English

Program Overview

One of the strongest and most diversified graduate English programs in North America, the University of Toronto’s Graduate English Department presents a wide array of approaches to the study of literature that includes both rigorous historical scholarship and the innovations of new theoretical, cultural, and interdisciplinary methods.

This rich variety is exemplified in the more than 40 graduate seminars offered every year and in the interdisciplinary conjunctions with other departments and collaborative specializations. The Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy programs offer a broad background in British, Canadian, Aboriginal, American, and Postcolonial literatures, a sophisticated command of current theoretical approaches, and exceptional support for significant research projects.

Students may also be interested in the combined degree program in Law, Juris Doctor / English, Master of Arts (JD/MA)​.


Quick Facts

Domestic International
Application payment deadline MA, MA (Creative Writing), PhD:

12-Dec-2019

MA, MA (Creative Writing), PhD:

12-Dec-2019

Supporting documents deadline MA, MA (Creative Writing), PhD:

16-Jan-2020

MA, MA (Creative Writing), PhD:

16-Jan-2020

Minimum admission average MA, MA (Creative Writing):

B+

PhD:

A-

MA, MA (Creative Writing):

B+

PhD:

A-

Is a supervisor identified before or after admission? PhD:

After

PhD:

After

If a supervisor is identified after admission (as per question above), is admission conditional upon securing a supervisor? PhD:

No

PhD:

No

Is a supervisor assigned by the graduate unit or secured by the applicant? PhD:

Both

PhD:

Both

Program length (full-time only) MA:

3 sessions

MA (Creative Writing):

5 sessions

PhD:

4 years; 5 years if entering directly from bachelor’s

MA:

3 sessions

MA (Creative Writing):

5 sessions

PhD:

4 years; 5 years if entering directly from bachelor’s


Master of Arts​

Program Description

The Master of Arts program offers broad coverage in British, Canadian, Aboriginal, American, and postcolonial literatures, a sophisticated command of current theoretical approaches, and exceptional preparation and intellectual support for significant research.

The MA in English degree is offered in 10 fields: 9 fields have the same requirements, while the field of Creative Writing has different requirements.

The MA program can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis except in the Creative Writing field which is taken on a full-time basis only. Requirements for the Creative Writing field are described in a separate section below.
 

Fields:
American Literature; Aspects of Theory; Canadian Literature; Creative Writing; Medieval Literature; Renaissance Literature; Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature; Romantic and Victorian Literature; Twentieth and Twenty-First Century British and Irish Literature; World Literatures in English

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of English's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • A minimum of 7 full-year undergraduate courses in English or the equivalent in half-year courses (i.e., 14), or any combination of full- and half-year courses that add up to the equivalent of 7 full-year courses.

  • An appropriate bachelor's degree (i.e., a four-year undergraduate degree), or its equivalent (preferably in English), with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of B+ or better and evidence of first-class work in English. The department favours a broad training in the major genres and all periods of English literary history.

  • Recommendations from two referees.

  • A statement of purpose.

  • A writing sample consisting of 12 to 15 pages. The writing sample should be an accomplished piece of the applicant's own academic writing, such as an advanced undergraduate seminar paper. See details about the writing sample.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English are required to write the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum scores required are:

    • ​​​600 on the paper-based test and 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE)

    • 100/120 on the Internet-based test, with at least 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

  • Admissions are selective; possession of minimum qualifications does not guarantee admission.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. Students must complete 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • ENG 6999Y Critical Topographies: Theory and Practice of Contemporary Literary Studies in English (1.0 FCE)

    • 3.0 approved graduate FCEs in English.

  • Students must attain a B standing in each graduate course.

Program Length

3 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S);
9 sessions part-time

Time Limit

3 years full-time;
6 years part-time
 

Field: Creative Writing

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of English's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • A minimum of 7 full-year undergraduate courses in English or the equivalent in half-year courses (i.e., 14), or any combination of full- and half-year courses that add up to the equivalent of 7 full-year courses.

  • An appropriate bachelor's degree (i.e., a four-year undergraduate degree), or its equivalent (preferably in English), with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of B+ or better and evidence of first-class work in English. The department favours a broad training in the major genres and all periods of English literary history.

  • Recommendations from two referees.

  • A statement of purpose.

  • A writing sample consisting of 12 to 15 pages. The writing sample should be an accomplished piece of the applicant's own academic writing, such as an advanced undergraduate seminar paper. See details about the writing sample.

  • A portfolio consisting of 20 to 25 pages of prose (drama, fiction, or creative non-fiction), and/or poetry. See details about the format of creative writing portfolio submissions.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English are required to write the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum scores required are:

    • 600 on the paper-based test and 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE)

    • 100/120 on the Internet-based test, with at least 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

  • Admissions are selective; possession of minimum qualifications does not guarantee admission.

Program Requirements

  • Coursework. Students must complete 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) as follows:

    • ENG 6950Y Workshop in Creative Writing (1.0 FCE). All students must complete the Workshop in Creative Writing in Year 1 of their program.

    • 2.0 approved FCEs in English.

  • Students must attain a B standing in each graduate course.

