Major

As an English literature major, you will study across historical periods, subjects, and contemporary literatures in all their global forms. You will also discover intersections between themes, topics, and perspectives with like-minded peers.

You can declare the literature 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 beginning the program take 3 credits of ENGL 200, our seminar-based introduction to literature studies, team-taught by some of the best faculty in the business.

Students also take 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 works of literature of the English-speaking world and beyond. You will take a suite of courses from our literature course groups in historical and contemporary areas, plus theory, media studies, or genre. How you arrange these courses depends entirely on your interests and ambitions! You will 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. 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

  • 3 credits of ENGL 200
  • 3 credits of ENGL 220-249

Students must complete 27 upper-level credits comprising:

  • 3 credits selected from each of group A, B, C, or D above; and,
  • 3 additional credits from either group A or group B; and,
  • 3 additional credits from either group C or group D; and
  • 3 credits of Canadian Literature selected from ENGL 222, 360, 371, 372, 373, 394; or any other pre-approved course in which there is a large selection of Canadian Literature; this course may also fulfill 3 credits of the 200-level or the group B or C requirement; and
  • 6-9 additional credits of upper-level ENGL (excluding ENGL 301)

A minimum of 3 credits of 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

ENGL 200: Principles of Literature Study is the introductory course for all majors in English Literature and English Language and Literature. It is team-taught by some of the best faculty in the department. Students enroll in one of several small seminars-sized sections and meet once a week for multi-section lectures.

If you are in 3rd or 4th year and you have already taken ENGL 220 or ENGL 229, you do not need to enrol in ENGL 200. If you are unsure whether you need to take ENGL 200, please contact the English undergraduate assistant.

The goal of this arrangement is to make sure that students take a variety of courses while also following their interests.
Three of these course groups (A, B, and C) cover historical fields of literary studies:
Medieval and Renaissance literature (primarily British writing up to 1660),
18th and 19th-century literature (from 1660 to 1900, including British, early American, and early Canadian writing), and
Modern, contemporary, transnational, and Indigenous literature, featuring writing from Canada, the UK, the United States, Africa, and Asia.
Group D comprises media studies, literary theories, literary genres, and special topics, including children's literature, science and literature, and environmental writing.
Majors in literature must complete 3 credits in each of the four groups, plus 3 additional credits in either group A or group B and 3 other credits in either group C or group D.
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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