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Undergraduate English at Otago

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

Be sure to review the Procedures and Guidelines Manual for English & Linguistics undergraduates, and check the minimum language requirements for undergraduate students at the University of Otago.

Writers take the world and give it shape

Writers take the world and give it shape, forming and re-forming it through song, poetry, essays, novels, plays, and films. As a student of English at Otago, you will have the opportunity to read and discuss a wide range of such forms, ranging from oral epics to Internet novels. Although we take a variety of approaches to literature in this department, we share a common passion for the written word. As an English student, you will gain knowledge of literary history and culture, of critical methods and theories for understanding literature, and of the ways that one text speaks to another across the centuries. You will learn to ask and investigate critical questions, to think independently and to express yourself with clarity and grace.

A flexible degree

The English degree is designed to be flexible and to accommodate a variety of interests. You can study literature from Old English to contemporary poetry, New Zealand literature, post-colonial literatures, critical theory and methodology, textuality and visuality, and the art of writing.

A degree in English prepares you for almost any career. Recent graduates in English have found rewarding work. Some have gone on to postgraduate study, in New Zealand and overseas; these include two Rhodes Scholars, several Commonwealth Scholars and many who have found positions at good universities in North America and the United Kingdom. Our graduates are working as publishers and editors, creative writers or script-writers, journalists (radio, TV, print media), teachers, librarians, or university administrators. Some have entered public service as commentators and analysts, diplomats, politicians, ministers of religion, and policy-makers (for the Ministries of Education and Health, as well as the Treasury). Yet others have worked in the production of Lord of the Rings or as arts administrators for the Film Commission, the National Orchestra and Te Papa.