Research is central to the intellectual life of the English Department and the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture of which it is part. The research interests of members of the Department cover a wide range of authors, periods, genres and topics. Particular strengths include Scottish and Irish literature from the late medieval period to the present; Early Modern literature, including Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton and Middleton; Victorian literature including James, Eliot, and the Brontës; American literature; Modernism, and Creative Writing; the department also hosts specialists in trauma, memory studies, literature and science, textual editing and book history.

We are home to the Walter Scott Research Centre, The WORD Centre for Creative Writing and a Centre for the Novel as well as the interdisciplinary Centre for Early Modern Studies, the internationally recognised Research Institute for Scottish and Irish Studies, and the Herbert Grierson Centre for Textual Criticism and Comparative Literature. Postgraduates, staff and visiting scholars all contribute to the activities of the research centres, which organise numerous guest lectures, symposia and conferences throughout the year.