English Studies

B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
4 Years Full-Time
45 Places
CAO Points 542 (2023)
CAO Code TR023


    What is English?

      The study of English is concerned with the history and practices of writing in English and encompasses literary works spanning English, Anglo-Irish, American and post-colonial cultures. It aims to develop a thorough knowledge of the history of these literatures while also enabling students to develop a sophisticated critical consciousness and an awareness of critical and cultural theory.

      Compared to (Joint Honours) students, English Studies students cover a longer historical range (including before 1300) and also consider topics such as Popular Literature and Childhood Literature.

      Do you enjoy:

      • Reading texts from a variety of cultural and historical backgrounds?
      • Analysing narrative themes and grounding them in personal context?
      • Writing critical assessments of works of narrative fiction?

        English: The 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 will enjoy either English Literature or English Studies. If you are interested in English in conjunction with another field (such as History or Philosophy), Joint Honours is probably the best option for you; conversely, if your primary interest is in English, you might consider English Studies.

          English at Trinity

          Our commitment to small-group teaching means that you will benefit from close personal staff supervision, so that your writing and discussion skills develop.

          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 one of the world’s great libraries, with rich resources in the full range of literature in English.

          The School of English also co-ordinates many non-syllabus activities, such as lecture series, conferences and symposia, with guest lecturers such as Anne Enright, Colm Tóibín, Emma Donoghue, and Richard Ford.

          The School actively supports several journals of creative and critical writing by undergraduates. Many of our students are involved in student societies, where they take part in activities such as journalism, debating and theatre. In this way we ensure that your time studying English at Trinity is exciting and intense.


          The pathways available are Single Honours and Joint Honours.

          Graduate skills and career opportunities

          Trinity’s School of English graduates gain leading roles in intellectual, professional and public life. The skills developed by students of English are in high demand from employers, especially in journalism, broadcasting, teaching, advertising, marketing and business, arts management, publishing, law and diplomacy. Recent graduates work in Google, the Irish Times, the Department of Foreign Affairs, RTÉ and PwC.

          The four-year degree provides an outstanding platform for postgraduate study in English, with around 30% of our graduates going on to study a higher degree in English each year. Many well-known creative writers are Trinity English graduates, including Eavan Boland, Deirdre Madden, Michael Longley, John Connolly, Derek Mahon, Brendan Kennelly, Anne Enright, Paula Meehan and Sally Rooney.

          Your degree and what you’ll study

          The English courses are designed so that the first year consists of compulsory modules, taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. In the second year there are further compulsory modules, but you will also take approved modules outside English. In the third and fourth year, students choose between a large number of option modules in English, reflecting the great variety of expertise among the staff.

          First and second years

          The first and second year provide an introduction to a variety of critical theories, practices and approaches to literature. You will primarily concentrate on selected prescribed texts. Examples of first and second year modules include: Genres, Irish Writing, Imagining the Middle Ages, Shakespeare, Writing Childhoods, Pulp: Introduction to Popular Literature, American Literature, Postcolonial Literature and Imagining the Contemporary.

          Third and fourth years

          In the third and fourth years, you will choose most of your modules from a wide range of specialist options. In these years, modules are taught at an advanced level in small group seminars. Examples of third and fourth year modules may include: Creative Writing, Ulysses in Context, African and Caribbean Literature, Crime Fiction, Global Shakespeare, Modernism, American Writing, Children’s Literature, Popular Literature and History of the English Language. All final-year students are expected to complete a Capstone project, which might be a dissertation, a study of material from the Library’s Open Collections, or a portfolio of Creative Writing.


          Assessment is by a combination of submitted essays, journals, dissertation and end-of-semester examinations. In first and second year the weighting is approximately 66% submitted work and 33% final examinations. In third and fourth year it may vary depending on the modules chosen, although submission of a Capstone project is compulsory for all final year students.

          There are QQI/FET routes available for this course. Please see www.cao.ie for details.

          Click here for further information on modules/subject.

          Study abroad

          Students in the School of English may apply to study abroad during their third year, either on the Erasmus programme in Europe or on a non-EU exchange in in a wide range of countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, Singapore and China. For more information on study abroad destinations and requirements visit: https://www.tcd.ie/study/study-abroad/outbound/

          Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University Dual BA Programme

          English Studies is also available within the Dual B.A. Programme between Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University. Please note: The Dual B.A. is only open to Single Honours students. Joint Honours students cannot apply to the Dual B.A.. For more details, see www.tcd.gs.columbia.edu.

          Applicants to the Dual BA Programme must apply by 2nd January 2024 for September 2024 entry. The admissions process includes a review of the applicant’s academic history, letters of recommendation, an essay, and an interview conducted in English. Standardized test scores (SAT/ACT) can be submitted but are not required for 2024 entry. Applications are reviewed by a joint committee with representatives from both Institutions. EU applicants to the Dual BA Programme must also apply to and receive an offer from their chosen programme at Trinity through the Central Applications Office (CAO)

          Study English at Trinity College Dublin

          A presentation by Jarlath Killeen with an outline of the undergraduate English courses at Trinity College Dublin.

          Course Details


          B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)

          CAO Information

          CAO Points 542 (2023) CAO Code TR023

          Number of Places

          45 Places
          students working in library/>

          Admission Requirements

          Leaving Certificate:

          H4 in English 

          Advanced GCE (A Level): 

          Grade C in English Literature (A or B) or English Language (A or B) 

          International Baccalaureate: 

          HL Grade 5 in English 

          Course Fees

          Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.


          To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

          EU Applicants

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

            Non-EU Applicants

            Advanced Entry Applications

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

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