Honours

Take a deep dive into English literature in the honours literature program.

The honours in English literature exposes you to wide-range critical theory, literary history, textual analysis, and contemporary and cultural studies. Our program emphasizes a comprehensive understanding of the discipline of literary studies with opportunities for focused, independent research.

As an honours student, you’ll receive an intensive educational experience where you’ll work closely with your peers and faculty members as you participate in small-group seminars and write a graduating essay.

The 48 credits required in the honours program provide breadth and depth through area requirements exceeding those of the major. You can also combine your English honours with majors and minors or even double-honours degrees in other disciplines.

Many of our honours literature graduates work in law, communication, journalism, education, media, and publishing or pursue graduate studies, including top programs in North America and the UK.

Apply to the Honours Program

Application for the honours in English literature and the honours in English language and literature follow the same requirements and procedures. See below how to apply.

Application Process

Students may enter the honours program either in their second or third year of study.

  • Admission into second-year requires an average of at least 76% in
    • 3 credits of first-year English literature and 3 credits of first-year writing
    • or in UBC's Arts One program.

Students who receive UBC English credit for Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs may count those credits toward the major's first-year English requirement. Students with 6 AP or IB credits can take 200-level English courses; if you need help registering, contact the English undergraduate programs assistant.

Students who have received transfer credits for first-year English courses may count those credits toward English honours' first-year English requirement.

The English honours program accepts applications for second-year (ENGL 210 and ENGL 211). All applicants should submit:

  • The application form
  • One writing sample from a literature course
  • A short letter explaining their choice of this program and their expectations
  • One confidential letter of reference

The honours committee will allocate spaces to new applicants in early May. We will notify interested students of our decision early in June.

The English honours program accepts third-year applications from students not enrolled in ENGL 210 and 211 during their second year. All applicants should submit the following:

  • The application form
  • One writing sample from a literature course
  • A short letter explaining their choice of this program and their expectations
  • One confidential letter of reference

If accepted, applicants will need to have fulfilled the requirements for second-year English: ENGL 200* plus 3 other ENGL credits. Students may also show that they are planning to take the relevant credits in the summer.

*In 2019/20 only, ENGL 220 may be substituted for ENGL 200.

Once you are accepted into the program, fill out the course approval form and make an appointment with an advisor during the advising period to discuss your specific schedule for next year. We will notify interested students of our decision early in June.

The English honours program accepts applications for third-year students who have already completed ENGL 210 and 211.

Continuing applicants should only submit an application form and may disregard the other documents listed on the form.

Once you have been re-admitted, fill out the course approval form and make an appointment with an advisor during the advising period to discuss your specific schedule for next year. We will notify interested students of our decision early in June.

Students not currently registered at UBC must apply for admission to the university.

Applicants registering at UBC for the first time should also provide the Department of English Language and Literatures with a transcript of their university or college work to date.

The honours committee will allocate spaces to new applicants in early May. We will notify interested students of our decision early in June.


Program Requirements

You must take at least 48 credits in English courses numbered 304 and above (an additional six credits of elective work may be granted if a student shows that an elective provides a significant addition to his/her work in literature).

Students contemplating an honours program are strongly advised to complete the Faculty of Arts requirements in science and language before entering the program.

Second-year honours consist of nine credits of course work. Together as a cohort, students take English 210, a six-credit seminar surveying significant works of literature in English, and English 211, a three-credit seminar introducing students to the theories used in the study of literature.

Prerequisites: An overall high second-class standing in the 2nd year and a first or a high second-class standing in English.

English honours students are also required to take courses in the following areas:

  • At least one course from each of the following areas (minimum 9 credits):
    • Old and Middle English Studies: 342*, 343, 344, 346
    • Sixteenth-Century Studies: 347, 348
    • Seventeenth-Century Studies: 349, 350* may count either here or as a language credit
  • At least one course from two of the following areas (minimum 6 credits), one of which must be in Canadian literature unless that requirement has already been met in the second year:
    • Eighteenth-century studies: 351, 353
    • Nineteenth-century studies: 355, 361, 362, 364
    • Twentieth-century studies: 365, 366, 368, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 377, 378, 379
  • At least 3 credits of language or rhetoric from ENGL 307-331 or ENGL 342
  • Students must take four sections of senior seminars, 491 and 492 (for a total of 12 credits), in their third and fourth years.
  • Students must also take ENGL 499, the Honours Essay (for 3 or 6 credits), which is best when taken in their fourth year.
  • 15 credits of upper-level English electives (ENGL 304 and higher.) Honours students who have not taken ENGL 211 are strongly encouraged to take ENGL 409, "Modern Critical Theories."
  • English honours students also need 42 credits of non-English courses and at least 48 credits in 300- and 400-level courses. Please note that upper-division courses in creative writing may not count towards English honours requirements.


Combined Honours Programs

Students may combine honours programs in the Faculty of Arts but only after careful consultation with the separate programs’ chairs. Typically, such a combined program involves waiving some specific requirements in each program to accommodate your particular interests.

Combining English honours with theatre and film or creative writing involves all the senior requirements in both programs for what is, in effect, a double degree.


Resources


Course Planning


Frequently Asked Questions

You have two options:

  • Option A: You can apply to honours at the end of your first year; if admitted, you will take ENGL 210 and ENGL 211 in your second year as introductions to honours English.
  • Option B: You can apply to honours at the end of your second year, after taking (ideally) 6 credits of second-year English, including ENGL 200 (required).

Only in exceptional circumstances.

You should design your schedule to meet upper-level English requirements with upper-level English courses.

For advice related to your English program requirements, contact the English undergraduate office.

Generally no.

All 300-level courses have the same prerequisite, 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; the same is true of ENGL 229 if it is required for your program in English language or language and literature.

Honours students should take ENGL 491 and 492 (4 sections) across upper-level terms. The graduating essay (ENGL 499) is usually completed in the final year.

The goal of this arrangement is to make sure that students take a variety of courses while also following their interests. The credit requirements in each course group may be taken in any order. Honours students may also count ENGL 491 or 492 seminars covering particular areas as meeting those area requirements. For instance, a section of ENGL 491 on "Beasts in Medieval Romance" would count as 3 credits of medieval literature. Students still need the same number of total ENGL credits, but your 4 seminars can count toward area requirements. Students wishing to specialize in one of these areas can use their remaining elective credits in one group; students looking for greater variety and coverage can distribute their electives across the groups.

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