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Undergraduate Courses

From Anglo-Saxon epics to Renaissance drama to contemporary novels from the Anglophone world – English is a rich and varied degree. 

You can study English Literature as part of the following courses:

Whichever route you take, our aim is to stimulate a living interest in literature and to equip you with a basis of knowledge and methods of study that will help you to choose and formulate your own positions. 


Teaching for all our degree programmes is by a mixture of: 

  • Lectures: to set the foundations for study 
  • Seminars: to allow you and other students to present and discuss topics 
  • Tutorials: small groups with individual contact between students and staff 
  • Essays: tutorial essays are not always used for formal assessment, but the feedback you receive on your work will shape your approach to writing and analysis of literary texts 
  • Dissertation: during your third year you will submit a dissertation on a subject of your choice in consultation with a member of staff in the Department 

Assessment may include a mixture of examinations, long essays, portfolios, and a dissertation. A few modules may be assessed by a mixture of coursework and examination.

Creative Writing 

Our award-winning creative writers cover poetry, fiction, life-writing, and creative non-fiction.  

Creative Writing opportunities begin at undergraduate level, where English students can choose optional modules in creative writing, or practice their work through student-led groups such as Durham University Poetry Society. 

The Creative Writing MA at Durham is an academically rigorous programme that gives students structured support through writing workshops and one-to-one tutorials in order to develop practical knowledge of writing poetry and prose fiction. Students also study a broad range of literature from the 20th and 21st centuries, and produce new work in response.  

We also offer a Creative Writing PhD or MLitt, in which you will produce a complete and coherent creative writing project in your chosen form, plus a literary-critical dissertation of a high academic standard. 

Several of our students have gone on to achieve success and recognition with their published creative work.