Advising and FAQ

Our academic advisors are here to help you.

English Undergraduate Advising

If you are a student in an English program, or are considering becoming an English major or honours student, we encourage you to speak with an English advisor if you have questions or concerns about your degree and course requirements.

When contacting an academic advisor via email, you must include your name, student number, major and a summary statement of your inquiry.


For general questions or concerns about the undergraduate programs in English Language and Literatures, or if you would like to book an appointment, please contact our Undergraduate Program Office.

For inquiries about Go Global and transfer credits, and second-year courses, please contact the English Undergraduate Program Office.

We may redirect your inquiry to one of our faculty program coordinators. You may also contact a faculty coordinator directly if you have a specific program or course-related questions.

First-Year English

First-year English Program Assistant
Buchanan Tower 397

Honours Advising

Prof. Gregory Mackie, Honours Coordinator

English Literature Advising

Prof. Michael Zeitlin, Literature Coordinator

English Language and English Language and Literature Advising

Prof. Elise Stickles, Language Coordinator


Marking Standards

To clarify our expectations for student work and ensure comparable marking across sections and courses, the department has adopted the following guidelines for marking standards.

Percentage (%)Letter Grade
0-49F (Fail)

An "A" paper

(An outstanding paper; 80-100%)

This paper must be entirely focused on the topic and consistently strong in structure, content, expression, mechanics, and presentation. If the paper is based on a text or draws material from other primary or secondary sources, it must include complete documentation in the MLA style. An "A" paper should contain an original and credible argument in response to the topic. Any significant expression errors that detract from the paper's effectiveness would mean that the paper could not earn an "A" mark.

A "B" paper

(A competent paper; 68-79%)

This paper must be well-focussed on the topic; its thesis must be well-supported by convincing evidence and explanations. The structure of a "B" paper must be strong and clear; its thesis must be specific and significant. If this paper contains expression errors, they must be occasional rather than chronic, and they must not obscure meaning. A "B" paper based on research must be accurately documented in the MLA style. The principal difference between an "A" paper and a "B" paper is in the quality and level of its argument. A "B" paper is less adventurous than an "A"; it may tend to rely more heavily on materials and arguments raised in lectures and discussions than an "A" paper would.

A "C-D" paper

(An adequate paper; 50-67%)

A paper at this level is generally clear in its expression, but it is weaker in content and/or structure than a "B" paper. Its thesis may be vague (but still on topic); its transitions may be inconsistent; its evidence may be occasionally unconvincing or incomplete. Language errors in this category will be more frequent than those at the "A" or the "B" level, but they will not be so severe or so chronic that they make a paper difficult or impossible to understand.

An "F" paper

(An inadequate paper; 0-49%)

A paper at this level will suffer from one or more of the following serious flaws: it may be off-topic; it may lack a thesis; it may lack clear and adequate development and paragraphing; it may be deficient in the presentation of evidence; it may contain serious and repeated errors in sentence structure, diction, and grammar – errors that obscure meaning.

Failure to acknowledge sources

A paper that does not give complete and accurate credit for directly quoted material or ideas and arguments that the student has summarized or paraphrased from another source must receive a grade of zero.

Outside assistance

A paper edited or revised by a so-called tutoring service must also receive a failing grade of zero, for it does not constitute a student's own work or best efforts.


In fairness to those students who work hard to meet course deadlines, a home paper submitted after a deadline will be assessed, a daily penalty to be announced in writing by the course instructor.

While the previous guidelines consider grading standards in terms of individual papers, and while it is evident that a final course grade will not always, or even commonly, be a precise mathematical averaging of numerical grades on written assignments, there should still be a clear and evident correlation between the grades that a student receives during the term or year and the final grade.

The instructor has a responsibility to convey the relative weight of the various written assignments, the examination(s), classwork, and other elements of the course, while not concealing that in the end, it is his or her considered judgment of the student's total performance that is represented in the final grade.

Transfer Credits

There are two primary forms of transfer credit at UBC: credit earned during Go Global exchange, and credit earned at other post-secondary institutions.

Studying abroad is a brilliant opportunity and we encourage students in our programs to take advantage. The Department of English Language and Literatures does not pre-review courses that students are considering taking while on exchange, but Go Global has extensive information on a large number of courses and their credit transfer histories.

