About

Know your literary tradition, savour it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshipping greatness and fetishising masterpieces.” – Allegra Goodman

English Literary Studies at UNSW is a well-established and successful discipline, based on a strong research culture and a deep commitment to teaching and research supervision. The outstanding quality of our research has been recognised in the achievement of the highest ranking by the Excellence in Research for Australia process. Your lecturers and mentors are experts in Early Modern to contemporary writing, in Australian and World Literature, modernism, poetry, literary theory, gender and queer aesthetics. With such a huge range of electives, you won’t be bound by space or time. You’ll become an analytical thinker, a versatile writer, and a creative problem-solver, engaging with the world through the prism of great writing. While our primary focus is on writing in English – itself one of the richest literary traditions in the world – our teaching and research include traditions and texts in translation from diverse locations and cultures.

Studies in English begin with the question of the significance and place of literature in the contemporary world. In considering the question of what literature does in the world, students of English engage closely with works of literature from the popular to the arcane, from past and present cultures and from across the globe. Studying English provides students with the tools to make judgments of value and quality in relation to works of literature through developing expertise in textual and contextual analysis, the mechanics of writing and the shifting currents of aesthetic meaning. Encounters with extraordinary works of literature lie at the heart of your English major. They’ll challenge, inspire and stimulate your own process of informed and critical reading and writing.

In addition to the Major and Minor in English, students who satisfy the WAM requirements are encouraged to consider taking Honours in English. This further year of intensive and focused literary study provides a sound basis for professional practice in fields such as teaching, publishing and journalism, media, and other professions where strong communication and written English skills are required. English Honours is also the gateway to further study, including PhD research, which is supported by scholarships. English is one of the strongest fields of higher-degree research at UNSW, and our PhD graduates have been remarkably successful in achieving professional and postdoctoral placements both in Australia and internationally.

For more information about studying English at UNSW, please contact the English Convenor, A/Prof Brigitta Olubas b.olubas@unsw.edu.au