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Why English at York?

Flexible undergraduate degrees

I wanted to spend three years being taught by academics who were excited about literature and the buzz surrounding the department was tangible.

Gemma-Jane, English

Here at York, we offer a flexible and wide-ranging course that will encourage you to engage analytically both with the texts you read and with your own practice as a critic and reader.  Students can choose from a breathtaking range of modules to match and develop their interests.  We cover an astonishing array of literature from the classical and medieval periods up to the 21st century, with opportunities to study literature from around the world. Both drama and film modules are also featured within our degree. 

Our programme of study culminates in the opportunity to explore your interests in depth in an extended dissertation, supervised by an expert in the field.

Focused, supportive teaching

Our teaching takes many forms, but the majority of students’ contact hours are in small group seminars that are driven by discussion.  These are supported by larger lectures and workshops, as well as ample opportunities for one-to-one consultation with staff in open office hours. We employ a variety of assessment methods throughout our undergraduate degree, with an emphasis on essays written in the student’s own time rather than closed examinations.  

Every student at York is assigned a personal supervisor who is available for advice and support on any aspect of university life.

Cosmopolitan outlook

The York undergraduate degree stands out in offering a wide historical range alongside a broad array of specialised, research-driven modules. We are distinctive in inviting students to get to grips with literatures from across the globe, including literatures in English from around the world as well as opportunities to study foreign literatures both in translation and in their original language. 

Our students are cosmopolitan in their intellectual interests, and feel thoroughly supported to navigate previously unfamiliar literatures, and to recognise the importance of understanding the international as well as the historical heritage of the English literary tradition.


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.

A vibrant research culture with an international reputation

The Department of English and Related Literature is an exceptionally lively and creative department. 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.

It’s a lot of fun studying at York, and there are so many societies to join and things to do that there really is something here for everyone.

Caius, English

Fantastic literary culture

Alongside our core curriculum, we have a lively intellectual culture. Speakers from the UK, US, and beyond give regular lectures, readings, and workshops, offering the chance for lively conversation and exchange. We partner with the Festival of Ideas, the annual York Literature Festival, and the biennial York International Shakespeare Festival, hosting brilliant talks and events on a range of subjects. Our hugely successful Writers at York series brings in a stellar cast of world-famous contemporary writers, including recently Jennifer Egan, Michael Longley, and Eleanor Catton. Every Summer Term, we host a Writer-in-Residence, who runs weekly creative writing workshops, open to all students. 

We also have a superb printing studio is home to five historic presses, alongside cutting-edge publishing and design software, which provides you with the opportunity to learn about the craft of print and create unique publications.

Graduate with dynamic and desirable skills

No discipline equips its students better to understand and interpret a wide range of texts or to form articulate and persuasive responses to a range of challenges. Our graduates go on to careers in all sorts of fields, even areas that traditionally haven’t recruited among Arts and Humanities graduates. An English graduate’s creativity, passion, and ability to adapt – along with outstanding presentation, language, and reasoning skills – are what employers look for. 96.3% of our 2016/17 undergraduate leavers were in work or further study six months after they graduated. Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016/17 (HESA) (Full-time UK students) 

The campus and the city

York has been an important political, cultural, religious and trading centre since Roman times, but it is more than just an historic city. York is the best place to live in Britain, according to The Sunday Times 2018 and it is also regularly voted one of the UK’s safest student cities and the UK’s only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts

York has fantastic transport links across the north of England and further afield. You can be in London in less than two hours by rail, and there is easy access to international airports.

The University’s main campus is in Heslington, on the edge of the city. Here, colleges and departments are grouped around a large lake in 200 acres of landscaped parkland, creating a welcoming community feel with a vibrant social and cultural environment. Students can participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities, and will be offered the chance to develop interests in creative writing, music and dramajournalism, and a host of other activities.

English and Related Literature

Creative Writing and the Creative Industries