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English at St Andrews

International reputation

The School enjoys an international reputation as a centre for both academic research and literary creativity.

The School of English has been ranked third in the UK, and first in Scotland, in the most recent league table of research intensive departments (2014). With over 90% of our staff submitted, 86% of our research has been rated world leading and internationally excellent. In the previous research assessment exercise (2008) we were also ranked 8th - making the School one of the UK's consistently outstanding research departments.

Undergraduate study

There are around 700 undergraduates, all taught in small groups in the first two years.

Information on the degree structure is available in the Course Catalogue.

The School also offers courses through the University's evening degree programme.

There are also study abroad opportunities, through the School’s North American, Australian and European exchange partners.

Postgraduate study

Our postgraduates number around 70, and enjoy their own dedicated postgraduate facility.

At postgraduate level, in addition to research degrees, the School offers a range of taught MLitt degrees in fields including Creative Writing (the first such programme to be established in Scotland).

Research postgraduates may act as research assistants, and PhD students in their second year may be invited to work as Teaching Assistants.


There are now more than 30 permanent members of staff, most of them full-time appointments, and many other Teaching Fellows, Honorary Lecturers, and Honorary Professors.

Creative writers on the permanent staff include:


St Andrews was one of the first universities in the world to teach English literature. Several of the great medieval Scottish poets, including William Dunbar and Gavin Douglas, studied literary texts in Latin at St Andrews.

St Andrews students were among those who took the new subject to America, India and elsewhere - long before its emergence as part of the curriculum of English universities.

Later in the university's evolution, the great Romanticist William Knight helped pioneer a system of women's university education which extended from St Andrews to Cairo, Cape Town, and other centres around the globe.

The School's richest inheritance, however, is its collegiality: we pride ourselves on our friendliness, and on our common enthusiasm for great literature.

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