(This program is offered in English only.)

The Department of English offers the degrees of Master of Arts (with or without thesis) and Doctor of Philosophy in English. Both programs equip students to pursue advanced studies in British, Canadian, or American literature informed by a broad knowledge of literary history and by recent developments in literary criticism and cultural theory. The department is well known for its annual Canadian Literature Symposium, and its faculty is distinguished and well-published. The Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS) has consistently awarded the department the council's highest rating.

The department participates in the collaborative programs in Women's Studies and in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the master's level, and in the collaborative program in Canadian Studies at the PhD level. 

The programs are governed by the general regulations in effect for graduate studies. Please note, however, that any course fulfilling a graduate degree requirement in English must be completed with a mark of B or higher. A student whose record shows any two grades lower than a mark of B will automatically be withdrawn from the program. Most graduate courses in the Department of English at the University of Ottawa carry three units. Requirements are stated in number of units.

For the most accurate and up to date information on application deadlines, language tests and other admission requirements, please visit the specific requirements webpage.

A master's degree in English literature, or the equivalent, with at least high second class standing (B+), is required.

A 500-word statement describing the student's specific interest in the program is required with the application.

Doctoral Program

The student must successfully complete:

  • 18 units of course work (or 15 units if the student has completed ENG 6302  and ENG 6303  as an MA student in English at the University of Ottawa, or an equivalent course elsewhere);
  • one language requirement;
  • the comprehensive examination (ENG 9998); 
  • the PhD thesis proposal (ENG 9997); and
  • the PhD thesis research (ENG 9999).

Normal Progress Through the Program

Year One:

18 units of course work, including:

The dissertation topic must be registered by the end of the third term (that is, the spring term, if initially enrolled in the fall) after the date of initial enrollment; progress toward meeting the language requirement.

Year Two:

Completion of comprehensive examinations and the language requirement.

Comprehensive examinations are normally taken by the end of the second year and are offered three times each year (late August, December, and April). Students who wish to write the comprehensives must obtain approval from the director of graduate studies by April 1 for August examinations, by September 1 for December examinations, and by December 1 for April examinations.

The examinations are made up of three written papers (a major field and two minor fields) and corresponding oral examinations. If the major field is before 1790, then at least one of the minor fields will be post-1790, or the converse. Complete guidelines and procedures are available at the department.

Year Three:

Submission of thesis proposal (ENG 9997) followed by research and writing of the dissertation.

Year Four:

Completion of the dissertation (ENG 9999) and its defence.

Language Requirements

The language requirement is normally French. However, where knowledge of another language is necessary for the major field (e.g. Latin for students working in Medieval or Renaissance studies), the student may request an alternative choice from the Department's Graduate Committee.

Students may satisfy the requirement by passing FLS 1000 or by passing six units of second-year university-level language course(s). These courses are additional to the 18 units required for the degree. Language testing of languages other than French is normally administered by the Department during the first week of September and in December and April of each year. The departmental language tests are one-hour examinations which require the candidate to translate, with the aid of a dictionary, a passage of literary criticism or another appropriate selection of similar difficulty approximately one page in length. in call cases, the minimum passing mark is 65%, and leads to an S (Satisfactory) on the transcript for ENG 7999. Students who already achieved 65% in the test at the MA level are not required to retake the test at the PhD level.

The language requirement must be satisfied before the student proceeds to the thesis proposal.

Duration of Program

The student must complete all requirements within six years of initial enrollment.

Minimum Standards

The passing grade in all courses is B. Students who fail two courses (equivalent to 6 units), the thesis proposal, or the comprehensive exam or whose research progress is deemed unsatisfactory are required to withdraw.

Research Fields & Facilities

Located in the heart of Canada’s capital, a few steps away from Parliament Hill, the University of Ottawa is among Canada’s top 10 research universities.

uOttawa focuses research strengths and efforts in four Strategic Areas of Development in Research (SADRs):

  • Canada and the World
  • Health
  • e-Society
  • Molecular and Environmental Sciences

With cutting-edge research, our graduate students, researchers and educators strongly influence national and international priorities.

Research at the Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is proud of the state of the art research conducted by its professors. In the spirit of showcasing its research to the university community as well as to the general public, the Faculty has created three activities: Dean's Lecture Series, Treasures of the Library, and Excellence Lectures.

Facilities, Research Centres and Institutes at the Faculty of Arts

Centre de recherche en civilisation canadienne-française, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) and Morisset Library.

For more information, refer to the list of faculty members and their research fields on Uniweb

IMPORTANT: Candidates and students looking for professors to supervise their thesis or research project can also consult the website of the faculty or department of their program of choice. Uniweb does not list all professors authorized to supervise research projects at the University of Ottawa.

Every year the department usually offers at least three units in each of the following areas: medieval, renaissance, restoration and 18th century, romanticism, victorian, modern British, American, Canadian, and theory.

The titles below refer to general subject areas, whereas the actual seminars will consist of specific studies in the subject areas. For a detailed description of the seminars available in any year, please consult the department webpage. Information is normally available early in the winter for the next academic year. All courses are three units.

ENG 6111 Directed Readings I (3 units)

Course Component: Research

ENG 6112 Directed Readings II (3 units)

Course Component: Research

ENG 6300 Old English I (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6301 Old English II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6302 Research Methodology (1.5 units)

Preparation of students for the professional study of English and for the application of graduate level research skills to non-academic careers. Review and analysis of electronic and print research tools and methods. Internet database searches, both in the discipline of English as well as in related fields (such as history, philosophy, and sociology), and evaluation of Internet sites. Short assignments developing skills in academic and non-academic research. Preparation of grant applications and of the thesis proposal (for students in the MA with thesis program). Graded S (Satisfactory) / NS (Not satisfactory). Offered in the fall session.

