Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Subject area: English Literature and Scottish Literature

Why choose English Literature and Scottish Literature at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We're ranked in the world's top 15 universities for English Language and Literature in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019.

  • Based in the first UNESCO World City of Literature, we are the oldest department of English Literature in the UK and one of the longest established in the world.

  • 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 and a thriving Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme (LitPALS). Our students organise their own annual literature conference, and we also have a fantastic Writer-in-Residence.

  • English Literature is a popular subject, but we teach and learn in smaller groups, typically under ten students in a tutorial group (seminars range from 10-15).

  • Our teaching staff are also highly active researchers, passing on to you the same passion and world-class expertise that gained excellent results in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. In English language and literature, 80 per cent of our research was rated either world-leading or internationally excellent on the overall quality profile.

Study abroad

I’ve always appreciated the power of literature, the way that it can inspire and shape the world around it, whilst painting a different picture in the mind of every reader.

Chloe-Anne Banks 3rd year MA (Hons) English Literature & History
Chloe-Anne Banks 3rd year MA (Hons) English Literature & History

Introducing English Literature and Scottish Literature

Studying literature at the University of Edinburgh allows you to develop a deeper understanding of how literary texts work, and of the varying and vital roles they play in our lives and societies, past and present.

Our courses cover writing from a vast range of English-speaking cultures and all major periods in history, medieval to postmodern. Tracing the evolution of literary thinking, you’ll study individual works, their authors and historical contexts, learning to compare different writing styles and genres, and exploring how works have been interpreted in different ways over time.

You can take a single honours programme in either English Literature or Scottish Literature, combine both in a joint programme, or take either with one of a wide range of other subjects, including English Language and a number of European languages. You’ll engage with a broad spectrum of courses in Years 1 and 2, then specialise thereafter in the periods and genres that interest you most.

You’ll be based at the heart of the University 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 also have strong links with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which annually welcomes around 1,000 authors to our literary city.