University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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The Department of English is part of the School of Letters, Art and Media.

The department offers a wide range of approaches to the discipline of English. Students can choose to study a variety of texts, from Old and Middle English through Early Modern, Romantic, and Victorian to contemporary Australian, Caribbean, American, and British works – as well as all the major forms of critical analysis of which the discipline is comprised at present: literary theory, literary history, history of the book, cultural and gender studies, postcolonial and American studies, film and multimedia, linguistics and language studies.

All units taught in the department are designed for students with native-language ability, and although there are no formal prerequisites all units are based on the assumption that students will have completed one of the more demanding courses for the Higher School Certificate, or the equivalent.

First Year
In their first year, students are offered a choice of four junior level units: ENGL1008 Australian Texts: International Contexts, ENGL1009 Reading English Texts, ENGL1011 Introduction to Film Studies and ENGL1026 Constructing the Fictive Self. They may, if they wish, take all four junior level units in English.

Second and Third Year
Senior level units are normally offered on a two-year cycle and are organised into two generically distinct groups – Core and Extension – to create a meaningful progression within the English major from units introducing major issues of literary theory and practice through to more focused and demanding units extending these Core units and allowing students to specialise in topics or periods of interest to them.

The team-taught Core units involve two lectures and one tutorial per week, with 4000–4500 words of assessment. Seven units will be on offer each year, mostly though not exclusively in the first semester, with 14 different units available over a two-year cycle.

The Extension units are normally taught by a single member of staff in any one of a number of teaching modes, sometimes combining one or two formal lectures with a one-hour tutorial per week, sometimes through a lecture and a two-hour seminar, sometimes through two-hour seminars only. 14 units will be on offer each year, mostly though not exclusively in the second semester, with 28 different units available over a two-year cycle.

Requirements for a major
For a major in English students must complete the following:

  • 12 credit points of junior units of study from English.
  • 36 credit points from senior units of study listed in the subject area, of which at least 3 units of study (18 credit points) must be selected from Core senior units.

Refer to Table A in this Handbook for units of study available in the current year.

In addition to the English major, the English department offers a separate major in Australian Literature with its own code (ASLT) and students majoring in Australian Literature are advised to consult the separate pages of information provided above. Students majoring in English who choose Australian Literature units will be required to meet the progression requirements relating to Core and Extension units within the English major.

Up to 18 credit points of units from approved cross-listed units of study may be counted towards the major.

Refer to Table A in this Handbook for cross-listed units of study available in the current year.


Honours in English or Australian Literature allows students to specialise further in their 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.

Students wishing to enter Honours in 2013 must have achieved grades of Credit or above in eight senior level English units (48 senior credit points), one of which is compulsory: ENGL3655 The Literary in Theory. During their Honours year, students will write a thesis of 15,000 words and complete three Honours options.

Refer to the degree resolutions in this Handbook and to the Faculty Admissions Policy for Honours:

Summer and Winter School

The department will be offering the following undergraduate units of study as part of the 2013 University of Sydney Summer School:

ENGL2658 Love and Desire in Early Modern England

For further details see the Summer School webpage:

Contact/Further Information

Department website:

Undergraduate Student Advisor: Dr Lawrence Warner
Phone:+61 2 9351 4286

Honours Coordinator: Dr Huw Griffiths
Phone: +61 2 9351 2065