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About us

Welcome to the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York

Studying English and Related Literature at York is unlike any other English degree in the UK. With period-coverage ranging from the Greek and Latin classics to literature being published right now, we have a unique approach to what literature is and does, how we read it, how we write about it, and even how we make it. Right now, we’re in the process of building a printing press, which students will use in class and to create cutting-edge publications.

Find out below what it means to study in an English department in a UNESCO City of Media Arts.

Focused, supportive teaching

Our teaching takes many forms: from one-to-one consultations with tutors, through small-group seminars, to larger workshops and lectures. Tutors are always available for contact, and every student at York is also assigned a personal supervisor who’s available for advice and support on any aspect of university life.

We also believe that in doing an English degree, you aren’t just learning to read stunning writers, but you are learning how to write—with precision, clarity, and yes, a little bit of style too. This means we teach you how to write in a supportive and innovative programme you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

A vibrant research culture

I absolutely love my course; the lecturers, tutors and seminar discussions are very stimulating and thought provoking, and the modular design of the course makes it easy to study what you want, rather than being told what you’re going to study, like at school.

Caius, English

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014) we had the highest proportion of ‘world-leading’ (4*) research of all UK English departments, meaning that our students learn in the most stimulating and exciting academic environment possible.

Our courses are designed and taught by innovative world experts who are at the cutting-edge of current research into English literature and related subjects.

We have a lively research culture which brings in speakers from around the UK, US, and beyond for research seminars and talks that are open to students. We also partner with the Festival of Ideas and others to host brilliant talks on a range of subjects, as well as run the hugely successful Writers at York series, in which we converse with a stellar cast of contemporary writers. Check out who we’ve had recently here

Flexibility of subject choice

This is a department that really does care for all its students, and that has made all the difference to my university experience both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Cuifen, MA in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

Students can choose from a breath-taking range of modules to match and develop their interests.

The modules available range from ancient drama to medieval poetry to digital literatures and creative writing. We don’t just teach the canon but privilege a diverse range of writers and take a global approach to the world of literature.

We also look at a range of forms, genres, and media—both drama, film, and television are featured within our modules, alongside topics as diverse as medieval and modern popular romance, women’s writing, and modernism’s queer spaces.

A commitment to foreign languages and literatures

What is truly unique about our department is that we feature writing from around the globe—not just those written in English. Thinking comparatively, across and between borders, is at the heart of what we do. We have modules in the study of foreign literature in their original languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, and Old Norse.


Both our academic staff and our student body are drawn from a wide range of countries and origins, and we hugely value the distinctive contribution that international students bring to our intellectual community.

Nearly half our academic staff have international backgrounds - including the USA, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Italy, and France. And in our teaching and research we have a special interest in postcolonial and global literature, including Irish, African, Caribbean, Hebrew, South East Asian, and Arabic.


Both our research and our teaching bridge the traditional divide between English and its neighbouring academic subjects. We’re a major partner in six interdisciplinary centres at York, and at undergraduate level participate in five combined degrees - History, History of Art, Linguistics, Philosophy, and Politics. 

Student success stories

Our record on student employability in the creative industries and beyond is impressive. A high proportion of our undergraduate students also choose to continue their studies here at postgraduate level, with many securing funding for professional research.