  • Supervised Writing Project (the equivalent of a thesis). Upon completion of coursework, students undertake a book-length Writing Project in a genre of their choice: poetry, drama, fiction, or creative non-fiction. Each student is assigned a faculty member or adjunct faculty member with whom to consult on a regular basis about the project. All advisors are published writers.

  • The MA Creative Writing program cannot be taken on a part-time basis.

Program Length

5 sessions full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S/F/W)

Time Limit

3 years full-time

​​Doctor of Philosophy​

Program Description

The Doctor of Philosophy program offers broad coverage in British, Canadian, Aboriginal, American, and postcolonial literatures, a sophisticated command of current theoretical approaches, and exceptional support for significant research projects.

Applicants are admitted through one of two routes: 1) a master’s degree in English, 2) in exceptional cases, an appropriate bachelor’s degree (direct entry).
 

Fields:
American Literature; Aspects of Theory; Canadian Literature; Medieval Literature; Renaissance Literature; Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature; Romantic and Victorian Literature; Twentieth and Twenty-First Century British and Irish Literature; World Literatures in English

PhD Program

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of English's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • Normally, applicants have a master's degree in English from a recognized university, with an average grade equivalent to at least a University of Toronto A– in the applicant's overall program.

  • Applicants must satisfy the department that they are capable of independent research in English at an advanced level.

  • Recommendations from two referees.

  • A writing sample of not more than 5,000 words (approximately 15 to 20 pages).

  • A statement of purpose.

  • A curriculum vitae (CV).

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English are required to write the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum scores required are:

    • ​​​600 on the paper-based test and 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE)

    • 100/120 on the Internet-based test, with at least 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

  • Admission to the PhD is based on the applicant's undergraduate and graduate records and upon the evidence of the references and statement.

  • Admissions are selective; possession of minimum qualifications does not guarantee admission.

Program Requirements

  • Students pursue a program of study and research approved by the department.
Courses
  • The minimum course requirements for the degree are as follows.

    • ENG 8000H Texts, Theories, and Archives (0.5 FCE) unless this or an equivalent course has already been taken

    • ENG 9500H Professional Development (0.5 FCE)

    • ENG 9900H Professing Literature (0.5 FCE)

    • 3.0 additional FCEs in English, as approved by the department.

  • Every student must select at least 2.0 FCEs outside the chosen field of study in the course of their graduate training. The student is encouraged to combine these courses into a minor field. Graduate courses taken as part of the master's program and in fulfillment of the English language requirement may be counted in this connection, but not ENG 6954H Studies in Bibliography if taken before Fall 2011, nor ENG 6999Y Critical Topographies: Theory and Practice of Contemporary Literary Studies in English, nor courses in the 9000 series.

  • Course selection must meet the approval of the department.

English-Language Requirement
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the history and development of the English language, especially of its early period.

  • Any student who has not completed ENG 240Y or an equivalent full-year undergraduate course in Old English with at least a B standing, is required to take one of the following courses in the English language:

    • ENG 1001H Old English I

    • ENG 6361H History and Structure of the English Language I

    • ENG 6362H History and Structure of the English Language: Post-1500

    • ENG 6365H Diasporic Englishes.

  • Alternatively, the requirement can be satisfied by taking a special examination in Old English.
Language Requirement
  • Demonstrated reading knowledge of French by May 31 of Year 3 of registration.

  • With the permission of the department, another language (other than English) may be substituted for French provided that this other language is required by the student's research area.

  • The supervisory committee may require the student to qualify in other program-related languages as well.

Special Fields Examination
  • Students are required to pass a Special Fields Examination. The examination has three components:

    • a written examination, based on a reading list drawn up in consultation with the supervisory committee;

    • a short position paper, in which the student articulates the argument and stakes of the proposed thesis in light of the preparation for this written examination;

    • and an oral examination that engages in part with the written examination and in part with the position paper.

  • Students who enter the PhD program with a master's degree generally take the Special Fields Examination no later than the end of the second session of Year 2. A second attempt of the Special Fields Examination is allowed on the recommendation of the student's committee..

  • The student must have completed all requirements for the degree, exclusive of thesis research, by the end of Year 3 in order to remain in good standing in the program.

Thesis
  • A candidate is required to submit a thesis on an approved subject embodying the results of original investigation which constitute a significant contribution to the knowledge of the field, and to pass an oral examination on the subject of the thesis. The normal length of a PhD thesis is approximately 75,000 words. The maximum length accepted by the department is 100,000 words.

  • No later than November 1 of Year 2 of registration, the student must submit to the Associate Director, PhD, a preliminary thesis proposal, approved by the prospective supervisor. The proposals are circulated to all graduate faculty in the department for information and comment. The Associate Director, PhD, appoints a supervisory committee that includes a supervisor and two other faculty members with expertise in the proposed research area. The student is required to meet with the supervisory committee within three months of submitting the preliminary proposal. An approved thesis proposal signed by all members of the supervisory committee and by the Associate Director, PhD, must be submitted by February 15 of Year 2 of registration.

  • The student and the supervisor should meet regularly. The student is also required to meet at least once a year with the supervisory committee. The supervisory committee should normally approve the completed thesis before it is submitted for examination.

