• What will I learn?
  • Who will I be taught by?
  • Who is this course for?
  • What can I do after?
  • English literature is a rich tapestry of historical and contemporary works. In this course, you’ll have the opportunity to explore English literature in more detail - looking at questions such as ‘What is literature?’, as well as looking at classic works in their historical, as well as contemporary literary contexts. If you love reading, and want to understand how we can approach works of literature at a higher level, then the English literature course is for you.

    In past years courses have focused on a wide range of topics: from Victorian novels, to Shakespeare and all the way back to Old English with the works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Whether you’re studying more contemporary or historical works, you are sure to expand your horizons.

  • All our tutors are current Oxford and/or Cambridge PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. You will have the opportunity to learn about their look at original research and our tutors will take you beyond your school curriculum to investigate their subject at  a higher level - this is great preparation for university/college study! You may even have the opportunity to learn about your tutor’s original, unpublished research.

    Nancy, one of our tutors in 2017, completed an undergraduate degree in English and Biology before completing two Master’s degrees in English and Women’s Studies before commencing her PhD in English Literature at the University of Oxford, where she holds a Rothermere Fellowship. Her current research focuses on the literature of the First World War.

    Hannah, one of our tutors in 2016, completed an undergraduate degree in English literature at the University of Cambridge, before proceeding to complete a Master’s in Medieval Literature at the University of Oxford, where she is currently completing her PhD.

  • This course is ideal for students interested in studying English Literature or any humanities-related subject at university. It would also be interesting to anyone who enjoys reading or creative writing.

    Students often enjoy combining this course with our seminar in Film studies to gain an insight into visual, as well as literary, culture.

    You may also be interested in our History course

  • Our students go on to study a wide range of subjects at undergraduate level, including English, History, Law and other humanities courses at universities across the UK, as well as those abroad, including in the US.

  • What are the requirements for applying to this course?

    As an academic summer school, we invite all students to complete a short application form and short interview with one of our staff before booking. We recommend students enjoy reading fiction in English, but any specialised reading will be provided.

    English Language requirements: all students need to be able to engage with the course material, which normally means a level of English equivalent to an IELTS score of 5.5 and above, or B2 in the Common European Framework. Don't worry if you don't have a formal qualification - when you chat to one of the team they'll be able to assess your level and answer any questions you may have.

    Not sure about which course is the best for you? Our friendly team is here to help – contact us and we will help you choose the subject that is best suited to your needs.

Studying English at OISS


 0800   Wake up and go down to breakfast with my friends from my staircase. Have some toast and cereal to start the day, and grab a piece of fruit for a snack later.
 0915   Go to my small group tutorial with our tutor Hannah. Hannah studied at Cambridge as an undergraduate and is now studying for a PhD in Medieval Literature at Oxford. She’s been taking us through some of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It has been really challenging getting to grips with the style of writing, but I’ve loved exploring the social context, especially the role of women. We discuss lots of issues to do with the Wife of Bath and I’m excited about including them in my essay later.
 1100   We have some free time before lunch so me and my friends drop by our rooms to put our books away before we head to a nearby sandwich shop to grab lunch - a smoked salmon and avocado baguette - delicious! We then head to the University Parks to relax in the sun and chat about our trip to Cambridge tomorrow.
 1300   I’m back in the accommodation now for my Independent Research Time. I pick up my notes from the tutorial and start planning my essay on Chaucer that’s due on Friday. Since we’ll be in Cambridge all day tomorrow I want to get most of it done today.
 1500   I meet up with the ACs and other students for a Drama Workshop. I do some drama at school and it’s been really fun getting to do more with students from around the world.
 1800   I head back to the accommodation for a yummy fish and chips dinner and catch up with everyone about what they’ve been up to. We also hear from two of the ACs, Ella and Alex about the Cambridge trip tomorrow and what we’ll be getting up to - really exciting!
 1900   Time for my seminar on Film Studies Everyone at the Summer School gets to pick a seminar series to take part in and since I love watching a wide range of films I thought this would be perfect. It’s a great opportunity to learn about how to analyse films and I can’t wait to apply it when I watch the film versions of the books we are studying at school.
 2100   After popping back to my room to change into my gym kit, I meet a bunch of my friends for a yoga class. It’s really fun and a great way to end the day.
 2200   I jump in the shower to rinse off before hanging out with my friends before bed.
 2300   Everyone’s gone and I finally get to bed - ready for another packed day tomorrow!