Students have the option of studying either English Studies (Single Honors) or English Literature (Joint Honors).
The study of English is concerned with the history and practices of writing in English and encompasses literary works spanning English, Anglo-Irish, American and post-colonial cultures. It aims to develop a thorough knowledge of the history of these literatures while also enabling students to develop a sophisticated critical consciousness and an awareness of critical and cultural theory. Compared to English Literature (Joint Honors) students, English Studies students cover a longer historical range (including before 1300) and also consider topics such as Popular Literature and Childhood Literature.
If you want to study the whole range of developments in English and related literatures, from their earliest beginnings through to contemporary studies in the language, you would enjoy either English Literature or English Studies. If you are interested in English Literature in conjunction with another field (such as History or Philosophy), Joint Honors is probably the best option for you; conversely, if your primary interest in English, you might consider English Studies.
Trinity is ranked 28th in the world for English Language and Literature (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019). Our commitment to small-group teaching means that you will benefit from close personal staff supervision, so that your writing and discussion skills develop.
Our English courses have been designed to develop independence of critical thought and the articulation of informed discussion, both oral and written. Much of your work will be undertaken independently, and you will have at your disposal the resources of one of the world’s great libraries, with rich resources in the full range of literature in English.
The School of English also co-ordinates many non-syllabus activities, such as lecture series, conferences and symposia, guest lecturers (such as Anne Enright, winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize, and Paula Meehan, the Ireland Professor of Poetry) and visiting writers including Richard Ford, the Pulitzer prizewinning author.
The School actively supports several journals of creative and critical writing by undergraduates. Many of our students are involved in student societies, where they take part in activities such as journalism, debating and theatre. In this way we ensure that your time studying English at Trinity is exciting and intense.
The pathways available are Single Honors and Joint Honors.
Trinity’s School of English graduates gain leading roles in intellectual, professional and public life. The skills developed by students of English are in high demand from employers, especially in journalism, broadcasting, teaching, advertising, marketing and business, arts management, publishing, law and diplomacy. Recent graduates work in Google, the Irish Times, the Department of Foreign Affairs, RTÉ and PwC.
The four-year degree provides an outstanding platform for postgraduate study in English, and usually about 30% of our graduates go on to read for a higher degree in English (Master’s degree, PhD degree).
Many well-known creative writers are Trinity English graduates, including Eavan Boland, Deirdre Madden, Michael Longley, John Connolly, Derek Mahon, Brendan Kennelly, Anne Enright and Paula Meehan.
The English courses are designed so that the first year consists of compulsory modules, taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. In the second year there are further compulsory modules, but you will also take approved modules outside English. In the third and fourth year, students choose between a large number of option modules in English, reflecting the great variety of expertise among the staff.
The first and second year provide an introduction to a variety of critical theories, practices and approaches to literature. You will primarily concentrate on selected prescribed texts. Examples of first and second year modules include: Genres, Irish Writing, Imagining the Middle Ages, Shakespeare, Writing Childhoods, Pulp: Introduction to Popular Literature, American Literature, Postcolonial Literature and Imagining the Contemporary.
In the third and fourth years, you will choose most of your modules from a wide range of specialist options. By fourth year, modules are taught at an advanced level in small group seminars. Examples of third and fourth year modules may include: Creative Writing, Ulysses in Contexts, African and Caribbean Literature, Irish Crime Fiction, Global Shakespeare, Modernism, American Writing, Children’s Literature, Popular Literature, Seven Basic Plots, Art Writing, History of the English Language and a Capstone project.
Assessment is by a combination of submitted essays, journals, dissertation and end-of-semester examinations. In first and second year the weighting is approximately 66% submitted work and 33% final examinations. In third and fourth year it may vary depending on the modules chosen, although submission of a Capstone project is compulsory for all final year students.
Students in the School of English may apply to study abroad on the Erasmus programme in Europe or on an exchange in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Singapore and China during their third year. For more information on study abroad destinations and requirements visit: www.tcd.ie/study/non-eu/study-abroad