English

The Department of English is part of the School of Letters, Art and Media.

About the major

An English major will introduce you to a wide range of literary and cultural works including poems, plays, novels and films that extend from medieval times to the present day. You will encounter the richness, breadth and depth of the department’s research and teaching culture, allowing you to customise your study according to your interests.

Areas of specialisation include Old and Middle English (800-1500, approx.); Early Modern (1500-1750); Eighteenth Century and Romantic (1750-1837); Victorian (1837- 1901); 20th and 21st Century; Australian, Caribbean, American, or British literatures; literary theory; history of the book; cultural, gender, postcolonial, transnational and American studies; film, multimedia, linguistics and language studies. Whatever your pathway, you will explore questions about genre, period and place across a wide spectrum of works in English. You will learn to analyse and explain the formal and linguistic features of texts, aspects of their genre and history, and their dynamic role in local and global cultures. You will formulate and pursue meaningful theories of critical analysis, reading communities and literary value.

We offer a broad and dynamic discipline that prepares students for careers in teaching, the media, public and community service, and academia, and in any vocation or area that demands intellectual flexibility and versatility, critical thinking and the ability to communicate. The cultural knowledge and critical skills provided by an English major are not only marketable for this variety of vocations but will enrich you, and carry you through your life.

Pathways through the major

A major in English requires at least 36 senior credit points, including at least 24 credit points from core units of study of which at least 6 must be at 3000 level.

The units of study for the major can be found in the unit of study table for English.

Junior units of study (1000 level)

Junior units introduce students to foundational knowledge and to current debates in the discipline, allowing you to develop key skills through the study of a wide range of literary and cultural texts.

If you intend on majoring in English you should complete 12 junior credit points from English in your first year.

If you have a particular interest in American Literature you may also choose to complete 6 junior credit points of English along with AMST1001 Global America.

Senior units of study (2000 and 3000 level)

You complete at least 18 credit points taken from 2000 level units of study before enrolling in 3000 level units. 2000 level units of study are designed to offer a detailed overview of an area, genre or disciplinary problem, giving you an opportunity to survey and consolidate your knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.

You must complete a minimum of 6 credit points taken from English or Australian Literature 3000 level units of study to complete your major. At 3000 Level, you will develop deeper knowledge in your chosen pathway.

Sample student pathway through the English major
Sample Pathway - English major
First Year S1 Junior (1000 level) ENGL unit Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
S2 Junior (1000 level) ENGL unit Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
Second Year S1 Senior-intermediate (2000 level) ENGL or ASLT unit Senior-intermediate (2000 level) ENGL or ASLT unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2 Senior-intermediate (2000 level) ENGL or ASLT unit Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
Third Year S1 Senior-advanced (3000 level) ENGL or ASLT unit Senior (2000 or 3000 level) unit listed under English in Table A Senior unit Senior unit
S2 Senior (2000 or 3000 level) unit listed under English in Table A Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit

The graduated nature of the units of study from Junior to Senior ensures that you always have the necessary background to meet the challenges of the subject as you proceed to higher and more demanding levels. As you do so, we encourage you to construct pathways through the major according to your own developing interests in the subject. This may take any number of forms – here are a few examples:

An English major with a focus on the novel:

  • ENGL1008 Australian Texts: International Contexts
  • ENGL1026 Constructing the Fictive Self
  • ENGL2611 Jane Austen, Then and Now
  • ENGL2613 Literature, Politics and Modernity
  • ENGL2654 Novel Worlds
  • ENGL2660 Reading the Nation
  • ENGL2665 The Victorian Novel
  • ENGL3657 The Brontes

An English major with a focus on film:

  • ENGL1026 Constructing the Fictive Self
  • ENGL1011 Introduction to Film Studies
  • ALST2616 Australian Stage and Screen
  • ASLT2619 Australian Gothic
  • ENGL2638 Literature and Cinema
  • ENGL2627 Screening Sexuality
  • ENGL2617 Postmodernism
  • ENGL3604 Cinematic Modernism

An English major with a focus on drama:

  • ENGL1026 Constructing the Fictive Self
  • ENGL1011 Introduction to Film Studies
  • ASLT2616 Australian Stage and Screen
  • ENGL2607 Drama: Classical to Renaissance
  • ENGL2640 Shakespeare
  • ENGL3651 Christopher Marlowe
  • two more units of study to complete the major

An English major with a focus on poetry:

  • ENGL1008 Australian Texts: International Contexts
  • ENGL1026 Constructing the Fictive Self
  • ENGL2650 Reading Poetry
  • ENGL2658 Love and Desire in Early Modern England
  • ENGL3620 The Metaphysical Poets and Milton
  • ENGL3643 The Canterbury Tales
  • two more units of study to complete the major

An English major with a focus on literature in historical context:

  • ENGL1008 Australian Texts: International Contexts
  • ENGL1002 Narratives of Romance and Adventure
  • ENGL2658 Love and Desire in Early Modern England
  • ENGL2660 Reading the Nation: American Literature
  • ENGL2665 The Victorian Novel
  • ENGL3603 Contemporary British Literature
  • ASLT3606 Literature, Nation, Location
  • ENGL3623 The 18th Century: Scandal & Sociability

An English major with a focus on American Literature:

  • AMST1001 Global Americas
  • ENGL1011 Introduction to Film Studies
  • ENGL2603 Imagining America
  • ENGL2617 Postmodernism
  • ENGL2660 Reading the Nation: American Literature
  • ENGL2664 Transpacific American Literature
  • ENGL3609 Mapping American Literature
  • ENGL3616 Reading Contemporary America

An English major with a focus on Medieval Literature:

  • ENGL1007 Language Texts and Time
  • ENGL1002 Narratives of Romance and Adventure
  • ENGL2657 Myths Legends and Heroes
  • ENGL2661 Imagining Camelot
  • ENGL2662 Deceit, Disguise and Medieval Narrative
  • ENGL3633 Introduction to Old English
  • ENGL3642 Dreams and Visions
  • ENGL3643 The Canterbury Tales

An English major with a focus on early modern literature:

  • ENGL1002 Narratives of Romance and Adventure
  • ENGL1007 Language, Texts and Time
  • ENGL2607 Drama: Classical to Renaissance
  • ENGL2640 Shakespeare
  • ENGL2650 Reading Poetry
  • ENGL2656 From the Metaphysicals to Milton
  • ENGL2658 Love and Desire in Early Modern England
  • ENGL3651 Christopher Marlowe

An English major with a focus on language and theory:

  • ENGL1007 Language texts and time
  • ENGL1026 Constructing the Fictive Self
  • ENGL2605 Literary Theory: An Introduction
  • ENGL2627 Screening Sexuality
  • ENGL2653 Western theories of language
  • ENGL3612 Metaphor and meaning
  • ENGL3611 Issues in the Semiotics of Language
  • ENGL3655 The Literary in Theory
Honours

An honours year in English allows you to specialise further in your area of interest. It offers students the opportunity to work independently and creatively in a community of scholars that includes both their peers and the staff of the department. A number of honours graduates each year continue on to postgraduate study in Australia or abroad.

Students wishing to enter honours in 2015 must have achieved an average of 70 percent or above in eight senior level English units (48 senior credit points), one of which is compulsory: ENGL3655 The Literary in Theory. During their honours year, students will write a thesis of 15,000 words and complete three honours options.

Contact/further information

Department website: sydney.edu.au/arts/english/

Undergraduate Student Advisor: Dr Nick Riemer
Phone:+61 2 9036 7039
Email:

Honours Coordinator: Dr Nicola Parsons
Phone: +61 2 9036 7229
Email: