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Department of English Studies

About Us

We are a leading centre for undergraduate teaching, and host a thriving community of postgraduate scholars, literary critics, and interdisciplinary researchers. Our recent successes include:


Our teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels spans the whole of the discipline of English Studies, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. Students gain a solid base for the study of English Literature, while having the opportunity to specialise. We draw on a variety of different methodological perspectives, encouraging students to discover new approaches and to develop their own responses. This equips our graduates with the key skills and independent thinking that makes them highly sought by employers.

Students are taught in lectures and seminars, as well as small tutorial groups and one-to-one supervisions. Lectures are not compulsory, but tutorials and seminars are: undergraduates are expected to see their tutors regularly, and to prepare essays or shorter pieces for tutorial or seminar discussion. The University Library holds strong general collections in literary studies in its main building on Stockton Road as well as specialist collections on Palace Green. Both libraries are within easy walking distance of the Department.

The Department's ethos is that teaching and research should complement one another at all levels of academic enquiry, from first-year tutorials to the specialised supervision available to MA and doctoral postgraduates. Our work combines a strong sense of tradition with a commitment to innovation and new approaches.


Our research has regional, national and international impacts. We work with partner institutions such as the Durham Book Festival, with medical practitioners through the Centre for Medical Humanities, and with many other public and private organisations. The department is committed to engaging public audiences through its programme of events.

Our student community

Both the University and the Department are large enough to challenge and small enough to nurture, at all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate study. The mix is lively and inclusive, with students coming from all social backgrounds and all parts of the UK and abroad. The Department welcomes mature students as well as students who have taken 'gap' years.We also welcome Erasmus students and visiting students from universities in the United States.

Our formal teaching is complemented by exciting programmes of public lectures, research seminars, and readings by renowned writers.

Our environment

Founded in 1832, Durham University is the third oldest University in England and one of the most distinguished and distinctive in the UK. Durham is a small and ancient city. Its castle and cathedral form a World Heritage site and its colleges, library, and arts and sporting facilities provide a lively and congenial environment in which to study.The Department of English Studies is mainly situated in two buildings, Hallgarth House and Elvet Riverside. Hallgarth House, a Georgian listed building, provides accommodation for the majority of its teaching and administrative staff. Elvet Riverside stands beside the River Wear.

Contact Us

Our Staff

We are a leading centre for undergraduate teaching, and host a thriving community of postgraduate scholars, literary critics, and interdisciplinary researchers.

Complete University Guide 2019

The English Studies department is ranked 1st in the UK by the Complete University Guide for the 6th year in a row.

Durham subjects in QS World Subject Rankings Top 50