Students in class

English - Graduate studies

This content is available in English only.

An MA or PhD in English offers the opportunity to follow your passion while developing advanced professional skills in research, analysis, writing, and oral communication for a variety of audiences. What sets our graduate program apart is its combination of top-notch academic training and unrivalled collegiality. Our faculty are internationally renowned, producing leading research in their fields. Our graduate students pursue research in fields across the discipline, from medieval to contemporary literature; scholarly editing to book history to interdisciplinary studies in areas like material culture or literature and science. The Department has a strong sense of community: our floor of the Arts building is a lively place where students and faculty meet regularly and develop close working relationships. Both the MA and the PhD combine stimulating academic seminars with professional development workshops to help students prepare for leadership roles in a wide range of careers.


The MA in English helps students develop the advanced professional skills and the intellectual independence required for doctoral studies and for leadership roles in a variety of fields. Seminars are small, providing a stimulating environment for students to develop their skills and build supportive relationships with peers and faculty members. The academic seminars and, optionally, the research paper or thesis research foster rigorous study of British, Canadian, or American literary history from a range of critical perspectives. In addition, the program includes training in transferable professional skills such as grant-writing, presenting at conferences, teaching, publishing articles, and planning for academic and non-academic career paths. We also offer a unique MA with Co-op option, which enables students to gain paid work experience in government, business, arts administration and other professional careers while pursuing advanced studies in English Literature. Our MAs go on to PhD programs at universities across the continent, or pursue careers in government, education, non-profit work, writing and editing, law, and other professional fields.

Program Streams

We offer several options for the MA in English. All of the MA programs provide excellent preparation for either doctoral study or a non-academic career. Students in all programs must take ENG6302 and ENG6303, a series of bi-weekly workshops in Research Methods and Professionalization, in addition to their academic seminars. 

  • The one-year MA in English with Coursework (eight seminars) allows students to deepen their knowledge of a variety of areas of literary studies.
  • The one-year MA in English with Research Paper (five seminars plus an independent research paper of about 12,000 words) allows students to focus more intensively on a research project of their choice while still completing the MA within a single year.
  • The two-year MA in English with Thesis (four seminars plus a thesis of about 100 pages) allows students to undertake a more ambitious research project by writing and defending a thesis.

Co-op Program

Both the one-year MA in English with Coursework (eight seminars) and one-year MA in English with Research Paper (five seminars and a research paper) can be done as part of the department's Co-op program. The Co-op option allows students to acquire workplace experience and professional connections that will give them a competitive advantage in the job market. The program takes five semesters, which includes two paid work terms. For more information, contact Dr. Andrew Taylor, Director of Graduate Studies, at [email protected].

Collaborative Programs

We also offer two collaborative MA programs which combine advanced studies in English with training in interdisciplinary research in either Medieval and Renaissance Studies or Feminist and Gender Studies.

  • The Collaborative MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies consists of three English seminars, two interdisciplinary courses in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and a thesis. Students can alternatively do a one-year MA with a research paper, to which a CO-OP option can be added. This is a bilingual program, so students must have advanced competency in both English and French.
  • The Collaborative MA in English and Women's Studies consists of three English seminars, two interdisciplinary courses in Feminist and Gender Studies, and a thesis. Students can alternatively do a one-year MA with a research paper, to which a CO-OP option can be added.
Students sitting on a bench

The Department of English

Learn from nationally and internationally respected scholars and historians in a wide variety of fields; have access to the best of municipal, provincial and national cultural organizations; combine studies in various historical periods, cultural areas, and specializations; get top-quality, personalized education and becoming part of an academic community.
Learn more about the department.


Part of an historic institution, the oldest bilingual university in Canada, the Department of English at the University of Ottawa is a fresh and vibrant department at the forefront of literary studies. Our faculty are internationally renowned, producing leading research in their fields. Our doctoral program prepares students to pursue independent research in British, Canadian, or American literature informed by a broad knowledge of literary and cultural history and by recent developments in literary criticism and theory. Our program is recognized as one of the best departments of English in Canada; in the 2014 QS rankings, it was ranked one of the top 150 English departments worldwide.

Students in our doctoral program benefit from small seminars, a collegial environment, and close mentoring relationships with our distinguished faculty. Our comprehensive exam structure helps students develop expertise both in their literary-historical field and in a particular area of critical or methodological inquiry, laying a strong foundation for the thesis proposal and the doctoral thesis. We are committed to helping students become excellent teachers: our professional development workshops include training in pedagogy and course design, and doctoral candidates have the opportunity to design and teach their own courses by the end of their degree. The program also includes workshops in professional skills such as research methods, grant applications, conference presentations, publishing, preparing for the academic job market, and planning for non-academic or alternative-academic careers.

Doctoral students are vital participants in the life of our departmental community. The English Department hosts a variety of events each year including conferences, talks by visiting scholars, poetry readings, and colloquia where faculty and graduate students present their work and learn about the current projects of other department members. The English Graduate Students' Association keeps students connected, provides moral support and peer mentoring.

Graduate students can also gain administrative experience and connect with scholars from across North America and beyond by helping organize our annual Canadian Literature Symposium and other major conferences and events, such as the recent Shakespeare 400 celebrations and the upcoming 2017 North American Society for the Study of Romanticism annual conference.

Admission requirements

Current and Past Courses

uOttawa via drone

Graduate programs and opportunities

Distinguish your professional or academic profile at one of Canada’s top 10 research institutes. The University of Ottawa’s diverse range of programs allows you to choose a formula that improves your employment prospects and fits your lifestyle.
Learn more

Contact us

Department of English

Hamelin Hall, room 338
70 Laurier Avenue E.
Ottawa ON Canada K1N 6N5

Tel.: 613-562-5764
Fax: 613-562-5990
[email protected]

Office hours

Monday to Friday
From 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m.
From 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(June to August: closed at 4 p.m.)