English Literature

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

Are you interested in studying a range of developments in English literature? From their beginnings to their development and where they are now you can look in depth at the world of literature. 

If you’re a keen researcher, reader and like to write then this is definitely an area you could pursue! 

What is English Literature?

English Literature refers to the study of texts that are written in the English language. It is a body of written texts which range from the 7th century to the present day. These texts include poetry, drama and prose fiction. Students will engage in debate, analysing and theorising texts..

What third level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas: 

  • Classical Civilisation/English Literature
  • English Language & Literature
  • English Literature – Humanities
  • English Literature/Classical Languages
  • English Literature/History
  • English Literature/Drama Studies
  • English Literature/Philosophy
  • English Literature/Sociology

This is only a selection of courses. There is a wide range to choose from so be sure to do your research. 

Studying English Literature in college

There are a number of undergraduate courses in this area that will give you a strong grounding in English literature and help you decide what direction you want to take your career. Almost all courses are 4 years in length. English Literature is often paired with another related subject often in joint honours courses. 

Studying English literature in first year will be largely focused on introducing you to what English literature is and help you to gain an understanding in order to go forward and be ready to study specific content and bodies of work more in depth. In your first year you might look at areas such as the critical theories, practices and approaches to literature. You may look at modules from Irish writing to Shakespeare. 

As you course continues, you will look at more complex pieces and may even have the opportunity to pick modules that best suit your interests through having specialist options. You may be able to explore areas you’ve never known before and develop all the skills and knowledge you will need in order to be able to continue on and work or study in the field. 

In cases where you’re studying for an Arts degree or similar there may be the opportunity to study abroad. Specific course content and modules may differ from course to course but overall you will gain an in depth knowledge of all things English literature.  

Career Options

A popular career path in this area is to go in the route of teaching. Students of english literature may choose to teach English at secondary level or even teach abroad. Many chose to specialise in a particular area of english literature and may go into the role of researching or lecturing in universities and colleges.

Similarly, there is the option to go in the direction of writing, journalism or media in general. English is a broad area so a postgraduate degree in the area you have the most interest in working will mostly be necessary to get on to your path. 

Skills and qualities that are helpful in this area include a passion for reading, strong communication skills, strong reading and writing skills, and interest in researching, self motivated, enjoy discussion and debate, the ability to find own opinions and answers and an excellent grasp of the English language. 

Related Jobs

  • Writer
  • Journalist
  • Teaching
  • PR and communications
  • Advertising
  • Media work 

Further Study

Visit postgrad.ie for more information.


Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should

include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English. 

PLC courses will accept Leaving Certificate results. Specific courses may have their own requirements. For example, some courses may have a certain interview process or expect a portfolio of sorts so it is always important to look into these things in depth. 

Points for courses in English Literature ranged from 281 points to 529 points in 2020. The highest points were required to study English Literature/History in Trinity College Dublin while the fewest points were required for English Language and Literature – Arts in Mary Immaculate College. 

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • “I am.” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
  • The only 15 letter word that can be spelt without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.
  • All of the roles in Shakespeare’s plays were originally acted by men and boys. In England at that time, it wasn’t proper for females to appear on stage.


Aedín Dunne

Disability Studies
Digital Media


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We'd love to send you the latest news and articles about evening classes, further learning and adult education by email. We'll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.

Comments and Reviews Policy