English Studies



English Studies is the scholarly investigation of the English language and its many uses in social and historical contexts. It prominently includes the study of literature(s) written in English, as well as creative writing. Both the language and the literatures are studied from multiple perspectives, linguistic ones and literary ones, and also including critical and cultural theory. Our English Studies programme has a strong cross-cultural orientation, recognizing English as a language of global communication and world literature, a language which people make their own, creatively and habitually, all over the world. It offers students both a solid foundation and a wide range of choices in various concentrations. Introductory courses emphasize the practice of critical reading, analysis and writing, as well as the development of historical and theoretical knowledge. Advanced courses focus on English language and literature as representations of culture and society in diverse historical contexts, on the production of meaning in different discursive contexts, genres and media, and on the place of English in relation to histories of colonization and globalization with special reference to Hong Kong and the region. A range of capstone courses, including research seminars, internships and senior colloquia, offer students opportunities to integrate and deploy their learning in the major while considering their options upon graduation.

The courses of the English Studies programme incorporate a variety of teaching and learning methods, including formal lectures, seminars, small group tutorials, workshops, and online learning. They are mostly assessed by coursework, including oral presentations, in-class tests and quizzes, essays and research projects and portfolios. They are designed to provide students with skills of accurate and historically sensitive analysis, critical reading and thinking, and clear and coherent argument in both writing and speaking.

Students are encouraged to discuss their study plans and course selections with the UG Coordinator, their Academic Advisers, or any teachers in the English Studies programme.




Programme Outcomes

On successful completion of the major or minor in English Studies, students should be able to: 

  • identify and analyze issues and topics in the study of English literature and linguistics through various approaches;
  • formulate critical questions and investigate topics through research, analysis and writing;
  • identify and express their own perspectives regarding disciplinary issues and compare them to those of others;
  • demonstrate an appreciation of the global dimensions and cultural diversity within English language and literature;
  • recognize and make use of various rhetorical and discursive features in the presentation, organization and discussion of ideas, observations, and arguments; and
  • understand and articulate the relevance of English Studies in providing insight into the role of language and literature in culture and society. 



Syllabus for students admitted in 2018-19

*New courses added to the relevant course list shall also be counted towards the major/minor for students admitted in the earlier cohort(s).

First-year Prerequisite

Students intending to declare a major or minor in English Studies in the second year must pass at least one introductory ENGL course from List A “Historical and Theoretical Foundations” (6 credits) in the first year.

Admission to all introductory courses is on the basis of academic record including a minimum Level 5 in English Language in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination, or an equivalent score in another recognized English proficiency test.


Major in English Studies (78 credits)

To complete the requirements of the major, students must take:

  1. 30 credits of introductory courses (including the first-year prerequisite), normally taken in the first two years of study, which consist of:
    (a) 12 credits from List A “Historical and Theoretical Foundations” (including the first-year prerequisite);
    (b) 12 credits from List B “Critical Reading, Analysis and Writing”;
    (c) 6 credits from either List A or List B; and

  2. 48 credits of advanced courses, which must include a capstone course to be taken preferably in the final year.


Minor in English Studies (36 credits)

To complete the requirements of the minor, students must take:

  1. 18 credits of introductory courses, which consist of:
  2. (a) 6 credits of the first-year prerequisite from List A “Historical and Theoretical Foundations”;
    (b) 6 credits from List B “Critical Reading, Analysis and Writing”;
    (c) 6 credits from either List A or List B; and

  3. 18 credits of advanced courses.


Introductory Courses

List A: Historical and Theoretical Foundations
The courses in this list will introduce students to the history and organization of diverse areas of literary and linguistic scholarship. Students will acquire a general overview of selected areas and issues, including major theoretical distinctions or classifications and their historical development over time.

ENGL1011.   An introduction to the study of meaning (6 credits)
ENGL1012.   Language as social action (6 credits)
ENGL1013.   Exploring the modern: Reading early 20th century British writing (6 credits)
ENGL1015.   Introduction to English linguistics (6 credits)
ENGL1016.   Introduction to life writing (6 credits)
ENGL1017.   Introduction to sociolinguistics (6 credits)
ENGL1018.   Language and gender (6 credits)
ENGL1019.   Literature and imitation (6 credits)
ENGL1020.   Nineteenth-century literature and culture (6 credits)
ENGL1021.   Periods of literary history (6 credits)
ENGL1022.   Poetry past and present (6 credits)
ENGL1023.   The view from nowhere: Experimental prose (6 credits)
ENGL1024.   Topics in world literature (6 credits)
ENGL1025.   Understanding narratives (6 credits)
ENGL1037.   Persuasion (6 credits)
ENGL1044.   Introduction to literary theory (6 credits)
ENGL1045.   “Community” in Sociolinguistics (6 credits)
ENGL1046.   Introduction to modern short fiction (6 credits)
ENGL1051.   English sounds (6 credits)

