one or more of their major tutorials the individual period papers in English literature which our own second year undergraduates take. These give a very comprehensive grasp of the history of English literature in the making and coincide with Faculty lectures which will enhance your learning. These periods are: English literature from 1550-1660 (the ‘Renaissance’ or ‘early-modern’ period); 1660-1760 (the ‘Restoration’); 1760-1832 (the ‘Romantics’); 1832-1900 (‘Victorian’); 1900-present day; or finally, Shakespeare. We can also arrange special tutorials on subjects of your choice. If LMH doesn’t have a specialist tutor in that topic, we can find one from another college. Please consult the English Faculty website for details of the courses when selecting the tutorials for your application form.

Additionally, we have compiled a list of the more bespoke English tutorials that we have offered to visiting students in recent years; you are welcome to list some of these on your application form.

Advice on written work to be submitted

Please submit 2 pieces of written work (no longer than 1500 words each) with your application. It is important that at least one of these should be on a literary or literature-related topic.

Tutors and Lecturers

Prof Christine Gerrard (Fellow and Professor of English Literature)

Prof Sophie Ratcliffe (Fellow and Associate Professor in Nineteenth Century Literature)

Dr Ben Higgins (Career Development Fellow in English)

Dr Brittany Schorn (Tutor and Departmental Lecturer in Old Norse)

Dr Oliver Clarkson (Tutor and Departmental Lecturer in Romantic Literature)