Susan Brantly received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in German and Scandinavian from Harvard University in 1980, her Master of Arts Degree in Scandinavian Literature from the University of Minnesota in 1983, and her Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literature from Yale University in 1987. That same year, she began working in the Scandinavian Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin, where she is currently a professor. She became a Contemporary Swedish historical fiction remains a central research interest, and she has published articles on writers such as P.C. Jersild, Sven Delblanc, Sara Lidman, Per Anders Fogelström, P.O. Enquist and others in journals such as, Clio, Comparative Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Horizont. She has also published on August Strindberg and other nineteenth-century Nordic writers, and maintains a keen interest in modernist studies.
From 2007 to 2009, she served as President of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. She has also served as the Director of the Bradley Learning Community and the Director of the Center for European Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Brantly is the editor of the Studies in Nordic Literature and Film series, published by the Welsh Academic Press.  In 2013, Brantly became the editor of Scandinavian Studies, the quarterly journal published by the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study.
- 2003 recipient of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award at University of Wisconsin-Madison
- 2004 recipient of Outstanding Faculty Member by The UW Panhellenic Association
- Brantly, Susan (1991). The Life and Writings of Laura Marholm. Helbing & Lichtenhahn. ISBN 978-3719011826.
- Brantly, Susan (2002). Understanding Isak Dinesen. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1570034282.
- Brantly, Susan (2004). Laura Marholm: Ihr Leben und ihre Werke. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1443801454. (Trans. Albert Burkhardt)
- Brantly, Susan (2009). The Nordic Storyteller: Essays in Honour of Niels Ingwersen. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 978-1443801454. (ed. with Thomas A. DuBois)
- "Susan Brantly", Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- "Department of Scandinavian Studies: Susan Brantly", Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- "SASS 2011 - A Century of Scholarship: Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, Conference Program", 28-30 April, 2011.
- "Welsh Academic Press - Studies in Nordic Literature and Film", Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- "UI Press|Journals|Scandinavian Studies", Retrieved 25 May 2013.