The Department

Chairperson: Eleanor Ty
Graduate Officer and Co-Director of Joint PhD Program: Christl Verduyn

The Programs
MA Program
The MA program in English is designed to allow students to concentrate in gender and genre studies. Courses range from the medieval to the modern and post-modern periods and cover a wide spectrum of theoretical and critical issues. The purpose of the program is to offer a specialized critical focus attractive to those pursuing further general education and at the same time to prepare students for doctoral studies in English.

Joint PhD Program in Literary Studies/Theatre Studies in English
The department, together with the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph, offers specializations in the following five fields:  Canadian studies, early modern studies, postcolonial studies, studies in gender and genre and nineteenth-century studies.  The purpose of the program is to offer professional education and training for students who wish to pursue careers in postsecondary teaching, research, administration, and other fields in which excellent analytical, organizational and communication skills are required.

Students in the program register at one of the two universities, but may complete course work and use faculty and library resources at both universities.  Students are governed by the regulations of the university in which they are registered and their degree is granted by the home university.


Wilfrid Laurier University

University of Guelph MA Admission Requirements
In order to be admitted to the master's program, students must meet the general admission requirements of the university. Enrolment in the program will be open to applicants who have graduated with an honours degree in English or its equivalent from an approved university and who have maintained at least an average of B+ in English courses above the first-year level. Students who do not meet the criteria for admission to the master's program, including general degree graduates in English, may apply for admission as qualifying students. The qualifying year will normally consist of 10 half-credit senior undergraduate courses in English, approved by the department.

MA Program Requirements
The MA program has two streams of study, one with a thesis and one without a thesis. Students who choose the thesis stream must have prior department approval.

Master's students in the thesis stream will take four one-term courses plus thesis; those in the non-thesis stream will take seven one-term courses. In addition, all students must complete EN600, a one-term seminar (graded "satisfactory/unsatisfactory") in research methods, theory and professional issues.

Students must submit a formal proposal for a thesis topic to the department's graduate studies committee in the first term of graduate study. If the GSC approves the student's proposal, then the candidate may proceed to the thesis stream of the program. The thesis will normally consist of 75 to 100 typewritten pages; it will be defended at an oral examination co-ordinated by the Graduate Studies Office.

PhD Admission Requirements
Admission to the program normally requires an MA in English, an MA in drama/theatre, or an equivalent degree with at least an A- average in graduate work.  Applications are considered by the PhD Program Committee and a recommendation to admit or decline is forwarded to the dean of Graduate Studies at the proposed home university.

PhD Program Requirements
Although students might choose either literary studies or theatre studies, innovative opportunities exist in the program to pursue work across these traditional disciplinary boundaries. The degree requirements consist of three one-term (0.5 credit) graduate courses to be taken in the first year of the program; one General Area Seminar (0.5 credit) culminating in the submission and colloquium presentation of a conference-style research paper; one Intensive Area Seminar (1.0 credit) culminating in the qualifying candidacy examination, which consists of the written research paper and oral examination for the intensive area seminar; and a dissertation (2.0 credits).

Area Seminars
The area seminars are structured directed-reading courses in two different fields, intended to provide concentrated training in the studentís expected areas of research. The seminars involve regular consultations between the student and the seminar director.  The general area seminar will normally be taken during year one of the program (second and third terms). The intensive area seminar will normally be taken during year two of the program (fifth and sixth terms) and will culminate in the qualifying candidacy examination at the end of the seventh term (the beginning of year three).

General Area Seminar (Year 1)
The General Area Seminar (GAS) explores a field of study other than the student's field of specialization for the intensive area seminar and dissertation. The GAS emphasizes thorough general knowledge of the areaís scope, relevant theoretical frameworks and research methodologies, with due regard to the studentís own teaching, research interests and critical perspectives. The reading and other activities related to the GAS proceed in close consultation with the GAS committee, which consists of the GAS advisor and one other core faculty member from the student's home institution.

