About us

There are many English Departments offering very different experiences to students. What is distinctive about the York Department?

A vibrant research culture

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

We’re the UK’s No. 1 English Department for world-leading research, meaning that our students learn in the most stimulating and exciting academic environment possible.

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

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. Moreover, we have pioneered the use of varied assessment methods throughout our undergraduate degree, and the emphasis is on essays written in the student’s own time rather than closed examinations.

Flexibility of subject choice

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

Students can choose from a breathtaking range of modules to match and develop their interests.

The courses available range from Anglo-Saxon England to twenty-first-century America, and from ancient drama to contemporary postcolonial fiction. Both drama and film modules are featured within our degree, alongside topics as diverse as medieval and modern popular romance, literature and the city, and spy stories.

A commitment to foreign languages and literatures

A unique feature of our teaching and research is the study of foreign literatures in the original languages: these include 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, Australia, South Africa, Ireland, France, and Egypt. And in our teaching and research we have a special interest in colonial and postcolonial literature, including Irish, African, Caribbean, Hebrew 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.

Student success stories

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