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Major: English

Award(s) to which this major is a Qualifying Major:



Department of English
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 8 units of study including the following prescribed units:

Units of study

two of
Politics and Literature (1)
Approaches to English Literature (1)
Creative Writing 1: An Introduction (1)

Practices in English (1)
three of
Narrative and the Novel (1)
Modernism (1)
Feminism and Literature (1)
Creative Writing 3: Narrative Fiction (1)
Australian Fiction in the Digital Age (1)
Shakespeare and the Renaissance (1)
Victorian Literary Culture (1)
Reason, Imagination, Revolution: Literature and Culture from Pope to Austen (1)

two of
Contemporary Literature (1)
Australian Literature (1)
Gothic Visions: From Sublime to Suburban Gothic (1)
World Literature in English (1)
Children's Literature (1)
Creative Writing 2: Concept and Practice (1)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Overview and Aims of the Program Studying literature at university allows you to combine critical skill development with the pleasure of reading. This major extends skills in thinking, analysis, and writing, and develops your understanding of the complex relationship between books and culture.

A major in English fosters analytic and creative thought via a focus on the language and ideas of a wide range of engaging texts. It sharpens language use through a consideration of how texts invite particular meanings. Skills in research and critical interrogation are developed through the study of the contexts and reception of literary texts.

In this way, the study of English literature promotes an informed, global, cross-cultural perspective of the world. This major develops written and verbal communication skills and research techniques that will enhance employment prospects in any industry.

The study of literature involves an understanding of developments in culture and an appreciation of the intellectual and aesthetic aspects of existence. It involves the study of creative processes as well as the study of texts as artefacts. Studying literature can help us cultivate excellent skills in reading, analysis, interpretation and communication. The subject incorporates comparative literature and literature in translation from around the world. In the English major, you can study novels, drama, poems, visual texts (including film), children’s literature (including folk tales), and the study of non-literary texts.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

• Identify and be able to describe literary techniques, genres and theories (K,T,C,J)
• Identify and be able to describe English texts in their cultural contexts (K,T,P,I,C)
• Recognise, evaluate, and interact with published criticism and scholarship (K,T,P,I,C,J)
• Differentiate ways of literary uses of language and making meaning (K,T,P,C,J)
• Generate new ideas, and express them persuasively (T,P,I,C,L)
• Locate, interpret, and analyse published scholarship in English literary studies (K,T,P,I,C,J,L)
• Deploy research findings to support attested ideas about literary expression, textual meaning, and the social, aesthetic and cognitive functions of literature (K,T,P,I,C,J,L)
• Organise information efficiently and meaningfully (T,I,C,L)
• Enact advanced literacy and its outcomes, including the habitual cultivation of curiosity, reflection, and the pursuit of knowledge (T,I,C,J,L)
• Combine research-led practice and initiative to develop innovative ways of approaching and solving textual and interpretive problems (K,T,P,I,C,J)
• Produce informed critical discussion of textual meaning making (K,T,P,I,C)
• Integrate and synthesise ideas with those of other scholars (K,T,P,I,C,E)
Learning and Teaching Methods Despite being limited because of the fully-online mode of offering necessary for OUA programs, the Department of English utilises a wide variety of methods and styles for the delivery of learning and teaching. Around a core format that utilises lectures, discussion forums and the LMS platform are arranged complementary tools and strategies such as learning games, downloadable supplementary readings and course notes, glossaries, digitised primary readings, reflective exercises and mechanisms for fostering peer-to-peer feedback. These strategies are blended so as to stimulate student interest, stimulate active learning, and cultivate an enjoyable and effective learning experience, regardless of learning style. Students have the opportunity to learn through individual and collaborative study, discussion, debate, research, and self-directed methods.

Common strategies include:

1. Employing a variety of teaching and assessment formats that engage diverse learning styles and encourage student participation, discussion, and collaboration.
2. Developing and presenting learning materials in a range digitised formats including recorded audio lectures, digitised unit materials (readings, notes), video presentations, and helping students to identify and employ appropriate supplementary materials that are available online.
3. Facilitating university-level inquiry and research-based assignments from the foundation unit right through the program.
4. Drawing upon the experience, expertise and mentoring of Department staff.
5. Offering early and frequent assessments, and the provision of prompt and detailed feedback that identify student strengths and weaknesses, in order to support effective learning.

