English literary studies

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Open your heart and mind to the world around you

Literature is the richest record we have of what it means to be human—of our hopes, our fears, our passions, our struggles, our commitments. Studying English literary studies at UNSW, you will learn how literature from across the globe and across the centuries tells us who we are and shapes who we become.

Our teachers bring world-class expertise and infectious enthusiasm to the study of powerful and diverse literary texts. You will learn to appreciate literature’s cultural significance and formal sophistication, and to understand literature in its social and historical contexts. You will have an opportunity to think about the role of literature in your life and the lives of others, and the way in which literary writing is involved in solving problems and engaging with the world.

You will develop skills in textual analysis and in crafting compelling arguments—skills which are essential to navigating the modern world. Our offerings are also closely linked to courses in Creative Writing, giving you the opportunity to combine new analytical skills with creative experimentation.

Make a difference and expand your opportunities

In an increasingly uncertain world, innovative thinking and persuasive communication are vital. Students of English literary studies at UNSW acquire the skills to be the energetic leaders of the future, thinking critically and creatively about the world around them. Our students are uniquely placed to respond to the shifting demands of changing workplaces.

Graduates of UNSW English literary studies work all over the world in many fields, from publishing and arts administration, through education, the media, and the law, to careers as writers, actors, and practitioners in other creative industries.

Learn from world-renowned researchers

English literary studies at UNSW is a dynamic hub of researchers and writers with established international reputations. UNSW English literary studies was ranked in the world’s top 70 departments of English literature and 5th in Australia in the QS World University Rankings by Subject in 2024, and it has been home to multiple major ARC-funded research projects.

We are also home to Southerly, Australia’s oldest and most prestigious literary journal, and to Juvenilia Press, for which students themselves collaborate with teachers in producing edited editions of writers’ early works. In addition to research, scholarly editing is a significant strength in English literary studies at UNSW, and both these strengths feed our excellence in teaching.