English Studies


The Master of English Studies (MES) is one of Australia’s premier postgraduate coursework degrees in English studies. It attracts local and international students who seek a comprehensive and highly regarded coursework degree in English literature and who may also be using the MES as a stepping stone to entering doctoral studies in Australia or overseas.

English teachers find the MES an excellent way to enrich their subject knowledge and develop their love of literature. Furthermore, teachers in New South Wales may apply to the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards to claim a proportion of their coursework hours as recognised professional learning.

The Master of English Studies offers graduates opportunities to pursue or advance careers in any vocation or area that demands intellectual flexibility and versatility, critical thinking and the ability to communicate such as teaching, the media, the arts and cultural industries, public service, and academia.

This course brings together contemporary critical theory with literary narratives to investigate how and why literature continues to have an impact on our lives in the twenty-first century. We focus on four core critical approaches: critical reading, literary history, genre, and the question of English as a world literature. Part of this program's aim is to consider ways in which the study of literature in English resonates within contemporary contexts, including specifically Australian cultural contexts, as well as the repositioning of Australia within contemporary global cultures. It provides an excellent foundation for research students, both from Australia and overseas, who wish to reconsider literature in English within a dynamically expanding global field.

See also Creative Writing

Awards and requirements

Please refer to the course rules in this handbook for further information on the specific admission requirements for different coursework award courses.

Master of English Studies
Candidates for the Master of English Studies must complete 72 credit points, including:

  • a minimum of 24 credit points of core units of study
  • a maximum of 42 credit points of elective units of study
  • a minimum of 6 credit points of capstone unit of study

Graduate Diploma in English Studies
Candidates for the Graduate Diploma in English Studies must complete 48 credit points, including:

  • a minimum of 24 credit points of core units of study
  • a maximum of 24 credit points of elective units of study

Graduate Certificate English Studies
Candidates for the Graduate Certificate in English Studies must complete 24 credit points including:

  • a minimum of 12 credit points of core units of study
  • a maximum of 12 credit points of elective units of study
Learning outcomes

At the completion of the Master of English Studies, a student will be able to:

No. Learning outcome
1 Understand disciplinary approaches or practice methods in English Studies.
2 Apply research principles and methods relevant to English Studies.
3 Interpret and deploy a broad range of conceptual frameworks, and display independence in the integration of bodies of knowledge into position statements about English Studies.
4 Understand how cultural narratives are placed within a social and historical continuum, and recognise how neither literary expression nor critical responses to it are value-free.
5 Be receptive to current debates about the place of Humanities in public life.
6 Express ideas through speech, writing and other communication technologies for the purposes of conveying information to different audiences.
7 Map out an original line of enquiry and contribute to the development of new forms of knowledge.
8 Produce a capstone project that engages with the current state of the field and takes the critical conversation forward.
Reduced volume of learning (RVL)

Candidates for the Masters program who have completed previous study in a relevant discipline may be eligible for a reduction in the requirements in accordance with the table below.

Level of prior learning Full-time duration Credit points to complete
AQF Level 8 eg. Honours in a relevant discipline, as determined by the Faculty 1 year 48


Contacts and further information

Contact details can be found on these websites:

Department of English
School of Literature, Art and Media