English at UCD

badgeStudy English atUCD if you are an enthusiastic reader, talker and writer, and love literature.  Strengthen your understanding of narrative, poetic and dramatic forms.  Enlarge your critical vocabulary and historical awareness.  Explore how the study of literature intersects with questions of gender, politics and cultural theory.  Learn how to research a topic, evaluate evidence and present your ideas in a cogent, elegant fashion.  Become a creative and dynamic critic yourself!‌

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Please note that UCD Registration information will be available from early August on the following webpage:



Registration information 2017-18

Joint Honours English Students (all Stages) 

Single Honours English (all Stages) 


Stage 3 Options Booklet 2017-18

Level 3 Options List A

Level 3 Options List B


Click here for module reading lists for Stages 1-3.

While you can study English as one of a number of pathways, the School also offers the opportunity to study English on its own. 

DN511 Single Honours English in University College Dublin:

Information for Prospective Students

Do you love English literature? Would you like to take a UCD Arts degree programme in which you could specialize in English and cover all the periods and genres of literary studies, concentrating on just one major? If so, you may be interested in applying to DN511 Single Honours English.

The Single Honours English BA degree is a prestigious and specialized degree which offers a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves wholly in English literary studies, from its origins to new writing being published today. You will study texts ranging from the medieval and early modern periods to the nineteenth through to the twenty-first century - writing which extends across national boundaries and regional specializations, from British to Irish to American to World Literature, and covering multiple genres of literature, from poetry to fiction to drama. In your third year you will write a major research dissertation on a topic of your choice, under one-to-one supervision by a staff member in the School.

This is an intensive, but rewarding programme attracting dedicated, capable students who are passionate about literature and who are excited by the prospect of more challenging reading loads and more in-depth theoretical frameworks. As a Single Honours English student, you will be participating in one-and-a-half-hour seminars involving intensive discussion with your peers. You will be engaging deeply with texts and ideas and honing your critical thinking and analytical skills. In the process you have the opportunity to develop a sense of close community with your coursemates.

Entry to this programme is compeditive, with about 15 places available in First Year English; between five and ten further students may join in second year – these are joint honours students who perform with particular excellence and committment in first year, and who have applied to join Single Honours English.

In Stage One (First Year), Single Honours students must take four core English modules – Literature in Context 1 (shared with Joint Honours students), Literature in Context 2 (shared with Joint Honours students), How to Read a Poem (Single-Honours students only), and Writing the Body (Single-Honours students only). In addition, Single Honours students are very strongly encouraged to take two further important English modules, which also lay the groundwork of your degree: Contemporary Irish Writing and Literary Genre (both also shared with Joint Honours).

In Stage Two (Second Year), Single Honours students take eight core lecture modules in English to give them a grounding in all the periods and genres of English literature (Joint Honours students also take a smaller number of these same modules). These modules include Critical Theory, Medieval Literature, Renaissance Literature, Romanticism, Victorian to Modern Literature, Irish Literature, Modern American Literature, and Twentieth-Century Drama. Single Honours English students also take dedicated core seminars in “Spenser in Ireland," and "Reading Old English I," and have the opportunity to take dedicated in-programme electives in "Ten Poems," and "The English Novel."

In Stage 3 (Third Year), Single Honours students take a range of five elective option seminars (also taken by Joint Honours students)  as well as the three core Single Honours-only seminars "Modernism and Women’s Fiction," "World Literature," and "Reading Old English II," and two Single Honours-only dissertation modules – “Dissertation Research Methods” and “Dissertation”. 

The Dissertation is the crowning project of the Single Honours English final year, giving students the opportunity to develop crucial research skills and pursue an independent research project in a subject of their choice (up to 8000 words) over the course of a year, under the supervision of a member of the lecturing staff. A first-semester module in Dissertation Research Methods prepares the students and helps them develop the research proposals, journals and bibliographies which they will need to complete independent writing on their dissertation itself in the final term of their degree programme.


For more info contact the Single Honours English Coordinator: Dr. Catriona Clutterbuck Catriona.Clutterbuck@ucd.ie

The structure of the undergraduate English programme made it easy for me to explore my interests, and create a path that worked for me. First year provided me with a broad spectrum of English Literature, setting me up with critical thinking skills that would be crucial not only in English, but also useful in my other subject. As I progressed through second and third year, I could hone in on the topics I was most interested in, tailoring the course to be focused around these areas. With such an individualised course, I was never stuck studying a topic that bored me.

