Why choose Girton?

Do you have a love of language? Are you an avid reader, with an ever expanding pile of books by your bedside? Do your eclectic tastes stretch across literary periods and styles? If so, Girton College is a wonderful place in which to follow your passion for English. English at Girton thrives academically, whilst fostering a friendly and informal atmosphere.

Undergraduate information

By Cambridge standards, Girton has a large English community, with around 30 undergraduates reading the subject at any one time.

In Cambridge, the Colleges have a high degree of autonomy in how English is taught. At Girton, most of our teaching is ‘in-house’; that is, your degree is mainly supervised by the College’s distinguished Fellows in English. This gives continuity and stability, and encourages creativity, not least through seminars, talks by expert speakers, and other extra curricular activities, such as the poetry society. The College Library caters well for English, and offers the opportunity to learn first-hand from a number of internationally-important archives held at College.

Girton is unusual within Cambridge in the emphasis it places on seminar teaching. Here, groups of between five and ten students are taught with a focus on group discussion and presentation. This provides the perfect environment for exchanging ideas and developing confidence.

Graduate information

Research and postgraduate students are admitted to the University by the Board of Graduate Studies. You must therefore apply centrally and not to the College, however you must be admitted to a College to be able to study at the University. To ensure that this is Girton you need to indicate this on your application form.

Career destinations

At the end of three years, Girton is a stepping stone to other opportunities. The College has a strong track record of English students moving on to PhD level study, and an impressive list of alumni who have established themselves in the literary field.

Undergraduate admissions at a glance

No. of students admitted per year


Entry requirements

All entry requirements are A-Level standard or equivalent, unless otherwise stated.

English Literature or English Language & Literature

Typical offer


Assessment arrangements

All Cambridge candidates are required to take a 90 minute written assessment prior to interview. Candidates will sit the assessment in their school or college and must register by 15 October 2020.

Further information about the written assessment can be found here.

Interview arrangements

Usually 2 interviews. Candidates are asked to submit two pieces of written work (one of which should be on Shakespeare or other pre-1700 literature if possible), which can be discussed at interview.


Tutorial and Admissions Office
+44 (0)1223 338972
+44 (0)1223 766673

Fellows & Teaching Staff

Dr James Riley

  • Director of Studies
  • Official Fellow
James Wade

Dr James Wade

  • Director of Studies
  • Official Fellow