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.
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.
English literary studies at UNSW is a dynamic hub of researchers and writers with established international reputations. The discipline was ranked in the world’s top 50 departments in English Language and Literature in the 2022 QS World University Rankings, 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.
Our undergraduate degrees cover a broad range of literary periods, locations, and styles. Working extensively in the ‘long modern’ period extending from the Renaissance to today, you can specialise in several established academic specialisations including Australian literature, creative writing, modern and postmodern literature, and the generic understanding of texts.
Through your study you'll come to understand the intersections between literature and social justice. Many of our courses tackle the worldly, political entanglements of the literary tradition.
We offer the below undergraduate courses with a minor only in English:
An honours degree is an extra year of study that combines aspects of undergraduate study with elements of postgraduate research and is available to students who have a grade average of 70% in a particular degree. Guided by professional staff, you’ll develop your research skills and strengthen your argumentation and written expression.
Postgraduate research candidates in English literary studies undertake original research that answers difficult and timely questions about national identity, place, culture, narrative and aesthetic achievement. We offer supervision in English in the Doctor of Philosophy and Masters by Research (MRes).
You'll benefit from interdisciplinary approaches to postgraduate study that links literary studies with film, music, the visual arts, cultural studies, theatre, history, politics, philosophy, creative writing and linguistics.
The school’s postgraduate 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.