English and Theatre Studies

Recognised nationally and internationally for its innovative teaching, scholarship and research; listed at No. 1 in Australia and No. 17 worldwide in the QS World University Rankings for 2019


The English and Theatre Studies program at the University of Melbourne introduces students to literature and theatre from around the world and across different genres and historical periods. Staff in the program train students in critical thinking, advanced writing and research skills, analytical and interpretive reading and effective oral communication.

Our program is internationally recognised, listed at No. 1 in Australia and 17 worldwide in the QS World University Rankings for 2019.

Arts and Humanities is ranked at 20 worldwide in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, and No. 2 in Australia. The City of Melbourne is ranked 3 in the 2018 QS Best Student Cities.

Students in the program can specialise in English or Theatre Studies or a combination of both. We have particular strengths in:

  • Medieval literature
  • Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama
  • Romantic and Victorian literature
  • Modernism
  • Contemporary global literature and performance
  • Popular genres
  • Theatre history
  • Australian literature and drama
  • Histories and theories of reading

The program approaches these broad categories through a range of different methodologies, including: the sociology of culture, race, ethnicity and diaspora studies, gender studies and identity politics, philosophy, character and celebrity studies, literature and science, the digital humanities, media studies, cultural histories, performance studies, ecological thought and urban geographies.

Graduates in English and Theatre Studies go on to rewarding careers in publishing, public relations, advertising, media, communications, the creative industries, and teaching. Employers across the board place particular value on our graduates' analytical reading and research skills, clear written expression, and the ability to mount compelling, evidence-based arguments.

Postgraduate students come to English and Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne from around Australia and across the world. They work with internationally recognised experts and undertake supervised research within a vibrant and collegial research community.

Students at all levels can undertake international exchange drawing on the program's global partner networks.

English and Theatre Studies has strong connections to the Australian Centre, the Research Unit in Public Cultures, the Research Unit in Enlightenment, Romanticism, Contemporary Culture and the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions. It regularly holds symposia and conferences and welcomes the presentation of work by visiting scholars.

Dr David McInnis and Assoc. Professor Paul Rae on English and Theatre Studies
Reading complex texts and interpreting performance events affords us valuable insights into who we are. Our graduates are knowledgeable, persuasive, and confident in handling challenging material and complex information, and they find placements in a variety of jobs. Just as importantly, you graduate from English and Theatre Studies with a lifetime of pleasure in the arts ahead of you, your appreciation of the world around you quickened by your knowledge of literary and theatrical expression.