English literary studies

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Study at one of the world’s top 65 departments of English literature  

UNSW English literary studies was ranked in the world’s top 65 departments of English literature in the QS World University Rankings in 2023.

In this subject area, you’ll study with teachers and researchers who are deeply passionate about their work and believe that English is more than an academic discipline. We’ll encourage you to see it as an opening onto the world, an electric current binding people together, a passport to alternate realities and a stick of dynamite to blast through prejudice and narrow-mindedness.   

Learn from world-renowned researchers at the top of their fields  

Our teachers are world-renowned researchers at the top of their fields. We work in Australian literature, world literature in English, modernism, literary theory, Victorian literature, animal studies, gender and queer studies, race and literature, poetry and poetics, and a range of other areas.

In a culture filled by instant gratification and transient tweets, you’ll argue for the durable signs of literature: memorable stories, poetic patterns, ringing phrases, eloquent cadences and imaginative landscapes.  

Build a career with excellent communication skills 

Our graduates work all over the world in many fields, from careers in writing, academia, publishing, media and law, to acting and other creative industries. What binds us all is the experience of diving deeply into literary texts and finding an image of our true potential.

Whether you want to immerse yourself in literature, become a writer, or equip yourself for a flexible working life with communication skills that are highly valued across industries, English literary studies are for you.

In addition to the major and minor in English, we also offer a year of honours for those wishing to probe deeper and pursue a higher-degree research pathway to a PhD.