Intensive Area Seminar (Year 2)
The Intensive Area Seminar (IAS) develops the student's primary area of specialization in preparation for the dissertation and normally overlaps with work on the dissertation. The IAS involves individualized, directed study of the literary, cultural and theoretical contexts related to the dissertation topic and thus provides the student with the research and pedagogical contexts to undertake the dissertation. The various components of the IAS are intended to connect with each other, their purpose being to produce work that will be included in the dissertation (e.g., a chapter, part of the dissertation bibliography, and so forth). The IAS advisory committee consists of three faculty members: the IAS advisor (also the dissertation advisor) and two other core faculty members, one of which must be from the institution other than the student's home institution. This committee also constitutes the student's dissertation committee. The IAS culminates in the qualifying candidacy examination.

The qualifying candidacy examination consists of the written research paper and the oral examination for the Intensive Area Seminar and is normally completed by December of year three. A committee consisting of the IAS advisor, the two faculty members of the IAS committee, and two additional members of the graduate faculty conducts the qualifying candidacy examination. Ideally, the members of the IAS committee will represent a range of institutional and disciplinary sites. Upon satisfactory completion of the examination, the student is deemed to have met the joint PhD program standards and becomes a candidate for the PhD degree.

Progress Reports
A student who twice fails the GAS, the IAS or the language examination will normally be required to withdraw from the program. In May of the first year of registration and once a year thereafter, a student is required to complete an annual research progress report detailing the achievements of the previous year and the objectives for the next year.  The report must demonstrate satisfactory progress, and must be signed with comments by the supervisor and graduate officer, and filed with both the program co-directors and the Graduate Studies Office of the home university.  Failure to submit a satisfactory report may result in the student being required to withdraw from the program.

Language Requirement
Doctoral students are required to demonstrate reading proficiency in at least one language other than modern English. In certain cases, students' research may require demonstrable competency in more than one language other than modern English. The selection of the language(s) will be determined by the student in consultation with the dissertation advisor, and must be submitted for approval by the Joint PhD Program Committee. The language should have direct relevance to the student's program of study. The aim is to test the student's ability to read critically in another language rather than to demonstrate mastery of translation. Assessment of the student's reading proficiency is based on a three-hour examination, which consists of teh student's translation (with the help of a dictionary) of one passage in prose and a written analysis (in English) of the passage's critical implications. A faculty member with expertise in the language grades the examination on a pass/fail basis. Evidence that a student has already demonstrated similar language ability at another university before admission may be submitted to the Joint PhD Program Committee with a request to have the language requirement waived.  Credit will be given at the discretion of the Joint PhD Program Committee to any student who has fulfilled the equivalent language requirement through an MA-level examination.  Credit will not normally be given for the completion of a university- level language course.

Typically the language requirement will be completed by the end of year two (the sixth term of study).  A student who fails the language examination twice will normally be required to withdraw from the program.

PhD Dissertation
Following successful completion of the two area seminars, the student must complete an original research project on an advanced topic.  The advisory committee for the dissertation will consist of three members of the graduate faculty, one of whom will assume the primary supervisory role.  The dissertation should normally be between 50,000 and 75,000 words in length.  The regulations and procedures at the university in which the student is registered will govern both the dissertation and the examination formats.

Decisions in the PhD Thesis Defence
Five decisions are open to the examining committee:

