The Benchmark statement for English

The QAA Subject Benchmark for English

The English Subject Benchmark Statement

This version of the Statement forms its third edition, following initial publication in 2000 and review and revision in 2007.


The QAA has now published almost 70 benchmark statements, as part of their project to make explicit the general academic characteristics and standards of honours degrees in the UK. Links to copies of the English Benchmark Statement in PDF and HTML format are available in the additional references area, as are links to related QAA documents.

The English Benchmark Statement covers English literature, English language and creative writing, but in 2008 the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) published an additional Creative Writing Subject Benchmark Statement. This provides descriptions of how the subject is taught and researched.

The original English Benchmark Statement was written by a group of senior academics in the discipline and published in 2000 and then updated in 2007. Professor Judy Simons, Chair of the first English Benchmark group said:

“We see the primary task of the benchmark statement not as to specify a regulatory framework nor to restrict what is or will be taught but to articulate principles that can provide a framework for undergraduate degree programmes in English. We recognise that diversity of practice is vital for the growth of the subject and the equally important development of its students’ potential.”(From The Letter from the Chair)