Major

Taught by world-renowned, prize-winning scholars, UBC English courses cover an amazing variety of topics.

From Old English to Canadian English, from medieval ecology to Indigenous science fiction, from the history of dictionaries to the influence of texting, from Shakespeare in film to transsexuality in television; from ancient rhetorical theory to cognitive approaches to language today.

Program Requirements

You can declare the combined major once you have obtained second-year standing and have completed the first-year requirements: prospective English majors are encouraged to take ENGL 100. Students beginning the program take 3 credits of ENGL 200, our brand-new, seminar-based introduction to literary studies, team-taught by departmental faculty. As well, students in the combined emphases take 3 credits of ENGL 229.

In third- and fourth-year, you take a range of courses from both language and literature. Specifically, you take 15 credits from the language area, including the Structure of Modern English (ENGL 330 or 331), plus a range of courses on the history of English, English structure and usage, discourse, and meaning. You also need 12 credits from our Literature course groups in historical and contemporary areas, plus theory, media studies, or genre.

You will complete the program with a seminar in either literature (ENGL 490) or language (ENGL 489) study, working in a small course with a specialist instructor in a particular field or topic. To graduate with an English major, students must complete 30 upper-level credits from ENGL senior courses (numbered 304 and above).

  1. Structure of English: ENGL 330, 331, 321
  2. History of English: ENGL 318, 319, 342, 343, 344, 346
  3. Approaches to contemporary English: ENGL 323, 324, 328
  4. Discourse and meaning: ENGL 312, 322, 327
  5. Rhetoric: ENGL 307-311

Note: topics covered in any of the above groups may also focus on ENGL 326 (which has no permanent title) and ENGL 489 (majors Seminar-Language, where the instructor decides on the topic offered in any given year). Each course will be classed into one of the groups A-E in any given year, depending on the topic covered. Please see an advisor if you want ENGL 326 or ENGL 489 to count as satisfying group A-E requirements.

A. Medieval and Renaissance literatures: ENGL 343 to ENGL 350

B. 18th- and 19th-century literatures: ENGL 351 to ENGL 364

C. Modern, contemporary, transnational, and Indigenous literatures: ENGL 365 to ENGL 379

D. Media, theory, genre, and special topic: ENGL 332 to ENGL 339; ENGL 380 to ENGL 397

6 credits of one of the following options:

  • 100-level English;
  • Arts One;
  • ENGL 140/LING 140 and 3 credits of 100-level English (this option is recommended, but not required);
  • 6 credits of ASTU 100;
  • 3 credits of ASTU 100 or 101 and 3 credits of 100-level English;
  • WRDS 150 or 350 and 3 credits of 100-level English

  • 3 credits of ENGL 200
  • 3 credits of ENGL 229

15 credits in language:

  • 3 credits of either ENGL 330 or ENGL 331
  • 9 credits comprising one course from each of three of five Language Course Groups (A-E)
  • 3 additional credits from any of five language course groups (A-E)

12 credits in literature

  • 3 credits selected from ENGL 343-364 (literature course groups A or B)
  • 3 credits selected from ENGL 365-378 (literature course group C)
  • 6 additional credits selected from courses in literature course groups A-D. A course in Canadian literature is recommended

3 credits of a majors seminar: either ENGL 489, the language seminar or ENGL 490, the literature majors seminar.


Declaring a Major

Double Majors

A major in English can complement any major or honours program in Arts or Science. Current English majors also study economics, political science, psychology, biology, environmental studies, history, geography, anthropology, and visual art.


Course Planning


Frequently Asked Questions

The honours program has admission criteria and requires more credits (48 rather than 30). It also allows students to take more than one seminar (all students take one seminar as a requirement for the major) and has an independent research component – the honours graduating essay.

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