English Literature

About us

Welcome to English and Scottish Literature at the University of Edinburgh.

A UNESCO World City of Literature, Edinburgh is a remarkable place to study, write, publish, discuss and perform prose, poetry and drama.

Distant view of Edinburgh Castle at night

Having first offered courses on ‘rhetoric and belles lettres’ over 250 years ago, we are the oldest department of English Literature in the world.

We teach over 30 single and joint MA undergraduate honours programmes in English and Scottish Literature, all of which take four years to complete, and a full range of taught and research-led postgraduate programmes, from one-year masters degrees to PhDs.

Study with us and you will be based in the historic centre of a world-leading festival city, close to the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh Central Library, Scottish Poetry Library, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Writers’ Museum and a fantastic range of publishing houses, bookshops, and theatres. We have strong links with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which annually welcomes around 1,000 authors to our literary city.

With multiple student societies for literature and drama enthusiasts, our large community has lots to offer, including reading and writers’ groups, poetry slams, creative writing magazines, guest seminars, a thriving Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme (LitPALS) for undergraduates, and annual writing prizes for prose and verse. We also have a fantastic Writer-in-Residence.

We are home to the Scottish Writing in the 19th Century project and network, the Centre for the History of the Book, and Scotland’s Early Literature for Children Initiative, and are collaborators in the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network.