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Study English at Otago

Shaping the world with words.

Writers of literature take us on pleasurable and challenging journeys of the imagination. Studying English helps you read more deeply, in fiction, poetry and critical prose, and take in the sounds and signs of language in the world around you.

Studying English also helps to develop writing skills for your own communication, whether for creative pleasure or for your profession.

At Otago you can study literature from Old English to contemporary poetry and prose, New Zealand literature, post-colonial literature, popular literature such as crime fiction, and critical theory.

We also offer courses in Writing – creative writing, and writing for professional purposes.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) through the Dunedin campus in 2023

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Why study English?

Language is power. We use language for the whole range of activities that make us human, from passion to politics; we negotiate through language in every waking moment of our lives. Literature is language at its most effective.

English at Otago is designed to fulfil three main aims: opening up the vast and delightful range of literatures written in English; providing a grasp of the concepts and techniques for analysing texts; and improving communication skills of every kind.

By taking English you will find your perceptions sharpened, your understanding deepened and your enjoyment enhanced - for life. Above all, you will equip yourself for a career in almost any sector of society.

Literature in English embodies a high level of creative insight into human behaviours, preoccupations, politics and passions. By learning about language from its best practitioners, students gain critical skills that are valued by employers, governments and educationalists; skills that are essential for people taking an active role in an open society.

By immersing yourself in literature, you will gain a unique understanding of the roots of society and its cultures and also develop your own powers of analysis, creativity and imagination.

Career opportunities

English develops key skills in critical thinking, cultural awareness, and communication, which are essential in all workplaces, and are increasingly sought after by employers.

Our graduates are working as editors, copy-writers and in publishing, as creative writers or journalists, teachers, librarians and educational administrators.

English graduates may be found in the public service, as analysts, diplomats, politicians, and policy-makers. Others have become ministers of religion, arts administrators, and broadcasters.

Otago has an excellent record of preparing students for postgraduate study in English and related disciplines, both in New Zealand and overseas. Recent Otago graduates have gone on to study at top Universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrews, and Harvard, and Otago graduates hold positions at universities in Britain, Australia, and North America.

Teaching style

English at Otago teaches the arts of reading and writing in an integrated way, by studying and discussing literary texts, and by practising the techniques of writing.

Our courses involve a combination of small-scale, discussion-based classes (tutorials) and larger-class teaching (lectures), which generally involve a variety of staff.

In upper-level courses, class sizes are usually smaller and opportunities for discussion greater. At second and especially third year, there is generally a greater emphasis placed on independent and exploratory learning  and research.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in English

Level Papers Points
100-level

ENGL 121  English Literature: The Remix, or ENGL 131  Controversial Classics

One further paper from:
ENGL 120  Creative Writing: How to Captivate and Persuade
ENGL 121  English Literature: The Remix
ENGL 127  Effective Writing
ENGL 128  Effective Communication
ENGL 131  Controversial Classics
LING 111  Language and its Structure

18

18

200-level

Three 200-level ENGL papers

One of DHUM 201 Digital Humanities: Method and Critique  or  EURO 202  The Culture of the European City may be substituted for one 200-level ENGL paper

54
300-level

Four 300-level ENGL papers

EURO 302  The Culture of the European City may be substituted for one 300-level ENGL paper

72
Plus

198 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Arts

198
Total   360

Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in English

Papers

Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in English

The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) programme in English is the same as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)).

Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) in English

Papers

Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis)) in English

Thesis
  • Thesis: ENGL 5

Note: Students who have not completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA(Hons)) in English or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in English must complete the required papers for the BA(Hons) in English prior to undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

English as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level

Two of:
ENGL 121  English Literature: A Survey
ENGL 127  Effective Writing
ENGL 128  Effective Communication
ENGL 131  Controversial Classics

36

200-level

Two papers from 200-level ENGL papers

Note: EURO 202 or EURO 302 may be substituted for one 100- or 200-level ENGL paper

36

300-level

One 300-level ENGL paper

18
Total   90

Papers

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
ENGL120 2023 Creative Writing: How to Captivate and Persuade 18 points Semester 1
ENGL121 2023 English Literature: The Remix 18 points Semester 1
ENGL126 2023 English for University Purposes 18 points Semester 2
ENGL127 2023 Effective Writing 18 points Semester 1, Semester 2
ENGL128 2023 Effective Communication 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL131 2023 Controversial Classics 18 points Semester 2
ENGL216 2023 A Topic in English Language 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL217 2023 Creative Writing: Poetry 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL218 2023 Shakespeare: Stage, Page and Screen 18 points Semester 2
ENGL219 2023 Poetry and Music 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL220 2023 Creative Writing: Reading for Writers 18 points Semester 1
ENGL222 2023 Contemporary American Fiction 18 points Semester 1
ENGL223 2023 Fantasy and the Imagination 18 points Summer School
ENGL227 2023 Essay and Feature Writing 18 points Semester 1
ENGL228 2023 Writing for the Professions 18 points Semester 2
ENGL233 2023 Literary Theory: From Marxism to Ecocriticism 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL241 2023 Irish-Scots Gothic and the Gothic as Genre 18 points Semester 1
ENGL242 2023 New Zealand Literature: Connecting Worlds 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL243 2023 Tartan Noir: Scottish Crime Fiction 18 points Semester 1
ENGL251 2023 Special Topic: Creative Writing for Games and Interactive Media 18 points Semester 2
ENGL254 2023 Magic and Treachery in Medieval Literature 18 points Semester 2
ENGL311 2023 Renaissance Literature 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL312 2023 Literature in the Age of Invention 18 points Semester 1
ENGL313 2023 Victorian Literature 18 points Semester 2
ENGL319 2023 Modern and Contemporary Poetry 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL320 2023 Advanced Creative Writing 18 points Semester 2
ENGL323 2023 Fantasy and the Imagination (Advanced) 18 points Summer School
ENGL327 2023 The Essay: Creative Non-Fiction 18 points Semester 2
ENGL332 2023 Postcolonial Literatures 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL334 2023 Textuality and Visuality 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL335 2023 Romantic Literature 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL337 2023 Creative Writing: Travel Narratives 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL340 2023 Modernism: Joyce 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL341 2023 Irish-Scots Gothic and the Gothic as Genre 18 points Semester 1
ENGL342 2023 Digital Literature: Technologies of Storytelling 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL350 2023 Special Topic: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Poetry 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL351 2023 Special Topic: 21st Century Fiction: Reading Today's World 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL353 2023 Reading Minds: Literature and Psychology 18 points Semester 1
ENGL354 2023 Monsters and Monstrosity in Medieval Literature 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL368 2023 Engaging Literary Stories 18 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL404 2023 A Topic in English Language 20 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL454 2023 Medieval Misogyny: Subverting the Antifeminist Tradition 20 points Semester 1
ENGL465 2023 A Topic in New Zealand Literature 20 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL467 2023 Special Topic: Storyworlds and Cognition 20 points Full Year
ENGL469 2023 Writing Revolutions: How Modernism Changed the World 20 points Full Year
ENGL471 2023 A Topic in Romanticism 20 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL473 2023 A Topic in 19th Century Literature 20 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL474 2023 Special Topic 20 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL476 2023 A Topic in English Literature 1660-1800 20 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL477 2023 A Topic in American Literature 20 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL478 2023 A Topic in Postcolonial Literatures 20 points Not offered in 2023
ENGL490 2023 Dissertation 60 points Full Year
ENGL590 2023 Research Dissertation 60 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

Key information for future students

Contact us

English and Linguistics Programme
School of Arts
Email english@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/english