Undergraduate study in English

What can you study in English?

You can study texts from all over the English-speaking world, and literature from the medieval period up to the present. English examines the roles texts have played in different cultures and at different periods. It considers the different ways readers have approached texts, and how gender, race and other aspects of our identities have influenced writers and readers.

You will pay close attention to how texts achieve their effects and develop your skills in critical thinking. There are also opportunities to develop your own writing practice, including creative writing.

If you want to study English as a language, consider the separate subjects Academic English Studies, Linguistics or Academic English Studies and Linguistics.

Undergraduate programmes in English

You can study English as a BA major or take elective courses.

Find out about your options for the Bachelor of Arts

From 2018 the BA minor in English will no longer be available for new admissions. If you are currently enrolled in the minor, please seek advice from the Arts Students’ Centre.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English

If you are beginning a BA in 2018

You can take a major in English as one of your two BA majors (a double major). You will need to pass at least 120 points (eight courses) towards each of your majors, including at least 45 points (three courses) at Stage III.

If you first enrolled in a BA prior to 2018

To construct a major or minor, you may range broadly, or establish 'pathways' through a course of study. You may wish to specialise in early literature, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in recent literature, in postcolonial (including New Zealand) literature. You may prefer to focus on a particular genre, such as fiction. Or you may wish to concentrate on the theory and practice of writing, including creative writing.

However it is required that all majoring students take at least 15 points (one course) from each of two prescribed lists of courses, one in earlier literature and one in literary theory, offered at Stages II and III. Minoring students are required to take any one course (at least 15 points) from the earlier literature list.

Requirements for a BA major and minor

For a single major you must pass at least 135 points, including at least 60 points above Stage II.

For a double major you must pass at least 120 points in each of two majors, including at least 45 points above Stage II in each major.

For a BA minor you must pass at least 90 points, including at least 60 points above Stage I. BA minors will be discontinued for new admissions from 2018. If you are currently enrolled in a minor, please seek advice from the Arts Students’ Centre.

University regulations for the Bachelor of Arts.

How to choose your courses

You must choose your courses from those listed in the BA schedule for English. You must also meet any specific requirements indicated in the schedule.

2018 BA schedule for English

For help with degree planning

Arts Students' Centre

Planning your major in English

You may range broadly across the courses available, or establish your own pathway in a specialised area. For example, you could choose to focus on medieval literature, fiction, post-colonial literature or the theory and practice of writing.

For a major in English you must study some pre-twentieth century literature.

Subjects related to English

You can enhance your study of English by taking other subjects which deal with texts and language.

Drama and Media, Film and Television are closely connected to English. Classical Studies, Greek and Latin are relevant to Medieval and Renaissance literature, while the connections between literature and Philosophy go back to Aristotle and Plato. History and Art History complement the study of historical literature. Psychology, Pacific Studies and Political Studies will also complement your study of English.