English literature Society, history and languages

English literature Society, history and languages

The study of English literature provides the opportunity to acquire skills in communication, evaluation, flexibility and independence of judgement – skills that are essential for many careers.

At Macquarie you’ll develop advanced skills in reading, analysis, interpretation and communication as you deal with texts and their function within particular cultures.

(Creative Writing courses are also available.)


Postgraduate Courses

Degree 2018 ATAR
Master of Creative Writing N/A
Master of Research (Arts) N/A

Postgraduate coursework frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do I apply?

Apply through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) indicating the program of your choice by using the preferences option. Applicants can apply for either the internal or external modes. Please note that once you are in the program, you can move between external and internal modes of study for individual units. See Master of Children's Literature course page

When can I apply?

Students can apply for commencement in Session 1 or Session 2: apply by the end of the previous year for Session 1, or mid-year for Session 2. You can check the application deadlines for each of these rounds through UAC.

Can I apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)?

Students can apply for advanced credit in light of studies undertaken at another university or professional work experience.

What are the fees? Are there scholarships?

For information on fees, please go to the relevant Macquarie University website pages. Both the Masters and Diploma degrees are coursework-based programs and as such there are no scholarships available for either local or international students.

I'm an international student. Who should I contact in the Department of English for academic advice?

All international students are encouraged to ask questions about the program. Please contact Dr Victoria Flanagan, the Convenor of the Master of Children’s Literature program, to advise of your arrival in Australia. You will also be provided with academic advice about how best to design your study program.

Can I get credit for what I have studied in the Graduate Diploma if I apply to do the Masters at a later date?

Yes. Units you have successfully completed when enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Children’s Literature can be credited to the Master of Children’s Literature. No new UAC application is needed.

What if I want to discontinue the Masters?

Conversely, students who are enrolled in the Master of Children’s Literature can exit their degree early by graduating with a Diploma if they have completed the units required for the Diploma.

When are the classes offered?

Use the online timetable at the Macquarie website to see when a unit is currently offered, and what modes it is offered in. Many units are offered in the evening and run from 6-8pm on Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs for Internal mode. If, however, an insufficient number of students want to study on campus, then the units will only be offered in External mode. All our Postgraduate units are offered in External mode.

What size are the classes?

Small, usually around 10 people, with a range of ages and cultural backgrounds. In the external mode, students contribute each week to online discussion forums.

What units should I enrol in?

Prior to enrolment, each student should request individual advice on their study pattern and enrolment options from the program convenor. There are a number of core units that must be completed and it is generally advisable to choose these core units as the first units of study.

What is the expected workload?

During each session, students should estimate their workload by multiplying each credit point they are enrolled in by 3 hours. Thus a 4 credit point unit will require approximately 12 hours of study each week, over 15 weeks. This study will include class attendance or online time, reading and completing written assessment tasks.

Postgraduate coursework - external study

Our online learning offers a high quality, interactive learning environment for all students, whether they are residing in Sydney, in other regions or cities of Australia, or overseas.

Communicating online

Macquarie University’s online learning system is an easy to use portal for online lectures and discussions.

Because students live in different time zones, there are no weekly “live classrooms” or live chat in the online units. Students can go online at times of their own choosing during each of the semester weeks, participating in on-going written discussions and forums, and listening to podcast style lectures.

  • External students must have regular and frequent access (2-3 times per week) to broadband internet.
  • Students can combine internal and external study between units (not within the same unit).
  • Fees for Internal and External study modes are the same.

Careers in English literature

  • advertising and marketing executive
  • communications coordinator
  • copywriter
  • editor and publisher
  • government and public service adviser
  • literary agent
  • media adviser
  • public relations specialist
  • social media coordinator
  • writer

Professional experience

Connect with your future career through PACE

At Macquarie, learning doesn't just happen in the classroom. With PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) you can gain real-world experience and get ahead in the career queue.

PACE provides opportunities for undergraduate students at Macquarie University to gain practical experience by working with industry partners on mutually beneficial projects. No matter what you decide to study, PACE has an opportunity available for you. Learn more about the opportunities available through PACE.

Postgraduate experience

Student experience

Nicola Robinson

Nicola Robinson

Master of Children’s Literature

“The Master of Children’s Literature has expanded my way of thinking about books for children and young adults, enriching my editing practice, my occasional teaching roles, and my personal reading. I have enjoyed both the wide-ranging conversations with fellow students and the keen insights of the lecturers. The breadth of the course - everything from the historical contexts for children’s literature to theory of mind as applied to children’s books and reading seems to give all students an extensive understanding of the field, as well as allowing each of us to develop our personal areas of fascination.”

Nicola Robinson is a Children’s Book Editor.

Tenzin Bereny

Bachelor of Arts with a major in English

“Macquarie University was my first choice for tertiary study primarily because of the flexibility of options when choosing what to study. I have many interests so it was only natural that I would go somewhere that would let me explore those interests as much as possible.

I chose to study English because I love reading and writing and wanted to push my understanding of literature beyond what I'd been taught in high school. The best part of my studies is how engaged and helpful the tutors and lecturers are. Every one of them is really interested in the ideas of their students, and very supportive in helping their students explore and expand their ideas."

Stephanie Thompson

Stephanie Thompson 

Master of Arts in Children's Literature*

"The variety of courses available gave me ample opportunity to deepen my knowledge of ideas and texts while also introducing me to new - and often quite challenging - concepts. The flexibility of studying by distance while still working as an English teacher also helped model to my students that there is always something to be learnt and you are never too old to write an essay!"

