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About Us

We are one of few university English departments in the world who teach and research in literature produced in Britain from the early medieval period to the present day as well as in anglophone literature from across the globe. Our teaching and research combine conceptual and theoretical reflection, analysis of historical and cultural contexts, close attention to literary texts and primary sources, and the imaginative creation of new writing.
Meet our staff
Female student using laptop for taking notes to study

Our Teaching

Our teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels spans the historical range of the discipline of English Studies. Students work in small group tutorials, as well as lectures, seminars and one-to-one sessions with academic staff, and gain a thorough grounding in the genres, forms, histories and cultures of literature in English, with opportunities to specialise. We inspire students to become analytic, sensitive and creative readers and writers, equipping our graduates with the key skills and independent thinking that makes them highly sought by employers.

A busy student seminar

In terms of studying English at Durham, the range of focuses on the course means that you get to work with a variety of literature before you eventually tailor the course to your interests. Certainly, the expertise of the professors in the English Department is an advantage, as well as their constant willingness to help and guide you.

Kai Costelloe
BA English Literature

Our Research

Our research is at the forefront of developments in the discipline. We regularly publish influential academic books and essays that are drawn on by students and other researchers around the globe, and we publish acclaimed creative work in fiction, non-fiction and poetryOur research has regional, national and international impact. We work with partner institutions such as the Durham Book Festival and Edinburgh International Book Festival, with theatre audiences, and with medical practitionerspatients and carers through the Institute for Medical Humanities, and with many other public and private organisations.  

Postgraduate Photography 2011

Our Community

We are a community of around 600 undergraduates, 120 postgraduates, 60 academic staff and 10 administrative staff. 

We are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity within our community, and to being diverse and accessible. We are proud to be an Athena Swan Bronze award holder 2020-2024. Our students and staff come from a wide range of backgroundscultures and nations. The Department welcomes international students, 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. 

Group of people smiling with globe

The chance to study under experts in each module and debate your ideas with your peers is a privilege.

Luke Power
BA English Literature

Our Environment

The Department of English Studies is mainly situated in three buildings: Hallgarth House, a Georgian listed building, provides accommodation for the many teaching and administrative staff; 42 Old Elvet is a Georgian listed building, housing academic staff as well as providing teaching spaces; Elvet Riverside houses many academic staff and stands beside the River Wear. 

View our location relative to other facilities, such as the University Library, and explore our buildings in a 360 virtual tour

Durham has a distinct literary culture, and is a wonderful city in which to study English.

Josh Haslett
MA English Literary Studies, 2023
Front View of Hallgarth House - a Georgian building - with a car parked outside

Hallgarth House

Front View of 42 Old Elvet - a Georgian town house - with a car parked outside

42 Old Elvet

View of the Elvet Riverside building with river and trees

Elvet Riverside River View


Get in touch

Contact us to find out more about our courses and research.

Department of English Studies

Hallgarth House  

77 Hallgarth Street  

Durham City  

DH1 3AY 

Tel: +44 (0)191 334 2500