Honours

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

The honours in English literature exposes you to a wide-range of 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.

Program Requirements

You can enter the Honours in English, Literature Emphasis in one of two ways:

(1) apply to enter in second year and then take ENGL 210: Introduction to English Honours, a small, full-year, cohort-building course introducing students to the full range of literary studies they will explore further in the program;

(2) apply to enter in third-year, having completed ENGL 200, our seminar-based introduction to literature studies, team-taught by some of the best faculty in the business, and 3 additional credits of 3 credits of one of our second-year literature courses, ENGL 220-249. Here we cover 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 your third- and fourth-year, you will embark on advanced studies into the literature of the English-speaking world and beyond. You will take ENGL 300, an introduction to critical theories used in English literary studies and required of all honours students. You will take a suite of courses from our literature course groups in historical and contemporary areas, plus theory, media studies, or genre. You will also take 4 seminars (ENGL 491) working in small courses with specialist instructors working on texts from their particular fields and covering topics of significant contemporary interest. You will also write a graduating essay, working closely with a faculty supervisor on a topic of your choosing. To graduate with an Honours degree in English, students must complete 48 upper-level credits from ENGL 304 and above.

Students who entered English Honours prior to the 2022 academic year and who are still enrolled at UBC during the 2022 academic year may elect to complete either the old requirements in place when they entered the program or the new requirements as listed below. Honours students who choose to follow the new requirements but who have completed ENGL 211 do not have to complete ENGL 300. For more information, please contact the undergraduate assistant.

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
  • 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

  • 6 credits of ENGL 210

OR

  • 3 credits of ENGL 220 and 3 credits of ENGL 220-249

Students must complete 33 credits of courses numbered 304 and above including:

  • 3 credits of ENGL 300: Introduction to Critical Theory
  • 24 credits comprising 6 credits selected from each of Group A, B, C, and D above
  • 6 credits of additional ENGL courses number 304 and above. A Language course is recommended.
  • 3 credits of Canadian Literature selected from ENGL 222, 360, 371, 372, 373, 394 – the selected course will also account toward Group B, C, or D as required.

Students must complete 15 credits of 400-level courses including

  • 12 credits of ENGL 491: Honours Seminar
  • 3 credits of ENGL 499: Honours Essay

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). 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 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, 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.

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

Once you have been re-admitted, 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.


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 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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