  • The Doctoral Final Oral Examination is arranged by the department in collaboration with the School of Graduate Studies. The candidate should allow at least 10 weeks from submission of the thesis for the department to complete the arrangements for the oral examination.

Program Length

4 years

Time Limit

6 years
 

PhD Program (Direct-Entry)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of English's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • In exceptional cases, applicants with an appropriate bachelor's degree from a recognized university that includes at least 8.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) in English, with an average grade equivalent to at least a University of Toronto A– in the applicant's overall program may be considered for admission (direct entry).

  • Applicants must satisfy the department that they are capable of independent research in English at an advanced level.

  • Recommendations from two referees.

  • A writing sample of not more than 5,000 words (approximately 15 to 20 pages).

  • A statement of purpose.

  • A curriculum vitae (CV).

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English are required to write the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum scores required are:

    • 600 on the paper-based test and 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE)

    • 100/120 on the Internet-based test, with at least 22/30 on the writing and speaking sections.

  • Admission to the PhD is based on the applicant's undergraduate records and upon the evidence of the references and statement.

  • Admissions are selective; possession of minimum qualifications does not guarantee admission.

Program Requirements

  • Students pursue a program of study and research approved by the department.
Courses
  • The minimum course requirements for the degree are as follows. Students admitted directly from a bachelor's degree must take a total of 7.5 FCEs as follows:

    • ENG 6999Y Critical Topographies: Theory and Practice of Contemporary Literary Studies in English (1.0 FCE)

    • ENG 8000H Texts, Theories, and Archives (0.5 FCE)

    • ENG 9500H Professional Development (0.5 FCE)

    • ENG 9900H Professing Literature (0.5 FCE)

    • 5.0 additional FCEs in English, as approved by the department. The student must complete ENG 6999Y plus 2.0 FCEs in Year 1 of the program, with an average grade of at least an A–. Students must complete all remaining courses, except for ENG 9500H Professional Development, by the end of Year 3 of the program, with an average of at least an A– in order to maintain good academic standing and to continue in the PhD program. In order to maintain good academic standing, and to continue in the PhD program, the student must complete each course with a grade of at least B.

    • select at least 2.0 FCEs outside the chosen field of study. The student is encouraged to combine these courses in a minor field.

  • Course selection must meet the approval of the department.

English-Language Requirement
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the history and development of the English language, especially of its early period.

  • Any student who has not completed ENG 240Y or an equivalent full-year undergraduate course in Old English with at least a B standing, is required to take one of the following courses in the English language:

    • ENG 1001H Old English I

    • ENG 6361H History and Structure of the English Language I

    • ENG 6362H History and Structure of the English Language: Post-1500

    • ENG 6365H Diasporic Englishes.

  • Alternatively, the requirement can be satisfied by taking a special examination in Old English.

Language Requirement
  • Demonstrated reading knowledge of French by May 31 of Year 4 of registration.

  • With the permission of the department, another language (other than English) may be substituted for French provided that this other language is required by the student's research area.

  • The supervisory committee may require the student to qualify in other program-related languages as well.

Special Fields Examination
  • Students are required to pass a Special Fields Examination. The examination has three components:

    • a written examination, based on a reading list drawn up in consultation with the supervisory committee;

    • a short position paper, in which the student articulates the argument and stakes of the proposed thesis in light of the preparation for this written examination;

    • and an oral examination that engages in part with the written examination and in part with the position paper.

  • Direct-entry students generally take the Special Fields Examination no later than the end of the second session of Year 3. A second attempt of the Special Fields Examination is allowed on the recommendation of the student's committee.

  • The student must have completed all requirements for the degree, exclusive of thesis research, by the end of Year 4 in order to remain in good standing in the program.

Thesis
  • A candidate is required to submit a thesis on an approved subject embodying the results of original investigation which constitute a significant contribution to the knowledge of the field, and to pass an oral examination on the subject of the thesis. The normal length of a PhD thesis is approximately 75,000 words. The maximum length accepted by the department is 100,000 words.

  • No later than November 1 of Year 3 of registration, the student must submit to the Associate Director, PhD, a preliminary thesis proposal, approved by the prospective supervisor. The proposals are circulated to all graduate faculty in the department for information and comment. The Associate Director, PhD, appoints a supervisory committee that includes a supervisor and two other faculty members with expertise in the proposed research area. The student is required to meet with the supervisory committee within three months of submitting the preliminary proposal. An approved thesis proposal signed by all members of the supervisory committee and by the Associate Director, PhD, must be submitted by February 15 of Year 3 of registration.

  • The student and the supervisor should meet regularly. The student is also required to meet at least once a year with the supervisory committee. The supervisory committee should normally approve the completed thesis before it is submitted for examination.

  • The Doctoral Final Oral Examination is arranged by the department in collaboration with the School of Graduate Studies. The candidate should allow at least 10 weeks from submission of the thesis for the department to complete the arrangements for the oral examination.

Program Length

5 years

Time Limit

7 years

Dina Sabie

“It's okay sometimes to feel lost. This is part of research.”

Dina Sabie
PhD Student, Computer Science
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