Do you enjoy reading and writing? Novels, plays, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction help shape and reflect our individual identities and collective culture. Studying literature opens up worlds and times beyond our experience. It also helps us understand – and question – our own social, natural, and technological environments.
Students of English develop skills in research, interpretation, analysis, formulating an argument, and writing clearly and precisely. This skillset is useful for a huge range of occupations, such as journalism, law, communications, publications, and creative writing.
- UC is ranked in the top 200 universities in the world for English Language and Literature (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2019).
- In addition to teaching the core areas of our discipline – the novel, theatre, 20th century literature – the Department of English offers courses in exciting new fields such as children's literature, human-animal studies, digital literary studies, and popular fiction (including science fiction, horror, and fantasy fiction). We also have a variety of courses that teach writing, both academic and creative, both fiction and non-fiction.
Prior study in English is helpful, or in classics, theatre and drama, history, or media studies at school – but the best background is simply a love of reading and writing, and an interest in the cultures, stories, and ideas that surround us every day.
UC offers a major and a minor in English as part of the Bachelor of Arts.
To complete a major in English within the Bachelor of Arts, you will need to take the following courses throughout the degree:
And at least one course chosen from:
- ENGL 102 Great Works
- ENGL 103 The Outsider
- ENGL 117 Writing for Academic Success or WRIT 101 Writing for Academic Success
- Three 200-level ENGL courses
- Three 200-level ENGL courses
For the English minor in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Sport Coaching, or Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership, you will need to take these courses throughout your chosen degree:
- 75 points in 100 to 300-level ENGL courses, with at least 45 points at 200-level or above
A degree in English can take you to surprising places. The skills learned in studying English – the close reading and careful analysis of texts; the ability to write clearly, concisely, and creatively; and the skill to both make and critique arguments – are essential to success not only in education, but also in a wide range of work environments.
Among our graduates are an Aotearoa New Zealand ambassador; a former chief political reporter for TVNZ; a political commentator for a national newspaper; a couple of prize-winning novelists (including Eleanor Catton of Man Booker fame); a prize-winning film-maker; a museum curator; a cultural event organiser for Te Papa; an art gallery manager; a theatre director; a local television presenter; a number of publishers' editors; members of parliament; and policy advisors in the Treasury, the Education Ministry, and the State Services Commission.
What these people learned in their English degree impressed employers looking for people who could read, write, speak, and think clearly, effectively, and creatively.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in English.
Level 6, Karl Popper building – see campus maps
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
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