In literary criticism, the term English studies is occasionally used to refer to the critical study of English literature. The only thing distinguishing "English studies" from the broader category of academic literary criticism and literary theory is that its texts must originally have been written in English.
Generally, English studies is practiced in university departments of English Literature, while other literary criticism takes place in foreign-language departments and departments of comparative literature. This disciplinary divide is the motivation for the term, as professors of English literature occasionally find it useful to distinguish themselves from professors of other literatures for administrative reasons (thus the Modern Language Association is divided into two principal subgroups, the Association of Departments of English and the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages). In the everyday practice of scholarship, however, little attention is paid to the distinction.