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, allowing you to customise your study according to your interests.

Areas of specialisation 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, period and place across a wide range 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.

Requirements for completion

A major in English requires 48 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level units
(iii) 18 credit points of 3000-level units
(iii) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project unit

A minor in English requires 36 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level units
(iii) 12 credit points of 3000-level units

First Year

First year English introduces students to a diverse range of units, from global, and gothic literatures, to studies of language, narrative and the ‘fictive’ self, as well as film studies and creative writing. The completion of any two units will enable you to undertake an English major. You can shape your unit choice with a view to later pathways, or simply follow your current interests from the selection on offer. In dynamic lectures and tutorials you will learn fundamental critical skills in the reading and analysis of texts that will equip you for further study in English, while acquiring confidence and proficiency in oral and written assignments.

Second Year

Second year English allows you to consolidate your study of the discipline. You might choose a variety of units, or you may prefer to focus your learning through one of a diverse array of pathways which might focus on language or creative writing, on genre (fiction, drama, poetry, film), a specific period (medieval, eighteenth and nineteenth-century, modern and contemporary) or a particular geographical location (Australia, the UK, or the US). Whatever you decide, you will develop your understanding of English to the next level, along with your ability to read, research and critically respond to complex imaginative texts. In class and in well-tailored assessment tasks you will advance your fluency in writing and analysis, and engage inclusively and collaboratively with your peers.

Third Year

Third year English builds on the skills you have acquired in first and second year, and rounds off your major through high-level study of particular texts, the national and international contexts that shape them, and the cultural and historical milieux in which they circulate and are read. Third-year units are generally taught in seminar mode, taking advantage of staff expertise in specialist areas. Working closely with lecturers and with their peers in small groups, students more directly shape the learning experience. You will progress your knowledge of critical theory and practice in order to be able to apply your disciplinary skills in diverse and interdisciplinary ways. Assessments are designed to test your superior research and writing abilities.

Honours

For students who commenced their degree prior to 2018, admission into the honours program requires a major in English with an average of 70% or above.

For students commencing from 2018 onward, admission into the honours program requires a major in English with an average of 70% or above and the completion of a second major.

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.

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.

The requirements for advanced coursework in English are described in the degree resolutions for the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies.
24-36 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2019

Contact/further information

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

Undergraduate Coordinator:

Semester 1: Dr Isabelle Hesse
Phone: +61 2 9351 6859

Semester 2: Professor Liam Semler
Phone: +61 2 9351 6852

Email:


Honours Coordinator: Dr Matthew Sussman
Phone: +61 2 9114 1204
Email:

Example pathway

English Major

 

Year 1

Sem 1

1000 level unit from the English major table

1000 level unit

1000 level unit

1000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

Sem 2

1000 level unit from the English major table

1000 level unit

1000 level unit

1000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

 

Year 2

Sem 1

2000 level unit from the English major table

2000 level unit

2000 level unit/OLE

2000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

Sem 2

2000 level unit from the English major table

2000 level unit

2000 level unit/OLE

2000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

 

Year 3

Sem 1

3000 level unit from the English major table

3000 level unit from the English major table

3000 level unit in another major from Table A or S

2000/3000 level unit in  another major/minor from Table A or S

Sem 2

3000 level unit from the English major table

FASS3999 Interdisciplinary project unit

3000 level unit in another major from Table A or S

3000 level unit in another major from Table A or S

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of literary and other texts from a range of periods and places, and an understanding of the importance of social, cultural, historical and geographical contexts.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of distinct genres or varieties of literary forms and writing practices.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of changing theories, methods, and concepts in literary and textual studies.
  4. Read, understand and interpret complex literary and other texts.
  5. Locate, assess and use appropriate critical resources.
  6. Construct coherent, evidence-based arguments.
  7. Communicate coherently in a range of critical and/or creative forms.
  8. Apply relevant skills and knowledge to recognise and reflect on the significance of literary and other texts in imagining and interpreting the world.