University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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English Studies


The Master of English Studies will provide grounding in contemporary critical approaches to the study of literatures in English.

It will allow students the opportunity to specialise in a wide spectrum of subjects associated with English, American and Australian literature across a broad historical range. It will also offer students a chance to familiarise themselves with academic debates about the status of world cultures, and it will enhance discussion and communication skills.

The postgraduate programs in English Literature and English Language studies have been designed to allow students to extend their studies in English beyond the undergraduate level, with a greater emphasis on in-depth study of current directions in particular fields and exploratory discussion with academic specialists. Recent graduates have undertaken these programs in order to become more competitive professionally, to renew or refresh their expertise, and to enjoy new discoveries in a favourite field of endeavour.

The objectives of the programs are to develop knowledge and skills within the discipline and to promote a deep understanding of scholarly research and practice. As a capstone experience, students will be offered the option either to write a dissertation or to engage in more specialised seminar relevant to particular professional practices or other special interests.

See also: Creative Writing

Contact Department website:

Professor Paul Giles
Phone: +61 2 9114 1979

Awards and requirements

Graduate Certificate English Studies
Candidates for the Graduate Certificate in English Studies must complete 24 credit points including

  • 12 credit points of core units of study
  • 12 credit points of elective units of study

Graduate Diploma in English Studies
Candidates for the Graduate Diploma in English Studies must complete 48 credit points, including

  • 24 credit points of core units of study
  • 24 credit points of elective units of study

Master of English Studies
Candidates for the Master of English Studies must complete 72 credit points, including

  • 24 credit points of core units of study
  • 42 credit points of elective units of study
  • 6 credit points of capstone unit of study

Candidates for the Masters program who have completed previous study in a relevant discipline may be eligible for a reduction in the requirements in accordance with the table below.

Level of prior learning Full-time duration Credit points to complete
No background 1.5 years 72
AQF Level 8 eg. Honours in a relevant discipline, as determined by the Faculty 1 year 48

The range of the department's interests is extensive, in terms of both course content and varieties of critical approach. The benefits of its programs reflect this range. Areas of special strength include: Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Celtic studies; Renaissance and early modern literature; 19th-century literature; Modernist and contemporary literature; film studies; American literature; Australian literature; and creative writing. Staff participate in the interdisciplinary programs of Gender Studies and Performance Studies. The Medieval and Early Modern Centre, Centre for Celtic Studies, and Australian Language Research Centre are all based in or closely related to the department.

Department website:

Dr Mark Byron
Phone: +61 2 9351 2276

Awards and requirements

Please refer to the degree resolutions in this handbook and to the ‘Faculty Admissions Policy and Procedure for: Doctor of Philosophy: Pathways to admission’, for information on the specific admission requirements for different research award courses.

Master of Arts (Research)
Master of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy