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The Department of English

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​The Department of English at UJ offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Literary Studies in English.  South African literary studies, in particular, are strongly represented, and we have on amongst our staff a number of recognized scholars in this field.  Other strong specialisations include medieval studies, postcolonial studies, life-writing, literary theory and text editing.  Our department boasts three NRF-rated scholars, a vibrant departmental seminar series, and is the home of the prestigious UJ prize for Creative Writing in English.

All of our modules are designed to encourage critical and independent thought, and the development of sophisticated rhetorical skills.  Two courses are offered at first-year level: English 1AB (devoted principally to literary study) and English 1CD (which focuses on academic writing skills).  Both of these allow students access to the second-year and third-year English courses, English 2AB and English 3AB. The normal route for an English major is to enrol for English 1AB and then to proceed to English 2AB and English 3AB. However, students who enrol for English 1CD may also proceed to English 2AB and English 3AB, though this route is less common, and is advisable only where English 1C is a compulsory course, as in the case of students taking a Communication studies degree.

English 2AB and English 3AB are both literature courses. Together they provide an overview of all the periods of English literature, and familiarise students with literature from countries other than Britain.  Students who have majored in English may, at the discretion of the chairperson of the department, proceed to postgraduate studies in English.


The UJ English Department offers students a range of courses in literature and language that are a stimulating blend of traditional, canonical texts and more contemporary South African, postcolonial and postmodern works. These texts range in period from the fourteenth century to the twenty-first century, and span the geographies of Britain and America, Asia and Africa. Although a full range of courses is offered, the Department specialises in particular in South African / African literature and contemporary literary theory.

Apart from exposing students to some of the most enduring literature in English, thereby expanding their potential for imaginative responsiveness, the English major at UJ also develops skills of analysis and expression. Students are also shown how to record their responses in a focused and cogent manner. They are taught to structure essays properly, and to use language accurately, sensitively, and succinctly. The English major aims, in other words, at developing individuals who are able to draw on a rich store of cultural knowledge, and who respond perceptively to language contexts and are able to communicate this response incisively.

Such persons, no matter what career they decide to pursue (teaching, advertising, public relations, journalism, publishing, diplomatic service, government and public administration, the world of entertainment . . .) will be able to do so competently, resourcefully, and stylishly, having acquired a sense of how felicitous expression is allied to pertinent thought

General Contact Details

Department of English 
B Ring 725
University of Johannesburg
PO Box 524
Auckland Park
South Africa

Tel: (011) 559-2063
Fax: (011) 559-3615