English Literature

Undergraduate study | English and Scottish Literature

Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, we are the oldest department of English Literature in the UK; one of the longest established in the world. Study with us and develop your analytic, linguistic and creative skills by engaging with a broad range of texts and a variety of approaches to reading.

Why study literature in Edinburgh?

By enhancing your unique literary and critical faculties, studying literature prepares you to contribute to a society in which an understanding of texts of all kinds is crucially important. On our courses, you will explore the cultural contexts of writing in English (and, where relevant, Scots) from around the world, from the late Middle Ages to the present, and develop a detailed knowledge of specific topics, periods or genres, depending on your interests.

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), and annual writing prizes for prose and verse. We also have a fantastic Writer-in-Residence.

You’ll be based at the heart of the University of Edinburgh in a world-leading festival city with an unrivalled range of libraries, collections and literary venues, from the National Library of Scotland to the Scottish Poetry Library, Writers’ Museum, and Scottish Storytelling Centre. We have strong links with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which annually welcomes around 1,000 authors to our literary city.

Edinburgh is a place where culture, literature and history coalesce, and students at the University have the privilege of being surrounded with. One of the best things about studying English Literature here is that academic study is only part of the whole experience; the extra-curriculars add so much.

Aarti, Year 2, English Literature & History MA (Hons)Aarti is this year's Poetry Editor of The Inkwell, the bi-annual magazine of PublishED, the society for publishing at the University of Edinburgh.

QS World Rankings by Subject 2021

World rankings graphic with rocket
The University of Edinburgh is ranked 3rd in the UK for English Language and Literature.
We are also 3rd in the UK in the broad subject area of Arts & Humanities.
Globally, we place 7th for English Language and Literature; 11th for Arts & Humanities.
The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings are based on research citations and the results of major global surveys of employers and academics.
They are International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) approved.

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