English Language and Literature

St Catherine’s has a large and enthusiastic English department. At any one time, St Catherine’s has around thirty undergraduates reading the subject as well as a number studying for the joint degrees of English & Modern Languages or History & English.

Catz English tutors and students have founded their very own Literary Society, named ‘Catz-22,’ where students can develop their love of literature beyond the tutorial and classroom.

Our teaching staff includes specialists in almost all of the periods covered by the Oxford course. Thanks to our range of specialist tutors it is possible for St Catherine’s to cover most of the course ‘in house’. Even so, our students are often able to work with experts based at other colleges; this is especially common in the third year, when students begin to focus on their particular areas of interest.

Our English tutors are able to provide classes as a supplement to tutorial teaching. Not all colleges are able to provide classes on period background and close reading; we believe our teaching in this area gives our students special opportunities.

St Catherine’s has one of the larger college libraries in the university, a convenient place to work as well as borrow books, open until midnight on weekdays during term.

St Catherine’s is the undergraduate college closest to the English Faculty building. It gives our students easy access to the main English library and gives them an advantage in making it on time to morning lectures.

The Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre is based at St Catherine’s. Recent holders have included Diana Rigg, Tim Rice, Patrick Stewart, Michael Frayn and Trevor Nunn. Thanks to its tradition of Cameron Mackintosh Professors and the expertise of its teaching staff, the College has exceptional links with contemporary theatre; many of our students take an active part in acting, writing and directing in Oxford and beyond.

Our students have enjoyed excellent results in their examinations: in the last few years graduates in English have included the winner of an All Souls Prize Fellowship and the candidate placed top in the university’s final exams. Catz English students have also gone on to outstanding jobs in academia, the media, law, and other fields: they include numerous university professors, well-known novelists, and journalists working in print and television. We are proud of their success.

Well-known alumni who studied English at St Catherine’s include award-winning poet, playwright and author Caroline Bird, actor Emilia Fox, film director James Marsh and novelist Jeanette Winterson.

Recent events have included a special conference for academic staff, graduate students and undergraduates on the topic “English and History” and a visit from Philip Pullman.

Course Duration

3 years

Places Available


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