Master’s Program

Our Master of Arts (MA) in English allows you to pursue studies in many of the topics, methods, and theories that currently shape the disciplines of English literature and language.

The MA allows students to specialize in literature or language. Students specializing in literature may take courses in language and vice versa. Students may take a number of courses in other departments as well.

The graduate program gives students the choice to pursue the MA either with or without a thesis. Either degree qualifies the student to apply for PhD programs.


Program Requirements

  • Students may enroll in either full-time or part-time studies leading to an MA.
  • Full-time students must be in residence in the Lower Mainland for at least one winter session.
  • Students who plan to take an MA degree on a part-time basis must obtain approval from the graduate program advisor and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies before the beginning of the degree.
  • All part-time students must show evidence of continuing progress each year they are enrolled in the program; that is, they must complete a minimum of 6 credits of work during each calendar year.

  • Most full-time students require 16-24 months to complete the degree.
  • Whether full-time or part-time, all MA students must complete their programs within five years of initial registration.
  • Under exceptional circumstances, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may grant a leave of absence and/or an extension of up to one year.
  • All students are required to maintain their registration continuously, whether taking courses or not. Students who fail to register for two consecutive terms may be required to withdraw. Status may be reinstated only if an application for reinstatement is approved by both the Graduate Committee and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

For the MA in English without a thesis, students must complete 30 credits of coursework, of which not more than six credits may be 300- or 400-level courses.

Approximately one-third of any given MA cohort in the department is working on a thesis-based MA.

For the MA in English with a thesis, students must complete 21 credits of coursework, of which not more than six credits may be 300- or 400-level courses, as well as nine credits for the MA thesis and oral examination.

MA students wishing to write a thesis must apply to the Graduate Committee with a prospectus. As soon as the student has decided upon an area of specialization, preferably by the end of the first year with full standing, the student should formulate a topic and strike up a supervisory committee.

This committee includes a primary supervisor and at least one reader (or at most two readers) selected in consultation with the supervisor. The student must then submit a prospectus electronically for approval to the graduate program office.

 

All MA students are required to take ENGL 500 "Research Tools and Methods" and to complete either:

  • 27 credits of additional coursework (coursework option) OR
  • 18 credits of additional coursework and write a 9-credit thesis (thesis option).

MA students are automatically registered in ENGL 500 as a program requirement.

Language Stream Coursework

Students are encouraged to take the following language seminars whenever they are offered:

  • ENGL 507 - Studies in English Historical Linguistics
  • ENGL 508 - Linguistic Studies in Contemporary English
  • ENGL 509 - Studies in Rhetoric

Students in language are also encouraged to take relevant literature seminars. For example:

  • History of English students whose focus is the medieval period should enroll in ENGL 510, 511, and/or 512
  • History of English students whose focus is the Early Modern period should enroll in ENGL 515, 519, and/or 520
  • Students studying English dialects should enroll in the appropriate Canadian, British, and/or American literature seminars
  • Students whose focus is rhetoric should enroll in ENGL 553

MA students may count toward their degree a maximum of 12 credits taken outside the English graduate program seminar offerings. Those 12 credits may be from the following:

  1. Up to six credits of upper-level (300 or 400) ENGL undergraduate courses (except for ENGL 301, 302, and 303). These courses must be taught by graduate English department faculty and must not be distance education courses. Students must complete a body of work equivalent to that undertaken in a graduate seminar. The MA Advisor must approve these courses for credit toward the degree in advance of registration.
  2. Up to six credits of graduate courses in fields outside the department which should be related to the student's study program. The MA Advisor must approve these courses for credit toward the degree in advance of registration.
  3. Up to six credits of graduate courses in English at other western universities (i.e. Athabasca, Alberta, Brandon, Calgary, Lethbridge, Manitoba, Northern British Columbia, Regina, Saskatchewan, Simon Fraser, and Victoria) pursued through the Western Deans' Agreement.
  4. Students may pursue a Directed Reading (ENGL 547) with an instructor. Usually, students take such a course of study in their second year of the program. ENGL 547 is usually three credits, although a six-credit course may be approved in exceptional cases. In special circumstances, an MA student in the language stream may take two directed readings to a maximum of six credits.

Note: students may take additional courses from any of the categories above, but only 12 credits (with a maximum of six credits from each category) count toward the degree.


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