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English literature (TSM)

  • Course Type: Undergraduate
  • CAO Course Code: TR001 (TSM)
  • No. of Places: 85
  • Min Entry Points for 2014: 530* - 580 points (Points per TSM combination)
  • Duration: 4 Year(s) Full Time
  • Award: B.A.
  • Specific Entry Requirements: See requirements
  • Course Options:

    TR001 - English literature (TSM) cannot be studied as a single honor course. It must be combined with one other subject within the two-subject moderatorship (TSM) programme. TSM is a joint honor programme. An honors degree is awarded in both subjects.

    For subjects that combine with English literature see TSM: possible combinations

  • How to apply: See how to apply

Admission Requirements

For Admission requirements please click here


Click on the links below to see the available options

+ EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO

+ Non-EU Applicants

+ Mature Student - Supplementary Application Form

Read the information about how to apply as a mature student, then select the relevant link below to complete the TCD Supplementary Application Form for mature students.

+ Advanced Entry Applications

Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the relevant link below to apply.

English literature (TSM joint honors) - TR001

English literature covers a broad range of literatures written in the English language, from Chaucer to the present day. The aim of the course is to help students acquire a thorough knowledge of the history of differing literatures while also enabling them to develop a sophisticated critical consciousness and an awareness of critical and cultural theory.

While TSM students cover all the principal areas of literatures in English, the course is less extensive than that of the single honor programme, with less emphasis on the development of genres, and a concentration on the modern period (post 1400).

Is this the right course for you?

If you want to study the whole range of developments in English and related literatures, from their earliest beginnings through to contemporary studies in the language, you would enjoy English literature.

English at Trinity

The School of English is strongly committed to small-group teaching. In the first two years teaching is by a combination of lectures and related tutorials. Lectures will typically have a maximum of around 150 students. All Freshman (first and second year) lecture modules are supported by small-group teaching dedicated to that module only, and the numbers for tutorials are around 12 students. In the Sophister (third and fourth) years, most English modules are chosen by students from a wide range of available options, and most are taught through seminar discussion. There is a maximum of around 22 students in each seminar.

Our English courses have been designed to develop independence of critical thought and the articulation of informed discussion, both oral and written. Much of your work will be undertaken independently, and you will have at your disposal the resources of a world-famous library.

The School of English also coordinates many non-syllabus activities, such as lecture series, conferences and symposia, guest lecturers (such as Anne Enright, winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize, and Professor Paula Meehan, The Ireland Chair of Poetry) and visiting writers. Richard Ford, the Pulitzer prize winning author, and  Sir Terry Pratchett, the bestselling satirist and fantasy writer, are both Adjunct Professors in the School.

The School actively supports several journals of creative writing by undergraduates. In this way we ensure that your time studying English at Trinity is exciting and intense.

Course content

The English courses are designed so that the first two years consist almost entirely of compulsory modules, taught mainly through a combination of lectures and tutorials. Students take a variety of modules, based on period, genre, theme and nationality. Theories of literature is one of the major modules in the first year. After the first two years, students are free to construct their own course in the advanced work that will lead to their degree.

Our commitment to small-group teaching means that you will benefit from close personal staff supervision, so that your writing and discussion skills develop. The model of assessment means that from short first-year essays of around 1,500 words, you will by your final year be prepared to tackle major independent research projects of up to 12,000 words. Individual independent study and research are encouraged, and quite a high proportion of your time will be taken up preparing work in the library and writing essays.

The Freshman years

Over the Junior and Senior Freshman (first two) years a range of modules provides you with an introduction to a variety of critical theories, practices and approaches to literature. You will primarily concentrate on selected prescribed texts.

Examples of Freshman modules include:

  • Theories of literature
  • Irish writing
  • Enlightenment
  • Romanticism
  • Genre: The novel
  • Medieval and Renaissance romance
  • Shakespeare: Text, stage, screen
  • Introduction to postcolonial literature and theory
  • Victorian literature
  • Introduction to Modernism

The Sophister years

In the Junior and Senior Sophister (third and fourth) years, you will choose most of your modules from a wide range of specialist options. By fourth year, modules are taught at an advanced level by seminar only.

Examples of Sophister modules may include:

  • US Literature since 1945
  • Ulysses in contexts
  • African and Caribbean literature
  • Irish crime fiction
  • Shakespeare
  • Modernism
  • American writing
  • Children’s literature
  • Popular literature
  • Community and contemporary Irish literature
  • Creative writing
  • History of the English language
  • Dissertation


Assessment is by a combination of submitted essays or dissertation and end-of-year examinations. The weighting is approximately 50% submitted work and 50% exams.

Did you know?

  • Trinity College Dublin is ranked 25th in the world in English Language and Literature (by the QS World University Rankings 2014).

Study abroad

The School of English has strong international links with many English departments abroad, including active participation in the Erasmus exchange programme with universities in Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. We also have an agreement with Dartmouth College in the US, and there are scholarship opportunities which allow students to spend a year at prominent US universities, notably Berkeley, Boston College, and Georgetown.

In addition to the opportunity to study abroad, our exchange links, which attract many international students, ensure that the student body in English is vibrant and cosmopolitan.

Career opportunities

The skills of English graduates are much in demand from employers, especially in journalism, broadcasting, marketing, retail and business management, publishing and teaching, and graduates from English often gain professional qualifications in disciplines as diverse as law and public administration.

The four-year degree provides an outstanding platform for postgraduate study in English, and usually about 30% of our graduates go on to read for a higher degree in English (Master's degree, PhD degree). Many well-known creative writers are Trinity English graduates, including Eavan Boland, Deirdre Madden, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Brendan Kennelly and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.

Further information

Tel: +353 1 896 1111

Head of School:

Eve Patten

Tel: +353 1 896 1299



Specific Entry Requirements

Leaving CertificateHC3 English
Advanced GCE (A-Level)Grade C English literature (A or B)
Grade C English language (A or B)
Other EU examination systemsSee