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 2021Apply Now
Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) through the Dunedin campus in 2021Apply Now
Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021Apply Now
Apply for the Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021Apply Now
Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021Apply Now
Apply for the Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021Apply Now
Apply for the Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis))Apply Now
Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) through the Dunedin campus in 2021Apply 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
|Paper code||Year||Title||Points||Teaching period|
|ENGL120||2021||Creative Writing: How to Captivate and Persuade||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL121||2021||English Literature: The Remix||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL126||2021||English for University Purposes||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL127||2021||Effective Writing||18 points||Second Semester, Summer School|
|ENGL128||2021||Effective Communication||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL131||2021||Controversial Classics||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL216||2021||A Topic in English Language||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL217||2021||Creative Writing: Poetry||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|ENGL218||2021||Shakespeare: Stage, Page and Screen||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|ENGL219||2021||Poetry and Music||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL220||2021||Creative Writing: Reading for Writers||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL222||2021||Contemporary American Fiction||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL223||2021||Fantasy and the Imagination||18 points||Summer School|
|ENGL227||2021||Essay and Feature Writing||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL228||2021||Writing for the Professions||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL233||2021||Literary Theory: From Marxism to Ecocriticism||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|ENGL240||2021||Modernism: Joyce||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL241||2021||Irish-Scots Gothic and the Gothic as Genre||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL242||2021||New Zealand Literature: Connecting Worlds||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL243||2021||Tartan Noir: Scottish Crime Fiction||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL251||2021||Special Topic: Word and Image: The Graphic Novel||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL311||2021||Renaissance Literature||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL312||2021||Literature in the Age of Invention||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL313||2021||Victorian Literature||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL319||2021||Modern and Contemporary Poetry||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023|
|ENGL320||2021||Advanced Creative Writing||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL323||2021||Fantasy and the Imagination (Advanced)||18 points||Summer School|
|ENGL327||2021||The Essay: Creative Non-Fiction||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL332||2021||Postcolonial Literatures||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL334||2021||Textuality and Visuality||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL335||2021||Romantic Literature||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022|
|ENGL337||2021||Creative Writing: Travel Narratives||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL340||2021||Modernism: Joyce||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL341||2021||Irish-Scots Gothic and the Gothic as Genre||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL342||2021||Digital Literature: Technologies of Storytelling||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL350||2021||Special Topic: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Poetry||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL351||2021||Special Topic: 21st Century Fiction: Reading Today's World||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL353||2021||Reading Minds: Literature and Psychology||18 points||Second Semester|
|ENGL368||2021||Engaging Literary Stories||18 points||First Semester|
|ENGL404||2021||A Topic in English Language||20 points||Full Year|
|ENGL408||2021||Writing the Nation: Fact or Fiction||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL465||2021||A Topic in New Zealand Literature||20 points||Full Year|
|ENGL467||2021||Special Topic: Storyworlds and Cognition||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL469||2021||A Topic in Modernism||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL471||2021||A Topic in Romanticism||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL473||2021||A Topic in 19th Century Literature||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL474||2021||Special Topic||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL476||2021||A Topic in English Literature 1660-1800||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|ENGL477||2021||A Topic in American Literature||20 points||Full Year|
|ENGL478||2021||A Topic in Postcolonial Literatures||20 points||Full Year|
|ENGL490||2021||Dissertation||60 points||Full Year|
|ENGL590||2021||Research Dissertation||60 points||1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period|