*Master of Arts in Children's Literature is now called Master of Children's Literature

Our expertise in English literature

Dr Victoria Flanagan

Dr Victoria Flanagan

Senior Lecturer and Convenor of the Master of Children's Literature

Prior to joining Macquarie, Dr Flanagan taught children’s literature at the University of Helsinki. In addition to her teaching, she conducts research in the representation of gendered bodies in children's literature and film and has recently done consulting work for Mattel.

Dr Flanagan explains that the Master of Children's Literature program at Macquarie which is taught by recognised leaders in the field of children's literary criticism, aims to empower students to become critical thinkers.

“Subjects within the program engage with the latest research in the field of children's literature,” she says. “We aim to provide students with sophisticated research skills so that they can bring a multidisciplinary perspective to children's books and films. We are also committed to providing small classes that are discussion-based, resulting in a high level of instructor-student interaction.”

See Dr Flanagan's full profile

Professor Tony Cousins

Professor Tony Cousins

Tony Cousins is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Member of the Order of Australia. He has published eight books in America and England, including monographs on Shakespeare's non-dramatic verse and on religious verse of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

He has been a Visiting Adjunct Professor at the Renaissance Studies Center at the University of Massachusetts, a Visiting Scholar at Princeton and at Penn State, and a Library Fellow at the Library of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was also an Honorary Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities.

See Professor Cousin's full profile

English, literature and creative writing at Macquarie 

English at Macquarie University involves the study of novels, drama, creative writing, life writing, visual texts (including film), children's literature (including folk tales), and the study of non-literary texts. With programs available at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, English can give you the opportunity to acquire skills in communication and evaluation, flexibility and independence of judgement - skills which will equip you for a broad range of careers.

How can you express your love and affection for someone when they don’t even know or remember you?

Macquarie graduate Debra Tidball's new book When I See Grandma tells the tale of two children who visit their grandmother in an aged care home and do their best to make memories with their Grandma. The children's vitality brightens the lives of their grandmother and of the residents of the once bleak aged care home.

Writing the picture book

The picture book is described by the author as a story about "past and present, beginnings and endings, set in an aged care home and reflecting this cycle of life." It is based on Debra's own experiences taking her young children to visit her mother in the years before she died from dementia.

Debra recalls, "My kids were exhibitionists when they were young and when they realised the attention they could get by putting on mini concerts at their Grandma's aged care home with their primitive attempts at music and dance, they were hooked. They planned and choreographed and practiced all week and couldn't wait to get back to their captive audience.

Debra dedicates her book to her mother and has also committed to donate the book's royalties to the Hazel Hawke Alzheimer's Research and Care fund.

Reaching for her dreams

Her mother's long career in a local library was influential on developing Debra's love for books. She's been writing short stories since she was in grade school. She gets her inspiration from exciting scenes, pictures or phrases.

However, Debra admits that she was a “closet” writer. Before enrolling in Macquarie for a Master of Children's Literature, Debra was timid and self-conscious of her work. She believes her postgraduate studies helped build her confidence and developed her writing.

"My postgraduate studies gave me the confidence to put my writing out there – workshopping with others to improve my manuscripts, and sending it to publishers. It gave me an understanding of and ability to apply narrative concepts that helped shape my writing."

She chose to study at Macquarie because it was close to home, so she could do most of the subjects externally. She says she was also inspired by the course outline and range of subjects. The combination of theory and creative writing subjects broadened her knowledge and skills.

Having experts and writers like Jane Messer as teachers also helped Debra gain confidence.

Debra says, "I thoroughly enjoyed my postgrad studies at Macquarie. When it came time for the creative subjects, I was incredibly nervous to read any of my own work out loud, or critique others, but Jane Messer's workshops were always respectful yet incisive, responding to student needs and creating a collegiate atmosphere of trust and goodwill amongst a very diverse group of students. In the end they couldn't shut me up! I also appreciated the way the practice of creative writing further informed and made sense of the concepts studied in the prior units."

Advice for aspiring writers

Debra's advice for students and aspiring writers is to get engaged in a writing community.

She says, "It's invaluable to be encouraged, critiqued, inspired, supported. I've kept up with a writing buddy I met through the course, and joined the Children's Book Council of Australia sub-branch – it's full of amazing authors, illustrators and teacher librarians.

"I've also found it really helpful to submit stories to competitions – especially those that give feedback. You can use the feedback to improve the story or in your pitch to a publisher."

The awards recognise the country's best educators. According to the Australian Government Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, these Citations "reaffirm the crucial role staff and teachers play in helping Australian universities to deliver quality education and improve the student learning experience."

Mr Payne said, "The excellence of our higher education teachers goes a long way to establishing the Australian higher education sector's reputation as a global leader."

Dr Jane Messer received her Citation for "support of student engagement with graduate capabilities through the design of an innovative curriculum and resources that promote student motivation, resourcefulness and creativity."

Her Citation is for her capstone unit for students majoring in writing.

Dr Messer said, "Much of the unit's design focuses on professional graduate capabilities. The core principal for my approach to the students' learning experience is that their learning is experiential."

"Students are tasked with evaluating their capacity for imaginative and critical thinking, and this leads them to see the value of these skills and attributes to the media and arts industries."

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