The graduate programs in the Department of English Language and Literature at UBC are amongst the most vibrant and wide-ranging in Canada.

Students who pursue a Master of Arts (MA) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in English earn their degree by specializing in either English language or English literature. Our department is one of the few in North America to offer both of these specializations.

Students who specialize in English language may focus on discourse and genre analysis, history and structure of language, or history and theory of rhetoric. Language faculty teach and supervise research in the following areas: descriptive linguistics, historical linguistics, cognitive linguistics, functional grammar, semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, stylistics, genre studies, and history and theory of rhetoric.

Examples of recent course offerings include:

  • Cognitive approaches to the language of literature
  • The uses of classical rhetoric for contemporary critical practice
  • Courses on reported speech and its rhetorical versatility across genres

Language students can also take a wide variety of literature courses on offer.

Students who specialize in English literatures may focus on specific periods, genres, and significant figures in British, North American, and world literatures in English, or may work across disciplinary, conceptual, and historical fields.

The Department of English Language and Literatures contributes to UBC’s outstanding interdisciplinary programs including medieval studies, Canadian studies, Indigenous critical and creative studies; the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice; and the graduate program in science and technology studies.

Examples of current faculty research initiatives include:

  • Ecocriticism and Renaissance drama
  • Transport in Romantic poetry
  • Radio and modernist poetics
  • The politics of post-identity in Asian American literature
  • The role of war and trauma in twentieth-century Canadian, US and British literature

Literature students can also take advantage of a wide variety of language courses on offer.

Master of Arts in English

Pursue studies in many of the topics, methods, and theories that characterize research in the disciplines of English literature and language.
Explore our MA program arrow_right_alt

PhD in English

Structure a course of study that aligns with your specific research interests in English language or literature.
Explore our PhD program arrow_right_alt