English

About the major

An English major will introduce you to a spectrum 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 as you explore an extraordinary range of texts.

Areas of specialisation may include:

  • Old and Middle English (800-1500)
  • Early Modern (1500-1750)
  • Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Modern and Contemporary
  • Australian, American, British and World literatures
  • literary theory
  • cultural, gender, postcolonial and transnational studies
  • film, multimedia, linguistics and language studies; and
  • creative writing.

You will explore questions about genre, form, period and place across a wide range of works in English. You will learn to analyse, explain and appreciate 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 and inspire you throughout your life.

First year English will introduce you to a diverse range of units, from global literatures to classic texts in a variety of periods and contexts, as well as to language and creative writing. You can take any two first-year units to commence your English major. In all units you will be introduced to what it means to study in English at university, with an emphasis on ways of reading and analysing texts and producing original, evidenced-based arguments in response. Second year English will consolidate and enrich your understanding of English as a discipline. Whatever 2000-level unit you take will engage you actively with intellectual, cultural and/or historical problems and debates central to English. You will be able to select units focused on core aspects of the field including specific genres, periods and contexts as well as addressing literary theory or creative reading and writing. All second-year units will advance your fluency in writing, research and analysis and build your capacity to collaborate with peers. Third year English will round off your major through high-level study of particular topics, texts and contexts. Third-year units are taught in seminar mode to maximise student involvement and research-led teaching. Working closely with lecturers and peers in small groups, you will deepen your knowledge of literature in theory and practice, and apply your disciplinary skills in diverse and interdisciplinary ways.

Requirements for completion

The English major and minor requirements are listed in the English unit of study table.

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.

During their honours year, students will write a thesis of 15,000 words, complete three 4000-level seminar units and participate in the mid-year honours conference.

Honours admission requirements
If you commenced your degree prior to 2018: admission into the honours program requires a major in English with an average of 70 percent or above.

If you commence in 2018 or later:
- Admission into honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in English with an average of 70 percent or above and completion of a second major.
- Prior to commencing honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the English honours units of study page.

Advanced Coursework

Advanced Studies in English will enable you to engage in advanced critical research across a range of literary and cultural contexts, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary project-based learning.

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the English advanced coursework units of study page.

Contact and further information

Email:
Department website: sydney.edu.au/arts/english/
School of Literature, Art and Media website: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/slam/

Example pathway

English major pathway

English Major

 

Year 1

Sem 1

Selective: 1000 level unit from the English major table

 

Sem 2

Selective: 1000 level unit from the English major table

 

 

Year 2

Sem 1

Selective: 2000 level unit from the English major table

 

Sem 2

Selective: 2000 level unit from the English major table

 

 

Year 3

Sem 1

Selective: 3000 level unit from the English major table

Selective: 3000 level unit from the English major table

Sem 2

Selective: 3000 level unit from the English major table

Interdisciplinary Project unit: ENGL3999 Interdisciplinary Impact

 

English minor pathway

Year and Semester  Units of study
Year 1 S1

Selective:1000 level unit from the English major table

  S2 Selective:1000 level unit from the English major table
Year 2 S1 Selective:2000 level unit from the English major table
  S2 Selective:2000 level unit from the English major table
Year 3 S1 Selective:3000 level unit from the English major table
  S2 Selective:3000 level unit from the English major table