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Faculties and schools_

Department of English

Opening up the extraordinary, inspiring world of literature
We are one of the largest English departments in Australia, enriched by the research excellence of our internationally distinguished staff.

Placing first in Sydney and 18th internationally in the 2019 QS World University rankings for English Language and Literature, our department is held in very high regard. With more than 30 full-time academic staff, we’re also one of the largest.

Our academics have a broad range of expertise traversing genres, authors and historical periods in English literature and language, as well as Irish, American and Australian literatures, literary theory, film studies and creative writing.

Our study offering

Gain a broad understanding of the history and characteristics of Australian literature. Learn about writing in and about Australia, as well as Australian writers in their various national and international contexts.


*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  

Celtic Studies focuses on the study of language, history and culture of the Celtic-speaking peoples, from prehistory to the present. Develop skills and knowledge in a subject that is highly significant to European and Australian cultural heritage. 


*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  


Celtic Studies offers a wide choice of topics for research, ranging from the early history of the Celts in Europe to the present situation of the Celtic languages in the British Isles, Brittany and beyond. The research can focus on a number of disciplinary aspects, including language and linguistics, archaeology, history, literature and folklore as well as music. 

Explore and develop your skills in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and other forms of writing. Gain a deep understanding of theories and histories of writing and develop the core skills of writing, structuring and editing. We give you intimate access to Sydney’s literary life, including a constant calendar of readings, performances, major literary and cultural events, and a host of celebrated visitors.



Bring together contemporary critical theory with literary narratives and investigate how and why literature remains an influential cultural form in the 21st century. Consider the ways in which the study of literature works within a specifically Australian cultural context and explore the expansion of literary and cultural narratives across a broad transnational framework.


*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies  degrees.  



The Department of English has a vital research culture and offers postgraduate supervision across an extensive range of areas. These include: Medieval and Early Modern Literature; Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Literature; Modern and Contemporary Literature; Australian and Aboriginal literature and culture; American literature and culture; British and Irish literature; world literatures; literary and cultural theories; studies in gender and sexuality; film and TV studies; scholarly editing and language studies; poetry, poetics, drama and the novel; rhetoric, aesthetics, hermeneutics and semantics; and creative writing.

Our research

Through our leading researchers, we have have expertise across these areas: 

  • National and global literatures
  • Literary history
  • Literary and cultural theory
  • Language studies
  • Creative writing and practice-led research
  • Film studies

The Shakespeare Reloaded/Better Strangers project

Combining the experience and skills of academics and school teachers, we develop fresh approaches to the teaching of Shakespeare, producing educational activities for the classroom, professional development workshops and the publication of research outputs on the theory and practice of pedagogy. Our ideas and activities can be found on the project website.

Research centres

Australian Literature Resources Centre

An extensive collection of reference works, books and literary journals about Australian writers, poets, dramatists, essayists and critics. 

Aboriginal culture, history and writing, Australian history, short story and poetry collections and criticism, theatre, war, queer literary theory, post-colonial writing, cinema, autobiography and women’s writing are all accounted for. The centre maintains subscriptions to major Australian literary journals and is actively acquiring key Australian films.

Location: rooms N411 and N416, John Woolley Building

Contact: Professor Robert Dixon

Our people


1-2 February 2019

Shakespeare FuturEd is an international conference exploring the nexus of Shakespeare Studies and Education to be held at the University of Sydney. Keynote speakers include Professor Catherine Beavis (Deakin University), Joanna Erskine (Bell Shakespeare), and Dr Laura Turchi (University of Houston).

The Conference is free to attend, but attendees will be required to register.  

Learn more

23–25 August 2019

Co-convened with the Peking University Australian Studies Centre and the World Literature Association, the School of Languages and Cultures is proud to host the third international congress of the World Literature Association.

This international conference will engage with literary production on and from the Global South in their own languages as well as in translation – giving equal billing to streams in English, Chinese, Arabic, French, Indonesian/Malay and Spanish.

Learn more

Visit the School's events calendar  to see our upcoming events and seminars.

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