English at Cambridge
Over the centuries, many writers have studied in Cambridge: Spenser, Marlowe, Milton, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Tennyson, Forster, Plath, Hughes, Byatt and Zadie Smith. When established, the Cambridge course was considered daringly innovative and this ethos continues to shape teaching and research.
Today’s course balances a strong grounding in the core of English literature with the chance to explore literature from around the world, other art forms, the English language, and related intellectual traditions.
Teaching and resources
You are taught by some of the most eminent writers and thinkers who, between them, teach and research almost every aspect of literature. We have no set approach beyond instilling the valuable skills of critical thinking, scholarly rigour and good writing.
You have access to the vast resources of the University Library, and to the Faculty library, which houses around 80,000 books and provides computer facilities, skills training and welcoming features such as ‘tea at three’. Our modern Faculty building also includes a drama studio and garden.
Socially, many English students pursue interests in creative writing, journalism and the performing arts.
What we’re looking for
English students need an intellectual curiosity which drives them to try new things and ask probing questions. We look for reading beyond the syllabus, and for independent, well-informed critical thinking.
Our students develop the skills of critical thinking, close reading and effective communication. Many draw directly on their subject and pursue careers in arts management or information management, or go into academia or teaching.
Those same skills are valued by employers in many other professions too, such as the Law, the Civil Service, industry, accountancy and social work. And, unsurprisingly, many graduates go on to work in the media, theatre and film – such as Jeremy Paxman, Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry and Sam Mendes – or become poets, novelists and playwrights.