Undergraduate Studies in English
For a student who is going to engage in any verbal activity, the study of literature, not in itself a practical subject, is a practical necessity.
--Northrop Frye, "Humanities in a New World," 1958 University of Toronto Installation Lectures.
Literature in English has a long and rich history and is now written around the world. From the Anglo-Saxon bards of over a thousand years ago up to contemporary writers, literature presents us with the verbal artistry and the imaginative creations of people responding to, and shaping, many cultures: British, Canadian, American, African, West Indian, Aboriginal, to name a few. Works of literature are the verbal embodiment of the imaginative play of gifted writers as they explore the philosophical, historical, psychological, scientific, religious, and political realities of their times.
The Department of English offers a wide range of undergraduate courses that engage many aspects of this vast subject. As well as enlarging their cultural horizons, students of English gain a rigorous training in the skills of critical thinking: reading and interpreting texts, analyzing complex data, making judgments, marshalling evidence, and presenting arguments of their own. Students who undertake the study of English are simultaneously learning to think clearly and critically and to write with grace, precision, and force. International organization, governments of all kinds, professionals, large and small businesses all depend on these skills. Besides many professors and authors, we count among our alumni publishers and editors, radio and television producers, journalists, business executives, filmmakers, lawyers, judges, and many other professions. For more information on career options with a degree in English, visit the U of T Career Centre
and our Portal Community!