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About the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

The School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics is a highly successful school with a long and prestigious history.

We warmly welcome you to the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics.

We are a Russell Group, research-intensive School with over thirty per cent of our undergraduates coming from Widening Participation backgrounds.  A national benchmarking exercise has confirmed us as the highest-ranked school in the country for research in literature and language. That excellence is the bedrock of all our teaching. We aim to give all our students the best university experience possible. Everyone eager to learn is welcome in our community.

We are a long-established School, holding one of the oldest professorships of English Studies in this country, set up in 1898.

The Chair is named after the Newcastle MP Joseph Cowen. Cowen was a champion of the right to vote and firmly believed that access to education and cultural activities was essential to an expanded democracy.  He helped found the first public library in Newcastle and was its first borrower, taking out John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. The School's main prize for Literature, given for an outstanding piece of undergraduate work every year, is named after his friend, Robert Spence-Watson, the Gateshead reformer and advocate of women's education.  

We appointed the very first Professor of English Language and General Linguistics in Britain.

In 1964, Barbara Strang was appointed to the professorship, becoming one of the first women to hold such a post anywhere in the world. 

The  Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts was founded from the School. 

In 2009, the Centre was founded by Professor Linda Anderson as a place where contemporary writing might be performed and presented to public audiences. It was opened by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, who composed his poem 'Slack' in honour of the Centre. The NCLA contributes to the cultural  life of the North East by showcasing established and up-and-coming writers, dramatists, film-makers and poets.This includes preserving the papers of our region's writers including the archive of the Northeast's internationally lauded poetry publisher, Bloodaxe Books

Our Future

We are proud to carry on Cowen's and Spence-Watson's goal of an open and outstanding education for all. We strive for the academic excellence that Professor Strang exemplified. We are committed to Professor Anderson's vision of supporting and investing in the humanities and creative arts in our region. 

Would you like to join us? We offer undergraduate degrees in:

  • English Literature,
  • English Literature with Creative Writing,
  • English Language,
  • English Language and Literature,
  • English Literature and History, 
  • Linguistics (including Linguistics with French, German, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese).

At postgraduate level our students can undertake a Master's degree or a Ph.D in  in Literature, Linguistics, or in Creative Writing.  We offer outreach sessions for teachers and students of our subjects at GCSE and A-level and we are proud to say that many of these brilliant teachers are our graduates.We continue to be inspired by the many successes of our alumni

Our School is based in the Percy Building on Newcastle University's city centre campus, in the heart of a city famous for its open friendliness.  Get in touch and come and visit!