Language Emphasis

The Language Emphasis gives you a broad sense of the range and applicability of language study. It offers you the flexibility of taking a range of our Language courses or focusing on History of English, Structure of English, Rhetorical Theory, or Approaches to Discourse, as desired. You can declare the language emphasis 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 229. As well, students in this stream take an additional 3 credits of one of our second-year courses, ENGL 200-249, covering such topics as Graphic Novels and Comics, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Film Adaptation, Contemporary media, indigenous literature, plus literatures of Great Britain, Canada, the United States, and around the world.

In third- and fourth-year, you embark on advanced studies into the English language, taking a suite of courses from our Language course groups in historical areas, structure and linguistics, plus rhetorical theory and practice. 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. To see our current course-offerings click here.

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 be the focus of 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). In any given year, each course will be classed into one of the Groups A-E, 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

  • 100-level English;
  • OR Arts One;
  • OR ENGL 140/LING 140 and 3 credits of 100-level English (this option is recommended, but not required);
  • OR 6 credits of ASTU 100;
  • OR 3 credits of ASTU 100 or 101 and 3 credits of 100-level English;
  • OR 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 Language and Literatures advisor is required in advance of taking the course.


  • 3 credits of ENGL 489, the Language Majors Seminar

For information on becoming an English Major, click here.

Still have questions? See Frequently Asked Questions – Language Emphasis