LCOM1001.   Introduction to language and communication (6 credits)
LCOM1002.   Language, communication, society, field (6 credits)
LCOM1003.   Theorizing communication (6 credits)
LCOM1004.   Introduction to pragmatics (6 credits)
LCOM1005.   Introduction to linguistic anthropology (6 credits)

List B: Critical Reading, Analysis and Writing
The courses in this list will introduce students to the practice and methods of critical reading, analysis and writing, focusing on different areas of literary and linguistic study. Students will acquire a basic grasp of analytical distinctions and terminology, and learn to ask questions and construct critical arguments.

ENGL1014.   Imaginary geographies: The art of writing place (6 credits)
ENGL1026.   Adaptation: From text to screen (6 credits)
ENGL1027.   Analyzing discourse (6 credits)
ENGL1028.   Awakenings: Exploring women’s writing (6 credits)
ENGL1029.   Drama: Comedy and renewal (6 credits)
ENGL1030.   Dramatic changes: Versions of Renaissance literature (6 credits)
ENGL1031.   English grammar(s) (6 credits)
ENGL1032.   Late Victorian Texts and Contexts (6 credits)
ENGL1033.   Intercultural communication (6 credits)
ENGL1034.   Language and prejudice (6 credits)
ENGL1035.   Language crimes (6 credits)
ENGL1036.   Meaning and metaphor (6 credits)
ENGL1038.   Practice of criticism (6 credits)
ENGL1039.   Realism and representation (6 credits)
ENGL1040.   Rewriting and writing back (6 credits)
ENGL1041.   Modernity and literary modernism (6 credits)
ENGL1042.   World Englishes matters (6 credits)
ENGL1043.   An introduction to 20th-century English poetry (6 credits)
ENGL1047.   The English lexicon (6 credits)
ENGL1048.   Crime stories (6 credits)
ENGL1049.   The pen in plaint: Early English sonnets (6 credits)
ENGL1050.    An introduction to qualitative research methods in sociolinguistics online and offline (6 credits)



Advanced Courses

In order to enroll in any advanced course in English Studies, students must normally have completed 18 credits of introductory courses, with at least 6 credits from both List A and List B.