Be sure to consult Go Global advising before you go on exchange to make sure that you are making good choices in your course selections abroad and your degree program when you return.

Visit the Go Global website for full details on how credits are transferred from our partner institutions.

Transfer credit for courses taken at colleges and universities other than UBC is assessed and determined by Enrolment Services.

There is a very helpful list of institutions and transferrable courses which you should consult if you are considering requesting transfer credit.

If you feel that a course has been incorrectly assessed, or if you are hoping to have credits counted differently, you should contact your Enrolment Services Advisor (ESA). If the course needs to be assessed individually, Enrolment Services will contact the English Department on your behalf. It is not possible for the Department of English Language and Literatures to adjust your transfer credit.

Transfer Students

You may apply to major in English at UBC once you have completed at least 54 credits of coursework (at least 18 half-year courses), including 6 credits of first-year English (two half-year courses) and 6 credits of second-year English (two half-year courses).

All prospective English majors applying from another B.C. post-secondary institution should plan their coursework to include 6 credits of first-year English.

Prospective literature majors should take courses equivalent to English 220 and one of English 221, 222, 223, 224 or 230.

Prospective language majors should take courses equivalent to English 229 (where available) and one of English 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, or 230. If you are transferring from an institution that does not offer an equivalent course to English 229, you will be required to take English 229 before applying to the majors program in English.

Students applying after completing more than two years of coursework at another B.C. post-secondary institution should follow the guidelines above and should seek the guidance of a majors advisor before registering for upper-level courses at UBC.

You can find information about course equivalents at other B.C. post-secondary institutions in the B.C. Transfer Guide.

If you are applying to UBC from a university or college outside BC., your transcripts will be assessed by the UBC admissions office at the time of application and course equivalents will be assigned where possible.

We encourage you to meet all program prerequisites before applying to the English majors program. In exceptional cases, we may consider applications from transfer students who are missing one course prerequisite. Please consult one of our advisors before applying. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Some courses improve your skills in academic research and writing (ASTU or WRDS), others focus on the basic skills in the discipline of English (100 level English). Arts One gives you a broad introduction to liberal arts and humanities. Only ENGL 140/LING 140 is specifically designed to address issues of language and approaches to language study.

ENGL 200 is a collaboratively-taught exploration of key scholarly, theoretical, and critical approaches informing the study of literatures in English at UBC. Students in the course work closely with one faculty instructor in a small-class setting; these small classes join together for one lecture on each week’s designated texts and topic. ENGL 200 is a graduation requirement for students declaring an English Literature major, though the class is open to all students interested in exploring the fields of literary study.

Only in exceptional circumstances.

You should design your schedule to meet upper-level English requirements with upper-level English courses. For advising related to your English program requirements, contact the English Undergraduate Office (

Generally no. All 300-level courses have the same pre-requisite, and you can meet your program requirements in whatever order makes the most sense for you.

That said, we encourage literature program students to complete the required course ENGL 200 in their second year, or as early as possible after deciding on an English literature or language and literature degree program; the same is true of ENGL 229 if it is required for your program in English language or language and literature. For majors, ENGL 489 or 490 should be taken in the last year of your program.

A seminar course is an opportunity to participate in research, even on a limited scale. It is also a student-driven scholarly environment. Readings required are typically of a scholarly kind (rather than textbook-like). Students are expected to propose a small research question, collect appropriate readings and discuss possible ways of answering the question from the perspective of frameworks learned. The seminar often requires the ability to present scholarly work in class and typically ends with writing a research paper.

If you find that the course you want is full, you may want to consider:

  • Switching the order of your courses to see if there might be space in the other term. Remember: you can take first-year English courses in any order, as long as you only take one at a time!
  • Whether a different first-year English course or format might meet your needs. English 110 and 111 are both options as first-year literature courses.
  • Confirming with your Faculty’s website or advising office whether they require specific English courses, or if they allow any combination of English courses adding up to the correct number of credits.
  • Confirming that you are registering in the correct course.

Remember: students in the Faculty of Arts are required to take WRDS 150 (or its equivalent English 100, if you are thinking about studying literature).

Department Policies

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