English Language and Literature
The Department of English at King's is committed to ensuring and developing diversity and inclusion; we seek to ensure a learning environment in which all students and staff – regardless of gender, sexuality, economic background, religion, race, ethnicity, or disability – feel they are a part of an intellectual community and thrive in their work. Part of this is about diversifying the curriculum: we view diversity not as the addition of a few texts to a pre-existing canon of ‘great literature’, but rather as an ongoing commitment to exploring and challenging assumptions regarding what constitutes ‘English’ as an object and method of study.
As one of the oldest and most distinguished English departments in the United Kingdom, we welcome students into a large and dynamic community that is a cornerstone of the arts and humanities at King’s. Studying in our department means learning alongside other talented students who excel in their creative and critical thinking. Our students are taught and supervised by academics whose research encompasses both the traditions of English literature and its latest innovations. Our undergraduates enjoy a syllabus that spans from the seventh century to the present day and includes literature from English speaking countries across the world. We study English literature in all its periods, genres, styles and manifestations, and, crucially, we seek to make important connections across all of these. Moreover our students receive teaching shaped by top quality research; research in our department achieved a ‘power’ ranking of 8th in the UK in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which assesses the quality and quantity of research across the UK’s universities. That means that our full-time Faculty are among the leading scholars in their chosen fields, regularly publishing new insights and interpretations.
Located on the top two floors of the Virginia Woolf Building - part of the Strand Campus - our department is a friendly hub in central London where we meet to discuss literature, theatre, creative writing, film, visual cultures and theory and criticism. Here you can participate in a wide range of events beyond our curriculum, from busy seminar series to readings by world-class poets to highly popular student theatre productions. As part of our multi-disciplinary research culture, we support faculty-wide interdisciplinary research centres: the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies; the London Shakespeare Centre; Queer@King’s; the Centre for Life Writing Research; the Centre for the Enlightenment; the Centre for Modern Literature and Culture; and the Centre for Humanities and Health. You will also find our academics and students participating in the King’s annual Arts and Humanities Festival.
Those who study or research English at King’s join a unique department distinguished by its creativity, its external collaborations, and the diversity of its research.
A blend of creative and cultural thinking characterizes all our activities, and gives a distinctive flavour to our work. We find literature to be a living form, vital to our culture and the society in which we live. Creative writing features in our curriculum, taught by major writers and we support theatre and performance studies through academic research and teaching. At the same time as they teach, our academic staff are engaged in a range of other related activities, including: writing poetry, fiction, and biography; researching and writing scholarly articles and monographs; sharing their expertise on television and radio and in the national press; organizing exhibitions, performance projects, conferences and international festivals.
Central London reminds us continually of the ways in which writers construct the histories of places. The literary and cultural associations of our location, both then and now, allow us to develop teaching and research partnerships with institutions around us such as the Globe Theatre, the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Royal Society of Literature, the British Museum and the Imperial War Museum. We work with the Cultural Institute at King’s to develop exciting and original projects, most recently with institutions including the Young Vic theatre, the Royal Opera House, Tate Britain, the British Library and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Diversity of research
The thematic clusters which help shape our research culture in the Department reflect its diversity:
- Material, visual, textual and digital cultures
- Literature, medicine, and science
- Life writing, performance, and creative writing
- Sexuality and gender studies
- Colonial, postcolonial, and, transnational cultures
- Text, history, politics
Our research-led modules are innovative and challenging and our students choose from a highly diverse syllabus. In the 2016 National Student Survey 97% of respondents found their course intellectually stimulating.
If you study English with us at King’s you join students who progress to very successful professional careers. Your studies will prepare you to work in artistic and literary fields, in business, as media professionals, or as teachers, amongst other professions including law and even medicine. Many of our graduates choose to undertake further study and many of our innovative postgraduate researchers go on to have successful academic careers. Our former students are testament to the success of our department and we are very proud of them.