ENG4301 – Literary Theory in English

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The purpose of this course is to increase your knowledge of the history and current status of dominant theories related to literary and cultural studies. The course emphasizes major contemporary trends, such as feminist and queer theory, postcolonial studies, critical race studies, psychoanalytic and Marxist theory, as well as the historical progression from new criticism to structuralism, deconstruction, new historicism, and various forms of poststructuralist literary and cultural studies.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you:

  • know key theoretical approaches and methodologies within critical studies of literature in English;
  • know how literary and cultural studies have developed historically, particularly since the turn of the twentieth century;
  • understand how literary and cultural theory relates to reading texts of various kinds, preparing you for papers you will write for other courses as well as your MA thesis;
  • are familiar with some of the central questions and debates that are essential to literary and cultural studies today.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Overlapping courses

5 credits overlap with ENG4310 – Literary Theory in English (continued)


Lectures, 1 hour for 10 weeks, and seminars, 2 hours per week for 9 weeks. 28 hours in all.

  • Due to potential restrictions related to COVID-19, this course will be available digitally. Participation in seminars might also be available in person, simultaneous with a digital (hybrid) option. Attendance is not required, but strongly recommended, including live (not recorded) lectures.

Obligatory activities:

  • Qualifying essay (5 pgs.). Requirements and details to be distributed during the course.
  • Canvas posts and online activities for each seminar, completed within a given deadline (minimum 7 of 9). Requirements and details to be distributed during the course.

Read more about rules concerning valid excuses and how to apply for approved absence or postponements here.

Both obligatory activities must be approved in the same semester for you to sit the exam. Fulfilled course requirements are only valid for the current semester.


The form of assessment is a three-day take-home exam.

Previously given exam assignments and assessment guidelines (The form of assessment has changed)

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Reports from periodic evaluations (in Norwegian)

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language