Literature expresses the values and aspirations, the certainties and uncertainties of the societies in which it was created. To study English at university is to take up these questions in a rigorous and systematic way, relating them to a literary culture of exceptional richness and diversity, extending over a thousand years and more.

In the School of English, eminent scholars and critics of literature from the Middle Ages to the present day work alongside some of Scotland's leading creative writers. As part of your English degree, you can study English, Scottish, Irish and American literature, as well as modules in prose, verse, drama and even film.



English MA (Hons)
English BA (International Hons)

Joint degree options

You can take English MA (Hons) with another subject as part of a joint degree.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.


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Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 14 March 2018

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Latest in English at St Andrews

In January 2016, Dr Margaret Connolly visited Maynooth where she identified a manuscript which was once owned by William Scheves, Archbishop of St Andrews in the 15th century.


The world première of two new compositions commissioned by Dr Emma Sutton's 'Virginia Woolf and Music' project were performed in Cambridge by the renowned Kreutzer Quartet.


English research areas

The School of English has a dynamic research culture, which involves staff, postgraduates and postdoctoral fellows in attending and organising international conferences and literary festivals; in undertaking collaborative research and archival projects; as well as in the individual work of scholarly editing and the writing of monographs and works of literature.

Research work is divided into four groups, of which staff are members, and postgraduate students are associate members. These groups have individual budgets and organise research activities such as reading groups, conferences and visits by distinguished scholars and writers.

English research centres and institutes

There are four research centres and institutes related to English:

The SAIMS brings together over thirty full-time academic staff of international standing and a number of research associates interested in interdisciplinary Mediaeval topics.

CMEMLL is a forum that welcomes all staff and postgraduates whose exploration in other fields of historical and literary research involves them in encounters with legal concepts and texts.

The IIH is a hub for everyone interested in intellectual history, for scholars pursuing research projects, for the teaching of intellectual history, and for individuals and groups seeking access to the activities of intellectual historians internationally.

The ILCR is the home of outstanding cross-disciplinary research in the fields of law, legal history and constitutionalism at the University.

Careers for graduates in English

The skills you gain through studying English are marketable in most career areas. Perhaps the major strength of all English graduates is communication skills, both in speech and in writing. Other skills you will develop during your degree include critical analysis, structuring information, organisation of time and workload, and effective IT skills.

English graduates typically find employment with:

  • banks
  • publishers
  • advertising agencies and the media
  • PR companies
  • UK Home Civil Service
  • the National Health Service (NHS)
  • retailers
  • finance
  • educational institutions
  • voluntary and charitable organisations
  • libraries
  • leisure industries and the tourist trade
  • social services.

See recent graduate employment case studies.

Work experience

Work experience is invaluable when it comes to securing graduate-level employment. There are a number of English-specific opportunities at St Andrews for students to gain work experience:

Funding opportunities

There is a range of funding opportunities available at all levels of study. 


Faculty of Arts scholarships offer financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews. 

Undergraduate scholarships


The School of English offers two MLitt scholarships to Masters level entrants:

  • The Urquhart Scholarship
  • FMLS Scholarship

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

The School of English offers four research scholarships for PhD and MFA applicants:

  • Douglas Dunn MFA Scholarship
  • Daniel Rutherford PhD Scholarship
  • George Buchanan PhD Scholarship
  • Professor AF Falconer and Anna Cruickshank PhD Scholarships

Funding for PhD students


REF 2014

‌The School of English was ranked first in Scotland and sixth in the UK by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. 86% of the School's research was rated world leading and internationally excellent.

University league tables

English at St Andrews was ranked first in the UK by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017, second in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2017, and third in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2017.


School of English
University of St Andrews
Castle House
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2666
Email: english@st-andrews.ac.uk

English website English research portal