Department of English

University of Toronto


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Graduate Coursework

Some courses in English are full (Y) courses, which run from mid-September to mid-April; (F) courses run for the first term only; (S) courses for the second term only. All courses are run as seminars, and attendance and participation are mandatory. In case of absence due to illness or other causes, please contact the instructor (if possible, in advance).

Jackman Humanities BuildingCredit for the equivalent of four full graduate courses is normally required for the M.A. Three more full-year courses (or the equivalent in full or half-year courses) are normally required for the doctorate. Non-credit (CR/NCR) courses are excluded from this count. Ph.D. candidates' programs must include at least two full graduate courses (or the equivalent) outside their fields of specialization. Students are encouraged to combine these courses (some or all of which may have been taken in the M.A. program) into one of the minor fields listed in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) calendar. The minor area is especially useful when a student or recent graduate is applying for academic jobs. Minor fields demonstrate a candidate’s intellectual and pedagogical versatility, and potential employers often seek this kind of flexibility. Although coursework is one way of substantiating expertise in a minor field, it is also possible to establish conversancy with an area of knowledge through publications or teaching experience.

Ordinarily, PhD students complete all their coursework (six half courses plus ENG8000HF) in the first year of the program, with the exceptions of ENG9900HS (taken in year 2) and ENG9500HY (taken in year 4). In the Fall Term, first-year PhD students should take three half courses plus ENG8000HF; in the Winter Term, first-year PhD students should take three half courses. Students who have not otherwise fulfilled the History of the Language requirement must take as one of these six half courses either ENG1001HF, ENG6361H, ENG6362H, or ENG6365H.


Normally, all students in the Ph.D. program in English must demonstrate a reading knowledge of French. Those whose proposed research requires a reading knowledge of languages other than French must have or acquire such knowledge (these specific requirements will be set by the individual student's thesis committee). With the written permission of the Department, another language may be substituted for a reading knowledge of French. The language requirement must be completed by the end of the third year of the program.


The Department requires Ph.D. candidates to have some knowledge of the history and development of the English language, especially in the early period. Accordingly, students who have not already completed a full-year undergraduate course in Old English (such as English 240Y, which is an introductory undergraduate course in Old English) with at least a B standing are required to complete one of the following:, ENG1001H, ENG6361H (History & Structure of the English Language I), ENG6362H (History & Structure of the English Language II - Post 1500), ENG6365H (Diasporic Englishes), or a special examination in Old English.


The department encourages Ph.D. students to combine two FCE's taken outside the field of specialization, during the M.A. and/or the Ph.D., into a minor field of specialization. A minor field of specialization could be either a literary period, a coherent theoretical or generic focus (eg. cultural studies, the novel), or a particular set of concerns (eg. women writers, literature and religion, authorship studies).


Students may take up to 2 half courses outside the department. Students wishing to take such a course should obtain the approval of the Associate Director, MA or Phd or the Director of MA in the Field of Creative Writing. A Course Add/Drop Form should be completed and signed by the Graduate Director in English and taken to the host department for approval. As not all graduate departments allow students to enrol in courses via ROSI, also check local enrolment procedures with the host department. It is not too late to begin this process in Orientation week, but if you wish to get started earlier, a copy of the Course Add/Drop Form can be found on the SGS website at under Students/Forms. Complete and return the signed form to the Graduate Administrator and Counsellor.


As of September 2011, incoming M.A. students are required to take Critical Topographies: Theory and Practice of Contemporary Literary Studies in English. Please note that MA CRW students are not required to take this course.

As of September 2011, incoming doctoral candidates are required to take Texts, Theories, and Archives.

As of September 2011, incoming PhD Direct Admits must also take ENG6999Y1F Critical Topographies in Year 1 and ENG8000H Texts Theories and Archives in Year 2.

More information on the School of Graduate Studies, including a Reference for Prospective Students, can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website, .

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