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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.
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Female student using laptop for taking notes to study


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

Embarking on a career with the BBC after graduation I found that Durham University is held in very high esteem amongst employers. The University name provided me with an association of prestige which helped to give an edge in a competitive market.

Julia Wooton
BBC Producer


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. 

700 students
70 staff

Our Environment

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

A white Georgian building in an autumnal garden

Hallgarth House