Welcome to the School of English

Head of School Professor Hazel Hutchison

Photograph of Hazel Hutchinson

Welcome to the School of English at the University of Leeds. We are delighted that you have chosen to study with us, and we hope that you will soon feel at home, and will make new friends as you learn together. Starting a degree is a big step and may feel daunting at times, especially if you are new to Leeds. You will find that study at university is very different to school or college. Many of you will also be managing other commitments, perhaps at home or at work. Remember that you can always ask for help or advice, and that we want to help you succeed. There is an exciting learning journey ahead. As you study with us, you will sharpen your reading skills, foster your creativity, and become a clearer thinker. You will discover how to communicate your ideas with style and precision, and how to engage with other voices and points of view—whether those from the past, or those of people whose lives and perspectives are very different to your own. It will be a challenge, but we are ready to help you on that journey, all the way to graduation and beyond. 

It’s great to have you here.

Professor Hazel Hutchison, Head of School 


As well as a introducing the new structures of teaching you will encounter as you embark on your course, these Flying Start materials guide you through key opportunities and support offered by the School. After a period of disruption for us all, we are excited to return to our school buildings on campus and to welcome you to the first weeks of your degree. Find out more about joining the School on our For Students webpages.

Independent Learning

Students need to do very well in order to come to Leeds. These past successes will prove valuable to you as your new university courses get underway. You will be working more independently and this is a significant change which our colleague Professor David Higgins discusses in his video Studying English literature at University.

While he talks generally about studying English literature at university level, David also emphasises that at Leeds you manage your own time and pursue your own interests. We will help you to develop your skills as an independent learner from the core module Foundations of English Studies onwards. This academic support and guidance is provided in a number of ways:

  • Academic Personal Tutors. You will meet your personal tutor in your first week at Leeds, and they will provide a regular point of contact and source of academic support throughout your time here. You can find more information about the calendar and type of meeting via this link. You will have chance to meet other first-years in personal tutor group sessions. There are bookable consultations (weekly during term time) for talking to your tutor on a confidential and one-to-one basis.

  • Seminars. Our small group seminars provide a space to discuss and develop your ideas with your peers under the guidance of your tutor.

  • Lectures. Lectures in the School serve a variety of functions: they provide information; can give an overview; they present perspectives upon the set texts; they broaden your range of reference; they can offer close readings of texts, and so on. They are intended to stimulate and to guide your own thinking. Lecturers hope that you will understand the general idea of their lectures as they give them, but they will assume that you will put in some work both before after the lecture to understand all the details. Please make sure that you make the most of your first year by being prepared at all times for your lectures; this year will be key in laying down the foundations for your later modules and study.

  • Workshops. You will be able to attend workshop sessions across both semesters that help you prepare for key milestones in the year such as essay submission and module choice for level two. On certain programmes and modules (e.g. Creative Writing, Drama, Theatre Studies) workshops provide supportive environments to develop your knowledge and understanding through practical methods of exploration, creative tasks, group work and discussion.

  • Assessment and Feedback. You can expect to be assessed in a variety of ways. Assessments are designed to test and develop a range of different skills you will find useful whilst you are a student and after you’ve graduated. You will be given guidance by tutors on preparing your assessed work for submission. Tutors take great care over the assessment feedback they give. You will always receive supportive advice, with annotation to help you improve and correct your grammar, punctuation, and writing style where necessary.


The School and University are there to support you at every step of your studies. This support takes two main forms, academic and pastoral.

Academically, you’ll be supported through the seminars, workshops, lectures, one-to-one contact with your module tutor, and academic personal tutorials that you’ll attend across your three years. There are other schemes in place to help you get the most from your studies, including Writing Mentors, the Peer Mentoring scheme (see below), and the Students as Scholars programme.

We are committed to ensuring that teaching and learning is accessible for all. The University's Disability Services can provide you with support that you may need in your learning, with more information to be found in the Disability Services portal. There is also support available to you should you require it with access to online and digital learning materials in the Accessibility and Disability Services portal.

In terms of pastoral support, the School has a dedicated Student Support Officer, Rosie Stoker. As well as acting as the School’s disability services advisor, Rosie offers support to students who are experiencing problems due to personal circumstances or other issues that are affecting their ability to study.

The University also offers a number of different services which you can learn more about here.