  • Accepted - Thesis may require typographical and/or minor editorial corrections to be made to the satisfaction of the supervisor.
  • Accepted with modifications - Thesis requires minor changes in substance or major editorial changes which are to be made to the satisfaction of members of the examining committee designated by the committee.  The examining committee's report must include a brief outline of the nature of the changes required and must indicate the time by which the changes should be completed.  Normally such changes should be completed within four weeks of the date of the examination.
  • Accepted conditionally - Thesis requires more substantive changes, but will be acceptable when these changes are made to the satisfaction of those members of the examining committee designated by the committee.  The examining committee's report must include a brief outline of the nature of the changes required and the date by which the changes are to be completed.
  • Decision deferred - Thesis requires modifications of a substantial nature, the need for which makes the acceptability of the thesis questionable.  The examining committee's report must contain a brief outline of the modifications expected and should indicate the time by which the changes are to be completed.  The revised thesis must be resubmitted for re-examination.  Normally, the re-examination will follow the same procedures as for the initial submission except that the display period may be reduced or eliminated at the discretion of the appropriate graduate dean.  Normally the same examining committee will serve.  A decision to defer is open only once for each candidate.
  • Rejected - Thesis is rejected.  The examining committee shall report the reasons for rejection.  A student whose doctoral thesis has been rejected is required to withdraw from the PhD program.
  • If the examining committee is not prepared to reach a decision at the time of the thesis defence, it is the responsibility of the chair to determine what additional information is required by the committee to reach a decision, to arrange to obtain this information for the committee and to call another meeting of the committee as soon as the required information is available.  It is also the responsibility of the chair to inform the candidate about the delay.

    Residency Regulations
    At least five semesters of full-time study must be devoted to the doctoral program following the completion of a recognized masterís degree.

    Graduate Courses
    Note: The following courses are for MA and PhD students. Not all courses are offered every year. Contact the department before accepting an offer of admission to determine whether the courses you wish to complete will be offered during your period of residency.

    EN600    0.5
    Research Methods, Theory, and Professional Issues
    An introduction to advanced bibliographic and research methods, gender and genre theory, and issues within the discipline. Required of all graduate students.

    EN601    0.5
    Fiction by Contemporary British Women
    The presentation of female experience (emotional, sexual, imaginative, intellectual) in fiction by contemporary women writers such as A.S. Byatt and Margaret Drabble. Special attention is given to the writers' use of narrative and linguistic strategies, intertextuality and self-reflexiveness.
    EN602    0.5

    Gender and Genre in Renaissance Drama
    A study of the representation of gender in selected plays by Renaissance female and male dramatists, and the relation between dramatic genres, performance practices and cultural constructions of subjectivity, the body and sexuality.
    EN603    0.5

    American Women Writers
    An exploration of the fiction and poetry of selected American women writers of the 19th and 20th centuries in the context of recent feminist and psychoanalytic criticism. Topics will focus on issues of gender, class, colour and race.
    EN604    0.5

    The Gender of Modernism
    An examination of Modernism in light of its own articulation of the problem of literature and gender, with focus on the novels of one or more of such writers as Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson, Wyndham Lewis, Malcolm Lowry.
    EN605    0.5

    Representations of Gender in Victorian Literature
    An examination of Victorian literary representations of the feminine, the manly and sexual power including the critical and cultural implications of gender differentiation in selected poetry and prose.
    EN606    0.5

    Theatrical Images of Gender
    An exploration of selected plays which call for the exchange of gender roles. The course examines theoretical and textual issues within the context of performance history, genre analysis and feminist criticism.
    EN607    0.5

    Ideologies of Genre in Nineteenth-Century Literature
    A study of the transformation or emergence of various genres (e.g., the novel, the elegy, the epic, confessions, auto/biography, the Gothic, the case study) from Romanticism to Victorianism. 
    EN608    0.5

    Women Writers of the 17th Century
    A study of drama, poetry and prose by women writers of the 17th century. The course considers the roles women played in early modern systems of literary production and reception, with reference to Renaissance theories of gender and authorship. The course also explores the genres employed by women writers as part of an analysis of the political and literary implications of genre. Writers and texts to be studied will vary from year to year.
    EN610    0.5

    Feminist Theory and Women's Writing
    A study of selected schools of feminist thought and an exploration of the relationship between gender and women's writing. 
    EN615    0.5

