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Why study English?

The English major is a prestigious three-year course of study that introduces students to some of the most engaging and enduring texts available in world literature. These texts range in period from the fourteenth century to the twenty-first century, and span the geographies of Africa, Britain, America, Asia and the Caribbean. Exploring the human condition, the texts show how different minds, at different times and in different places, using diverse linguistic resources, have grappled with love and death, politics and spirituality, growing up and growing old. If humanity is distinguished by its capacity for linguistic expression, the texts reveal how language has been used imaginatively to extend the range of human experience, and how the human as such is constructed within language. Language is not only an instrument of communication but also the very substance of human consciousness. Nowhere is this consciousness portrayed in a more varied, stimulating and affecting way than in literature, which is why in the pages of great books readers recognise themselves, discerning their own unique humanity.

Possible careers include

Students who have studied English literature have a wide range of careers to choose from, i.e. teaching, journalism, creative writing, arts and culture, editing, and can work in any environment that requires critical thinking and writing skills.

Majors and elective modules to combine with English as major include

Anthropology; Communication and Media; History; Languages (e.g. African Languages and French). Philosophy; Politics and International Relations and/or Psychology.

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./p>

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 EnglishQC