What distinguishes the program of study in English at UNSW is a combination of a world-class research culture, a long-standing record of teaching excellence, and a serious admixture of Creative Writing into the curriculum.

Students enrolling in our program receive a thorough grounding in the current state of the discipline and opportunities to develop their creative potential; they go on to develop a high-level proficiency in argumentation and written expression, and a professional and collaborative outlook on life.

Our students regularly reap the benefits of academic exchange to develop their potential in universities overseas. Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in education, publishing, media and the arts, and our Higher Degree Research graduates have flourished in academia, and/or in research positions in other organisations in the public and private sectors, in media and in the law.

English at UNSW is focused on rigorous analysis and evaluation of a wide variety of texts from a diversity of cultural and historical locations. We understand “literature” to encompass more than novels, poems, and plays (though we certainly understand it to mean that too!), and challenge our students to think of textual form in broader senses: aesthetically (poetics, narratology); rhetorically; as genres that permeate cultural ecologies; and in relation to understandings of localised bodies, to theories of textuality, and to the historical evolution of forms.


The undergraduate curriculum in English Literary Studies covers a broad array of literary periods, locations, and styles. Working extensively in the ‘long modern’ period extending from the Renaissance to today, you can specialise in a number of established teaching strengths: Australian literature, creative writing, modern and postmodern literature, and the generic understanding of texts.

Degree Options
Sample Courses

Modernism: Text and Screen; Literature and the Environment; Jane Austen; American Literature: Past and Present; Postcolonial Literatures; and Advanced Creative Writing.

Download a full list of current English courses here (PDF) [138 Kb].

Honours Program

Honours is an extra year of study, usually following immediately on from a pass degree, that combines aspects of undergraduate study with those of post-graduate research. Studying Honours in the SAM at UNSW offers a chance to develop your research and professional skills guided by staff who are passionate about research and the development of new researchers.

Higher Degree Research

We offer supervision in English in the Doctor of Philosophy and Masters of Arts by Research.

Higher degree candidates in English Literary Studies undertake original research that answers difficult and timely questions about national identity, place, culture, narrative, and aesthetic achievement. Candidates can benefit from interdisciplinary approaches that link literary studies with film, music, the visual arts, cultural studies, theatre, history, politics, philosophy, creative writing, and linguistics.

Our higher degree research cohort is one of the largest and most vibrant at UNSW. Our dynamic and diverse graduate students research across a wide-range of topics, contribute to the School’s annual postgraduate conference, publish in reputable journals, conduct archival research internationally and regularly present at national and international conferences. Our English Literary Studies graduate students are the lifeblood of the Centre and of the School’s seminars and workshops. Opportunities for collaborative research and publication abound.