Peer Mentors

Peer Mentors are upper-level undergraduate students in the School of English who offer support on informal queries regarding university life and academic matters.

You’ll receive an email with details of the first meeting with your Peer Mentor and peers. This meeting will take place in Week One (i.e. the week after Induction Week) and we hope to see you there. As well as letting you know about social events and orientation activities, we're looking forward to welcoming you to the School of English through the Peer Mentoring community.

All new students are assigned a Peer Mentor, but if you would rather opt-out, simply email Amelia Averis or Pearl Liao to let us know. We are School of English interns 2021-22 and our role covers Peer Mentoring, Learning Community and Wellbeing.

Photograph of Amelia Averis

Hello, I’m Amelia Averis. I take BA(Hons) English Literature and I am going into my third and final year at Leeds.

A big piece of advice from me would be to check out the surrounding areas of Leeds and not just be confined to the Campus and the Student Accommodation. It is great to feel like you properly know a city and have made a home there. I would recommend visiting Woodhouse Moor which is beautiful in any season. In the summer it fills up with students listening to music and enjoying the sunshine and is oozing with a community feel. Walking into Headingley along Woodhouse Ridge is great for some nature on the way and charity shops or cafes once you get there.

Get involved in as many things as possible but don’t underestimate the value of having some time to yourself.

Have a great time at Leeds and don’t hesitate to utilize the Peer Mentor scheme for any worries or queries!

Photograph of Pearl Liao

Hello, I’m Pearl Liao. On top of going into third year of my Classical Literature and English course, I'm the President for LUU Quidditch and a member of several Leeds Union clubs and societies.

As your two interns, Amelia and I will do our best to show you the ropes. The most important thing is to be curious and never afraid to ask questions or for help. Before you know it, you'll be off to a Flying Start!

When you visit our libraries and study spaces (downstairs in the Brotherton is my favourite) remember to bring your mask and Student ID. Take your time to wander around to get your bearings on campus. Just remember that the School of English is down the hill from the Parkinson Building and you'll be ready to take on the world.

I've had a great few years at Leeds and I hope you will too!


The School takes pride in its research-based teaching. All of the teaching staff in the School of English are engaged in exciting, innovative, and diverse research alongside their work with you. You will notice this particularly as you enter your second and third (or fourth) years, where you will find that the large range of option modules on offer are based on the research of the module convenors.

In your final year, you will undertake a Final Year Project. This will be an independently researched piece of work and is undertaken with the guidance of an academic advisor. The project can be on a topic of your choice or it can be chosen from a list of special topics. It could be a further in-depth study of something that has already interested you, or on a topic that is not covered elsewhere in the options that we offer. The Final Year Project is the culmination of the research and self-directed learning skills you will have developed throughout your degree programme and allows you to produce a substantial piece of work.

There are other ways to get involved in research activities within the School, such as public lectures, reading groups, and research seminars. You will find information on English staff’s research interests and current projects on the School of English website.

Our Student Community

Photograph of Mia Fulford

Hi everyone! I’m Mia Fulford, a second-year student studying English and History of Art. I have been elected through the Leeds University Union as the School of English Undergraduate Representative for the next academic year to represent student views.

I really enjoy both sides of my course but I’ve always had a soft spot for English because I love reading new and exciting texts and learning about a variety of authors from across the globe. I really enjoyed the Foundations of English Studies module because it introduced me to writers such as the poet and climate change activist Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner. This module also covers aspects of literature such as editing and publishing which I hadn’t considered very much before. I enjoy art, running, swimming and taking my extremely ancient dogs out for walks.  p>

As Chair of the Student Staff Partnership Forum I will be liaising with staff and students in the School. If you’d like to get involved, there are opportunities to be Course Representatives which will be advertised in the first weeks of term.

Please contact me with any questions or feedback that you have about your English studies and I’ll be glad to follow-up on them. Email me at en20mgf@leeds.ac.uk.

The English Society logo

The School of English houses one of the busiest and most sociable societies in the Leeds University Union. The English Society provides opportunities to meet other English students and helps expand your University experience.

For many years they have offered regular socials, career events, UK and international trips, sporting events, and theatre and museum trips, and much besides. For English Tea in past years our students have turned the School’s foyer into a free tearoom, meeting up for cake and conversation. While we will begin cautiously in September 2021, we are optimistic that the Society will this year resume its full range of activities, bringing students from every year together to form new friendships, experiences, and fun.