    Film Spectatorship
    An examination of film criticism and theory in relation to spectatorship, feminist criticism, genre and issues of gender, class and race. The course follows the development and shifts in theories of film spectatorship and film's changing representation of gender in a negotiation of shifting social conceptions of gender from 1939 to today.
    EN621    0.5

    The Nature Lyric: Genre and Gender
    A critical and theoretical study of conventions and developments in the English tradition of nature poetry, with emphasis on the 19th century.
    EN622    0.5

    British Feminist Drama in the 20th Century
    The course examines how British feminist playwrights have explored gender politics through the genre of drama from the turn of the century to the present. The course is structured around three main periods/movements: "new woman" and suffrage plays written before World War I; work from the Royal Court and Theatre Workshop in the 1950s and 1960s; and contemporary theatre from the 1970s to the present. Attention is paid to political developments and the material conditions of the theatre. The plays are read against 20th-century shifts in feminist theory, focusing on representation, identity and performance.
    EN623    0.5

    Film Genre and Feminist Theory
    An examination of feminist film theory, particularly in relation to film genres, with reference to its implications for literary theory and practice.
    EN624    0.5

    Medieval Dream Vision Narrative
    An examination of genre theory and the medieval dream vision narrative with special attention to 14th-century serial visions. The investigation of form will include religious and non-religious narratives written by both men and women. Central topics include: the authority of the narrator, representations of narrative authority, and the nature of allegory and its relation to political authority.
    EN625    0.5

    Medieval Romance
    An exploration of genre theory and the variety of medieval narrative types called "romance." Central topics include: narrative voice, gendered and genred spaces, the function of women in romance, the rewriting of past narratives, political narratives and the image of the chivalric knight.
    EN626    0.5

    Postcoloniality: Theory and Practice
    An examination of current issues in postcolonial critical theory and postcolonial literary and cultural practice, including the "tradition" of postcolonial practice and a critical examination of selected cultural works drawn from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Africa and the Caribbean.
    EN628    0.5

    The Dramatic Experience
    An examination of selected plays against which to test traditional (Aristotelian) as well as contemporary alternative theories about the generic nature of dramatic form.
    EN629    0.5

    Canadian Documents and Canadian Poems
    A study of the inter-relationship of form and content in selected Canadian "documentary" poems and their sources. The course focuses on how these poets shape historical "facts" into artistic "visions."
    EN630    0.5

    Modernism to Postmodernism
    A focus on novelists such as Joyce and Beckett, with particular emphasis on the narrative techniques these writers explore in order to reshape form and structure.
    EN632    0.5

    Renaissance Domestic Tragedy
    A study of the origins and development of domestic tragedy in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The course explores the relation between the genre's dramatic structures and the historical development of the early modern patriarchal family, as well as the plays' interrogation of early modern constructions of gender, class and subjectivity.
    EN634    0.5

    Dramatic Comedy of the 17th Century
    An analysis of the development of different comic modes in the 17th century, focusing on the relationships between works by Shakespeare and other 17th-century playwrights.
    EN635    0.5

    The Gothic
    An exploration of the North American renaissance of the Gothic in various cultural media. The course considers and theorizes the meaning of the term "Gothic" in light of issues pertaining to gender and sexuality, race and class. To that end, the analysis of the genre is framed by psychoanalytic and feminist theory.
    EN636    0.5

    Canadian Literary Pluralities
    This course explores the dynamics of race, ethnicity, class, gender and generation that animate contemporary Canadian literature and its criticism.
    EN639    0.5

    Genre in Irish Literature
    An exploration of genre in Irish literature. Possible topics include Anglo-Irish literary relations, oral versus written traditions, myth and legend in literary texts, the politics of genre and the effects of colonialism.
    EN640    0.5

    Reading Theory
    A study of various influential schools of theoretical thought. Depending on the instructor, the focus will include one or more of the following: deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, new historicism, cultural studies and discourse analysis.

