The Graduate English Department, with more than 70 full-time faculty members and over 200 graduate students, was formed under the direction of A.S.P. Woodhouse in 1947 (although the first graduate degree was awarded in 1910). The success of its faculty and graduates alike contributes to its prestigious reputation as one of the strongest and most diverse graduate programs in North America. The distinguished graduate faculty represents 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. The research of recently hired faculty in African Literature, Queer Theory, Indigenous Literature, Asian North American Literature, and Gender Studies frequently intersects with the interests of faculty who work in historical periods, producing new clusters of expertise and fresh conjunctions of inquiry.
This rich variety is exemplified in the forty or more graduate courses that are offered every year in the Department on such topics as The Medieval Vernacular Book; Renaissance Tragedy; The Meditative Tradition in Western Literature and Art; Henry Fielding; Romanticism and Empire; Popular American Lyric; Theorizing Asian North American Studies: Globalization and Nation; Literary History and Identity Politics; and Poetry of Decolonization and Diaspora. These offerings are supplemented by the many courses offered in other affiliated departments and programs such as Comparative Literature, The Centre for Medieval Studies, the Pontifical Institute, Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama, and the Collaborative Programs in Women and Gender Studies, Women's Health, Book History and Print Culture, South Asian Studies, Editing Medieval Texts, Jewish Studies, and Health Care, Technology, and Place. Robarts Library, one of the best university libraries in North America, provides a superb resource for scholarships. It is augmented by a number of specialized libraries, including the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.
The Department offers programs of study leading to the Master of Arts (MA), the Master of Arts (MA) in the Field of Creative Writing, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. The programs aim to provide graduate students with a broad background in English, Canadian, American, and World Literature in English, and to give them a foundational knowledge of literary and cultural theory. Critical Topographies, for incoming MA students, is a required course that provides students with a set of maps with which to understand the discipline and its research methods (note that MA CRW students are not required to take this course). The mandatory Essential Skills Workshop Series introduces the incoming cohort of doctoral students to the essential skills they will need in order to succeed in the PhD Program in English and beyond. Another mandatory course for doctoral students in pedagogical theory and practice, Professing Literature, prepares them to be effective teachers, and Professional Development, typically taken in the 4th year, not only equips them for the job market but also teaches the professional skills they will need for the rest of their academic careers. The Department’s Job Placement Coordinator assists in preparing students for the job market, and the Department has an excellent record of placing its graduates in tenure-track positions in Canada, the United States, and abroad.