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6303 Professional Development (1.5 units)

Preparation of students for careers involving graduate level research and communication skills, including teaching, university research, and non-academic careers. Introduction to academic and non-academic professional activities: writing and publishing scholarly articles, and research reports, disseminating research results through academic and non-academic presentations, networking, participation in conferences and professional associations, and career planning for both academic and non-academic career paths for holders of graduate degrees. Sessions to be devoted to the practice of teaching, covering such topics as syllabus construction, teaching 'styles,' classroom management, teaching dossiers, student evaluation, and the application of teaching skills to non-academic goals such as presentations and team-building. Graded S (Satisfactory) / NS (Not satisfactory). Offered in the winter session.

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6304 Doctoral Research Methods (3 units)

Overview of theoretical, methodological, and critical approaches to literary studies to enable students to situate their own research within the discipline.

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6310 Middle English Literature I (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6313 Directed Reading (3 units)

Course Component: Research

ENG 6320 Middle English Literature (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6321 Middle English Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6322 Middle English Literature IV (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6330 Renaissance Literature I (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6341 Shakespeare I (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6342 Shakespeare II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6343 Shakespeare III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6344 Shakespeare IV (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6350 Renaissance Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6351 Renaissance Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6352 Renaissance Literature IV (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6355 Restoration Literature (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6356 Restoration Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6357 Restoration Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6360 Eighteenth Century Literature I (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6361 Eighteenth Century Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6362 Eighteenth-Century Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6363 Eighteenth-Century Literature IV (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6370 Romantic Literature I (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6371 Romantic Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6372 Romantic Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6373 Romantic Literature IV (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6380 Victorian Literature I (3 units)

Course Component: Lecture

ENG 6381 Victorian Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6382 Victorian Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6383 Victorian Literature IV (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 6900 Second Language Requirement

In keeping with the bilingual character of the University, the MA program has a French language requirement. Students may satisfy this requirement by passing the FLS 1000, the test administered by the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, or the departmental language test. The departmental tests are one-hour examinations which require the candidate to translate, with the aid of a dictionary, a passage of literary criticism or another appropriate selection of similar difficulty approximately one page in length. Students may also satisfy the language requirement by passing six units of second-year university-level language course(s). These courses are additional to the English courses required for the degree. In all cases, the minimum passing grade is 50% and leads to an S (Satisfactory) on the transcript for ENG 6900.

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

ENG 6999 Major Research Paper

The research paper is prepared under the direction of the research paper supervisor and is approved by the graduate committee. The research paper must be successfully completed by the end of the third session of full-time registration in the master's program. In the event of failure, the student must register for an additional session. A second failure leads to a grade of NS (Not satisfactory) on the transcript and to withdrawal from the program.

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

Prerequisites: 15 credits at the 5000, 6000, 7000 or 8000 level

ENG 7300 Modern Literature I (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7301 Modern Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7302 Modern Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7303 Modern Literature IV (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7310 American Literature I (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7311 American Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7312 American Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7313 American Literature IV (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7320 Canadian Literature I (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7321 Canadian Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7322 Canadian Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7323 Canadian Literature IV (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7330 Anglo Irish Literature (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7331 Anglo-Irish Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7332 Anglo-Irish Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7370 History of the English Language (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7375 Commonwealth Literature (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7376 Commonwealth Literature II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7377 Commonwealth Literature III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7380 History of Criticism (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7381 Theory of Criticism (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7382 History of Criticism II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7383 History of Criticism III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7384 Theory of Criticism II (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7385 Theory of Criticism III (3 units)

Course Component: Seminar

ENG 7900 Second Language Requirement

In keeping with the bilingual character of the University, the PhD program has a French language requirement. Students may satisfy this requirement by passing FLS 1000, the test administered by the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, or the departmental language test. The departmental tests are one-hour examinations which require the candidate to translate, with the aid of a dictionary, a passage of literary criticism or another appropriate selection of similar difficulty approximately one page in length. Language testing of languages other than French is normally administered by the Department. Students may also satisfy the language requirement by passing six units of second-year university-level language course(s). These courses are additional to the 18 units required for the degree. In all cases, the minimum passing grade is 66% and leads to an S (Satisfactory) on the transcript for ENG 7900. NOTE: Students who achieve 65% or higher at the MA level will not be required to retake the test if they continue on to the PhD.

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

ENG 7997 M. Thesis Proposal

The thesis proposal is prepared under the direction of the thesis supervisor and is approved by the graduate committee. The proposal must normally be successfully completed by the end of the third session. In the event of failure, the proposal can be resubmitted the following session at the latest. A second failure leads to a grade of NS on the transcript and to withdrawal from the program. Graded S (Satisfactory) / NS (Not satisfactory).

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

Prerequisites: 7.5 credits.

ENG 7999 M.A. Thesis Research

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

ENG 9997 Ph.D. Thesis Proposal

The thesis proposal is prepared under the direction of the thesis supervisor and is approved by the graduate committee after consultation with area experts. The proposal must normally be successfully completed by the end of the seventh session. In the event of failure, the proposal can be resubmitted the following session at the latest. A second failure leads to a grade of NS on the transcript and to withdrawal from the program. Graded S (Satisfactory) / NS (Not satisfactory).

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

Préalable : 15 crédits. / Prerequisites: 15 units.

ENG 9998 Comprehensive Exam (Ph.D.)

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research

ENG 9999 Ph.D. Thesis Research

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research