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Shaping the world with words

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. Linguistics is the discipline that directly addresses questions about language and its nature, structure, use and development.

The Department of English and Linguistics at the University of Otago has a distinguished record of teaching and research. It was ranked in the top one hundred departments in the world for English language and literature in the 2016 QS World Rankings by Subject. It also ranked first in the field of English language and literature for the number of research-active teaching staff in the most recent Performance Based Research Funding Assessment of New Zealand universities.

The department offers both a major and a minor in English literature, a major and minor in Linguistics and a minor in Writing, and hosts the Scottish and Irish Studies Programme

You can gain work experience while you complete your English or Linguistics Major, by enrolling in our internship programme, HUMS301/401, a one-semester paper where you get to work for one day per week with a business or organisation, gaining valuable skills and knowledge about the workplace.

A number of prizes are awarded to outstanding students in many areas. 

Established in 2017, the University of Otago City of Literature PhD Scholarship for a doctoral project in literary studies celebrates the granting of UNESCO City of Literature status to Dunedin. Dunedin’s rich literary history is reflected in its many writers, literary festivals, and reading series and in its world-class libraries and special collections.  Applications for the University of Otago City of Literature Scholarship close every year on 1 February.

Burns Fellowship 60th Anniversary Celebrations

For information about the events that took place in early September 2018, please check this page, which provides an overview of events that took place on campus, at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery conference room, and across town (including Port Chalmers).


Learn concepts and techniques for analysing texts, improve your communication skills and sharpen your perception.


Linguistics studies language and its nature, structure, use and development.

Centre for Irish & Scottish Studies

Short overview of Irish Scottish Studies and studying it at Otago.


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