    EN641    0.5
    Voices of the Diaspora
    Topics such as diasporic identity, transnationalism, assimilation and hybridity are examined in textual narratives and films. The focus of the course may be on one or more of Asian, African, Jewish and/or other diasporas.

    EN642    0.5
    Oral Performance and Oral Theory
    An intensive study of oral traditions as represented in contemporary and medieval compositions, such as the stories of indigenous peoples, Beowulf, and the current urban legends. The course will also consider the various theories, such as those by Ong and Foley, that try to distinguish oral performances from written texts. Non-English texts will be studied in translation.
    EN690    0.5

    Directed Studies
    Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor and the graduate studies committee.
    EN691    0.5

    Special Topics in Gender
    EN692    0.5

    Special Topics in Genre


    Courses for the Joint PhD Program
    Required Courses

    EN 777
    Language Requirement
    A written demonstration of a studentís reading knowledge of one language other than English, as approved by the Joint PhD Program Committee.  Graded on a P (pass)/ F (fail) basis.

    EN 780    0.5
    General Area Seminar
    A directed reading course to provide training in an area other than the studentís expected area of research concentration.  This seminar emphasizes thorough general knowledge of a chosen areaís scope, theoretical frameworks and research methodologies.  The course is normally taken during the first year of a studentís PhD program.

    EN 782    1.0
    Intensive Area Seminar
    A reading course to provide concentrated training in the studentís expected area of research concentration.  This seminar involves individualized, directed study of the immediate literary, cultural and theoretical contexts of the studentís approved dissertation subject.  The course is normally taken in the second year of a studentís PhD program and is designed to ensure that the doctoral candidate has the background to complete the dissertation successfully. The final component of the IAS is a Qualifying Candidacy Examination, consisting of a written theoretical or critical paper on an approved topic and an oral examination on the materials covered in the Intensive Area Seminar. The student must pass the examination in order to proceed to the dissertation.

    EN 790
    Directed Studies
    The study of a special topic under the guidance of a member of the department/school.  Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor and the Joint PhD Program Committee.

    EN 799
    Doctoral Dissertation

    Courses Offered at the University of Guelph
    DRMA6020    0.5
    Canadian Drama in English

    DRMA6040    0.5
    Quebec and Franco-Canadian Drama

    DRMA6050    0.5
    Special Studies in Canadian Drama

    DRMA6060    0.5
    Aspects of Canadian Theatre History

    DRMA6080    0.5
    Special Studies in Canadian Theatre

    DRMA6090    0.5
    Aspects of Theatre in Early-Modern England

    DRMA6100    0.5
    English Drama to 1642

    DRMA6120    0.5
    Aspects of 20th-Century Theatre

    DRMA6130    0.5
    Aspects of 19th-Century Drama

    DRMA6140    0.5
    Aspects of 20th-Century Drama

    DRMA6150    0.5
    Special Studies in Theatre History

    DRMA6180    0.5
    Aspects of 19th-Century Theatre

    DRMA6190    0.5
    Special Studies in Drama

    DRMA6220    0.5
    Aspects of the Theory of Drama, Theatre, and Performance

    ENGL6002    0.5
    Topics in the History of Criticism

    ENGL6003    0.5
    Problems in Literary Analysis

    ENGL6201    0.5
    Topics in Canadian Literature

    ENGL6209    0.5
    Topics in Commonwealth/Postcolonial Literature

    ENGL6412    0.5
    Topics in Medieval/Renaissance Literature

    ENGL6421    0.5
    Topics in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Literature

    ENGL6431    0.5
    Topics in Nineteenth-Century Literature

    ENGL6441    0.5
    Topics in Modern British Literature

    ENGL6451    0.5
    Topics in American Literature

    ENGL6611    0.5
    Topics in Womenís Writing

    ENGL6621    0.5
    Topics in Childrenís Literature

    ENGL6641    0.5
    Topics in Scottish Literature

    ENGL6691    0.5
    Interdisciplinary Study

    ENGL6811    0.5
    Special Topics in English