ENGL2002.   Language in society (6 credits)
ENGL2004.   English syntax (6 credits)
ENGL2007.   Literary linguistics (6 credits)
ENGL2010.   English novel I (6 credits)
ENGL2011.   English novel II (6 credits)
ENGL2012.   Contemporary literary theory (6 credits)
ENGL2022.   Women, feminism and writing I (6 credits)
ENGL2030.   World Englishes (6 credits)
ENGL2031.   The semantics and pragmatics of English (6 credits)
ENGL2035.   Reading poetry (6 credits)
ENGL2039.   Gender and discourse (6 credits)
ENGL2045.   Travel writing (6 credits)
ENGL2047.   English discourse structures and strategies (6 credits)
ENGL2048.   Language and jargon (6 credits)
ENGL2050.   English corpus linguistics (6 credits)
ENGL2055.   American Gothic: Haunted homes (6 credits)
ENGL2057.   Text and image (6 credits)
ENGL2069.   Form and meaning (6 credits)
ENGL2074.   Postcolonial readings (6 credits)
ENGL2075.   The idea of China (6 credits)
ENGL2076.   Romanticism (6 credits)
ENGL2078.   The novel today (6 credits)
ENGL2079.   Shakespeare (6 credits)
ENGL2080.   Women, feminism and writing II (6 credits)
ENGL2085.   Creative writing I (6 credits)
ENGL2086.   Creative writing II (6 credits)
ENGL2089.   Making Americans: Literature as ritual and renewal (6 credits)
ENGL2092.   Postcolonial English (6 credits)
ENGL2093.   Literary islands: English poetry and prose from the South Pacific and the Caribbean (6 credits)
ENGL2095.   The East: Asia in English writing (6 credits)
ENGL2097.   Imagining Hong Kong (6 credits)
ENGL2099.   Language, identity, and Asian Americans (6 credits)
ENGL2101.   Culture and society (6 credits)
ENGL2103.   Language and new media (6 credits)
ENGL2104.   Language in the USA (6 credits)
ENGL2112.   An introduction to the history of English (6 credits)
ENGL2115.   Theories of language acquisition (6 credits)
ENGL2117.   English phonology and morphology (6 credits)
ENGL2118.   Law and literature (6 credits)
ENGL2119.   English in Hong Kong: Making it your own (6 credits)
ENGL2120.   Science fiction and utopia (6 credits)
ENGL2121.   Comedy, renewal, and cross-cultural drama (6 credits)
ENGL2122.   Victorians at home and abroad (6 credits)
ENGL2123.   Language and identity in Hong Kong (6 credits)
ENGL2125.   English construction grammar (6 credits)
ENGL2126.   Law, meaning, and interpretation (6 credits)
ENGL2127.   Language and the law (6 credits)
ENGL2128.   Modernism (6 credits)
ENGL2129.   English as a language of science (6 credits)
ENGL2130.   Signs, language and meaning: Integrational reflections (6 credits)
ENGL2131.   The critic as artist (6 credits)
ENGL2132.   Cross-cultural issues and theories (6 credits)
ENGL2133.   Topics in cross-cultural studies: Disciplinarity, methodology, and politics (6 credits)
ENGL2134.   World literature (6 credits)
ENGL2135.   The cosmopolitan imagination (6 credits)
ENGL2136.   Cross-cultural discourses (6 credits)
ENGL2137.   The profession of playwright in early modern England (6 credits)
ENGL2138.   Language and globalization (6 credits)
ENGL2139.   American modern (6 credits)
ENGL2140.   Ideologies of language in early modernity (6 credits)
ENGL2141.   Doing discourse analysis (6 credits)
ENGL2142.   Milton (6 credits)
ENGL2143.   Religion and the flourishing of English: 1382-1611 (6 credits)
ENGL2144.   Forms of contemporary literature (6 credits)
ENGL2145.   Post-1945 English drama (6 credits)
ENGL2146.   Cognitive semantics (6 credits)
ENGL2147.   Joyce’s voices (6 credits)
ENGL2149.   American dreaming (6 credits)
ENGL2150.   The city and modernity (6 credits)
ENGL2151.   The city and postmodernity (6 credits)
ENGL2152.   Theory of the novel (6 credits)
ENGL2153.   Literary London (6 credits)
ENGL2154.   Modernism, blitz and after (6 credits)
ENGL2155.   Literature of the African city (6 credits)
ENGL2156.   Eighteenth-century British literature (6 credits)
ENGL2157.   Representations of justice in law and literature (6 credits)
ENGL2158.   Language processing and learning (6 credits)
ENGL2159.   Twenty-first century English poetry (6 credits)
ENGL2160.   Sovereignty in law, theory and culture (6 credits)
ENGL2161.   Language rights and linguistic justice (6 credits)
ENGL2162.   Where the wild things are:  Children's literature and the law (6 credits)
ENGL2163.   Comics, graphic novel and theory (6 credits)
ENGL2164.   The beginnings of English law and literature (6 credits)
ENGL2165.   Legal fictions: United States citizenship and the right to write in America (6 credits)

LCOM2001.   Theories of language and communication (6 credits)
LCOM2002.   Language in the workplace (6 credits)
LCOM2003.   Language and politeness (6 credits)
LCOM2004.   Language, communication and the media (6 credits)
LCOM2005.   Language, communication and globalization (6 credits)
LCOM2007.   Visual communication (6 credits)
LCOM2008.   Health communication, ‘healthy’ communication (6 credits)
LCOM2009.   Language and religion (6 credits)
LCOM2010.   Nonverbal communication (6 credits)
LCOM2011.   The language of news media (6 credits)

Capstone Courses
ENGL3032.   Advanced topics in English studies (capstone experience) (12 credits)
ENGL3033.   Research seminar in English studies (capstone experience) (6 credits)
ENGL3034.   Research seminar in English literary studies (capstone experience) (6 credits)
ENGL3036.   Research seminar in English linguistics (capstone experience) (6 credits)
ENGL3037.   Research seminar in language and society (capstone experience) (6 credits)
ENGL3039.   Research seminar in cross-cultural studies in English (capstone experience) (6 credits)
ENGL3040.   Internship in English studies (capstone experience) (6 credits)
ENGL3041.   Senior colloquium in English studies (capstone experience) (6 credits)
ENGL3042.   Extended essay in English studies (capstone experience) (6 credits)




Course offerings and time-table

Please see https://english.hku.hk/timetable.htm for course offerings and time-table of 2018-19.



UG Coordinator

Dr Elizabeth Ho
School of English
The University of Hong Kong
Tel.: (852) 3917 2766
Fax: (852) 2559 7139
E-mail: lizho@hku.hk



Last updated: 23 August 2018