The Department deploys these strategies through the following teaching methods:

Lectures: Staff and invited guest lecturers deliver information and other unit material, provide demonstrations, and offer invaluable information that is used to further individual and group study.
Online Discussion Forums: Online forums give students the opportunity to interact with each other in discussion of topics, lecture materials, assigned readings and individual research. They provide a venue for discussing or debating topics, raising questions and engaging in scholarly conversations. They also provide a forum for staff to monitor student engagement with course concepts on a week-to-week basis and to offer group feedback as necessary.
LMS Platform: Each unit’s iLearn site is designed for the effective organization and delivery of unit materials. It provides a venue for the delivery of learning materials (recorded lectures, video recordings, links to library and digitized readings, course notes, slides, etc) and acts as a platform to host discussion forums and conduct course assessment tasks (via quizzes, a/v presentations, reports, Turnitin assignments, for instance).
Independent Learning: Students have the opportunity to engage in a variety of self-directed study and research projects.
Group Learning: Students will work within small groups on selected class projects. Group work enables students to develop valuable team working skills, peer networks, and experience working with individuals holding diverse perspectives.
Assessment The English Department at Macquarie utilizes a wide range of assessment modes that are selected for their affordances for building and testing skills recorded in our program learning outcomes. Across all units, we employ formative (early and mid-term) assessment tasks that are designed to facilitate student learning of skills that are necessary for key unit and program learning outcomes as well as summative (end-of-term) tasks that assess the level to which those outcomes have been achieved. For 100-level units, early diagnostic tasks are employed to identify students at risk of low academic achievement and to help build basic skills in textual analysis and essay writing. At higher levels, such early- and mid-term tasks focus on the development of other core areas of disciplinary knowledge (literary techniques, genres and theories) and advancing skills in research, argumentation, professional presentation, and communication, whilst working to foster students’ abilities to act as creative and innovative participants in the academic discipline of English.

A key mode of assessment across all of our units is the essay, a malleable form that can be shaped to assess student achievements across the spectrum of graduate capabilities. Essays range in length from 500 to 3000 words in length, depending upon the level of the unit and the manner in which the task aligns with specific unit learning outcomes. Within the program, the significance of the essay form is highlighted by its presence as primary object of study in the capstone unit, where students interrogate the affordances, modalities and structures of the essay as a vehicle for conveying ideas and arguments, both within the academic field of English studies and to the broader community beyond the reaches of academia. The form is particularly useful in assessing students’ abilities to gather and analyse resources – including both primary texts and published scholarship in the discipline of English literary studies – and to creatively synthesize such research with their own ideas to develop innovative ways of approaching and solving textual and interpretive problems. As a communicative medium, it also serves as a mechanism for students’ abilities to organize information efficiently and to express their ideas persuasively.

Other modes of assessment include quizzes and exams, which include subjective (essays) and objective (short answer/multiple choice) questions, that are important for assessing students’ achievements in mastering technical, theoretical and contextual types of information that are pertinent to the discipline. Such tasks also provide opportunities for students to consolidate core sets of knowledge that need to be in place to construct higher levels of learning achievement. The department also utilizes self-assessment activities that encourage students to reflect upon their own mastery of a topic and helps them to enact professional judgement and to cultivate curiosity and reflection as they pursue higher levels of knowledge in the field. Research training is assessed via a variety of tasks such as annotated bibliographies, and reports that evaluate published criticism, which are used to build skills towards the composition of the major research essays that comprise the core assessment component all of our higher-level units, and are key to evaluating students’ abilities to combine research-led practice and initiative to assess in innovative ways. Individual and group presentations are used to develop and assess capacities for synthesizing ideas with other scholars and for measuring students’ abilities to communicate ideas in oral forms. All of those modes of assessment are complemented by our assessment of students’ preparation for and participation in tutorials and/or online forums, which is a crucial mechanism for developing and evaluating student capabilities across a wide range of program learning outcomes. Across all levels, assessment is conducted in alignment with the Department’s published grade descriptors and rewards creative and innovative thought that is underpinned by rigorous scholarly and intellectual thought processes.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit.

Information can be found at:

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduates in English often combine their studies with another (more immediately vocational) area of study such as teaching (primary to tertiary), journalism, marketing or advertising, public relations, or librarianship. Graduates are also prepared for other text-based areas of work, such as the book industry (including retailing, editing and publishing in-house magazines (public and private sectors); writing, including creative, commercial, and technical (in both public and private sectors). English graduates are also prepared for careers in administration, both Government (federal, state, local) and in the private sector (from banks to NGOs), positions in galleries, theatres and other jobs in the “culture industry”, and in research.
The deep understanding of language in use, and the advanced conceptual, creative and communication skills offered by a major in English equips graduates for work in any text-based industry.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2019 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148