With an English language major you will build life-long skills in critical and analytical thinking, linguistic awareness and communications that will be essential to your professional development.

In the English language major, you have the flexibility to take a range of our language courses with a focus on discourse and genre analysis, the history of English, structure of language, rhetoric, approaches to contemporary English or discourse and meaning.

You can declare the English language major once you have obtained second-year standing and have completed the first-year requirements: prospective English majors are encouraged to take ENGL 100.

Program Requirements

Students starting the program take 3 credits of ENGL 229 and an additional 3 credits of one of our second-year literature courses (ENGL 200-249) covering such topics as graphic novels and comics, science fiction and fantasy, film adaptation, contemporary media, Indigenous literature, plus literature of Great Britain, Canada, the United States, and around the world.

In third- and fourth-year, students embark on advanced studies in the English language, compiling a suite of courses from our language course groups in historical areas, the structure, discourse and meaning, and rhetorical theory and practice. How students arrange these courses depends entirely on their interests and ambitions.

Students complete the program with a seminar, 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 304 and above.

A. Structure of English: ENGL 330, 331, 321

B. History of English: ENGL 318, 319, 342, 343, 344, 346

C. Approaches to contemporary English: ENGL 323, 324, 328

D. Discourse and meaning: ENGL 312, 322, 327

E. 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.

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 229, and
  • 3 additional credits selected from ENGL 200-249

Students must complete 27 upper-level credits comprising:

    • 12 credits of ENGL 318, 319, 330, 331
    • 9 credits comprising one course from each of three of five Language Course Groups (A-E)
    • 6 credits selected from:
      • Any course(s) in language course groups (A-E)
      • English literature: (ENGL 332-339, 349-398)
      • Selected relevant courses outside of the department (e.g. linguistics, anthropology, language and literacy education, philosophy, psychology): Approval of an English advisor is required to take the course.

  • 3 credits of ENGL 489, the Language 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 course focuses on selected issues in the study of language. It is not a generic overview of English linguistics.

It shows students what kinds of questions or methods are used in a more precisely defined English language study area (such as language in a social context, rhetoric, dialects of English, meaning in language, etc.).

ENGL 229 is either required or recommended in all programs focusing on language or language and literature.

The goal of this is to make sure that students take a variety of courses while following their interests to some degree.

There are five groups of courses, divided in terms of general topics in language study (such as grammar-and-pronunciation, methodologies in language study, how we use language to express meaning, what does the discipline of rhetoric add to your understanding of language).

Students should choose three such areas and do one course in each. If the program allows more English language credits (most of them), students can either add more courses in groups they have already tried or expand and try other groups.

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