English and Scottish Literature


Projects, centres, networks and publications in English and Scottish Literature.

Research in English Literature, and the benefits it has brought to a range of partners and beneficiaries, have received outstanding endorsements in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) – the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

Photo of five people on stage rehearsing for a play with graphic saying 5th in the UK
How Not to Drown by Nicola McCartney and Dritan Kastrati, Thick Skin Theatre Company and Traverse Theatre, co-produced with Tron Theatre and Lawrence Batley Theatre.

In Times Higher Education, English at Edinburgh is ranked fifth in the UK (out of more than 90 institutions) for the overall quality of its publications and other outputs, the impact of its research on people’s lives, and its supportive research environment.

Over 90 per cent of our research and impact is classed as world-leading and internationally excellent by Research Professional. 69 per cent is graded at the world-leading level – the highest of the REF’s four categories.

We have received this standout evaluation for research that ranges across literary history from the later Middle Ages to the present day, and is at the forefront of interdisciplinary fields including Digital and Environmental Humanities and studies of the history and future of books and material culture. Our submission covered collaboration with researchers in disciplines as varied as Education, Economic History, Informatics, and Astronomy.

We are particularly pleased that our research environment has been assessed as 100 per cent world-leading for the support we give to postgraduate and early career researchers, our research facilities, and our partnerships and collaborations within and beyond the University.

Browse Edinburgh Research Explorer for staff profiles, research outputs and activities


Selected research centres and networks

Research centres and networks range from formal collaborations to informal groups of researchers working together on a theme or challenge.

A number are based in - or are affiliated with - English and Scottish Literature; others are based elsewhere in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), the University of Edinburgh, or the wider academic community, but involve our staff and students.

The groups provide opportunities for researchers at all career stages to work together with partners and stakeholders in organising events, workshopping publications, engaging audiences outside the academy, and exploring ideas for future projects and funding bids.

Here are just a few of our current groups, and significant networks that are no longer live but have left a legacy of networking and collaboration...

Selected research projects 

Postgraduate research and supervision

Doctorate-level study is an opportunity to make an original, positive contribution to research in literature and related fields.

As the oldest department of English Literature in the UK, based in one of the largest and most diverse Schools in the University of Edinburgh, we are the ideal place for PhD study.

We also offer a one year Masters by Research degree, which is a good stepping stone between undergraduate and doctoral study.

Our interdisciplinary environment brings together specialists in all periods and genres of literature and literary analysis. Given the breadth and depth of our expertise, we are able to support students wishing to develop research projects in any field of Anglophone literary studies.

Find out more about postgraduate study in English and Scottish Literature

Read our pre-application guidance on writing a PhD research proposal

Beyond the books

Beyond the Books is a podcast that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at research in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures and the people who make it happen. 

To date, hosts Ellen and Emma have talked to the following researchers from our community in English and Scottish Literature:

Browse all episodes of Beyond the Books