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)Apply Now
Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom)Apply Now
Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc)Apply Now
Apply for the Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons))Apply Now
Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)Apply Now
Apply for the Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework))Apply Now
Apply for the Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis))Apply Now
Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts)Apply Now
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.
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.
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.
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
- Bachelor of Arts (BA)
- Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom)
- Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc)
- Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons))
- Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts)
- Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework))
- Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis))
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in English
One further paper from:
Three 200-level ENGL papers
Four 300-level ENGL papers
EURO 302 The Culture of the European City may be substituted for one 300-level ENGL paper
198 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.
Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Arts
Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in English
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
Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis)) in English
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
Two papers from 200-level ENGL papers
One 300-level ENGL paper
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