---Anna Graham, Joint Honours English Student, Class of 2016


I originally chose to study English because I liked to read. Studying English at UCD, however, has introduced me to a fascinating world of critical and cultural theory I now look forward to continuing my learning in. Getting to study English as a single subject major, in particular, allowed me the opportunity to gain a far stronger footing and deeper understanding of my chosen research area, and forge influential, formative relationships with many members of the school’s staff. Through the school, I also got the chance to study abroad for a year in Barcelona. This time — exploring a new culture and meeting new people from around the world — has been, without a doubt, the greatest experience of my life. My time at UCD — the diverse learning material, passionate and supportive staff, and close bond with my classmates — is something that I will carry with me for years to come.

---Seán Hayes, Single Honours English Student, Class of 2017


Going back to education after nearly three decades seemed daunting. It turned out to be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. The reason I came to UCD was to deepen my knowledge of English literature. I was not expecting to discover a passion for the plays of Shakespeare and Beckett; the novels of Dickens and Woolf; or the poetry of Marvell and Heaney. In my third year, I found myself immersed in Elizabethan Ireland as I completed a dissertation on Edmund Spenser. It hasn’t all been easy but every step of the way I have received guidance and encouragement from the teaching staff and fellow students. For me, UCD is where new discoveries have become lifelong passions.

---Pearse McCaughey, Single Honours English Student, Class of 2017


I started my undergrad in English literature without really knowing what to expect. Having a great love for reading, writing and storytelling, I initially saw my BA as means of encountering a diverse range of literature, not necessarily looking ahead to what I’d do once my degree was complete. Fortunately, not only did I acquire a valuable set of skills over the course of my studies, emerging as an effective communicator and critical thinker, but also discovered a passion for Medieval and Early Medieval literature. Now, coming towards the end of an MA in medieval literature and culture, I am considering pursuing a PhD in the near future, with an eye towards a career in academia. A useful skill set, an array of new interests and a close circle of friends have made my BA in English literature a truly memorable and worthwhile experience, one that I would unreservedly recommend.

---Karl Milne, Single Honours English Student, Class of 2016

We are now offering attractive new General Elective-only modules designed specifically for students from other programmes who are interested in taking English modules as part of their General Elective credit.  Modules offered in 2017-18 include:


General Elective-only modules

Sem. One and Two

ENG10020 Children’s Literature

Siobhán Kane

Sem. One x 1

ENG10170 Contemporary Dystopian Fiction

Dr Deirdre Flynn

Sem. Two x 2

ENG10180 Comics and Fantasy

Dr Darragh Greene

Sem. One x 1

ENG10190 Introduction to Canadian Studies

Professor Diane Urquhart, Craig Dobbin Chair of Canadian Studies


There are also General Elective places in most of our Level One and Level Two English modules.

What do graduates of the School go on to do?

Our graduates go on to an enormous range of careers, from creative writing to filmmaking, by way of journalism, publishing, teaching and consulting. Our graduates are distinguished by their ability to adapt to a flexible and global labour market. The BA programme supports them in developing valuable employment skills including research, teamwork, problem-solving and communication skills, among others. Graduates of Arts programmes are in increasing demand in technology companies for their writing skills, lateral thinking and flexibility. Some of the many areas in which our graduates have flourished include education, media, performing arts, government, business, heritage and arts management, law and technology. UCD is particularly well known for its wealth of creative graduates, our writers, poets and dramatists, who cut their teeth during their undergraduate years. Many of our graduates also go on to postgraduate research, growing into the scholars and thinkers who shape the culture of the next generations.

Career Development @ UCD

While our students go on to pursue a wide range of avenues, they are supported by the School’s new Career Mentoring Scheme, in which final year students are matched with a graduate of the School who is now professional in a particular area, including journalism, arts administration, teaching, writing, business. The mentor provides guidance and advice on developing your career - this may include looking at your CV, suggesting directions to follow, and giving general advice on your postgraduate path. See more at the UCD Career Development Centre

English Studies Undergraduate Office

Pauline Slattery pauline.slattery@ucd.ie

Karen Jackman karen.jackman@ucd.ie


Head of School

Professor Danielle Clarke danielle.clarke@ucd.ie


School Head of Teaching and Learning

Dr Naomi McAreavey naomi.mcareavey@ucd.ie


Assessment Support Officer

Dr Scott Hamilton scott.hamilton@ucd.ie


Examinations Officer

Dr Luca Crispi luca.crispi@ucd.ie


Stage One Head



Stage Two Head

Assoc. Professor P.J. Mathews patrick.mathews@ucd.ie


Stage Three Head

Professor Anne Fogarty anne.fogarty@ucd.ie


Student Advisers for the BA

Ronan Murphy ronan.murphy@ucd.ie

Kieran Moloney kieran.moloney@ucd.ie