Graduate programs

Join our group of vibrant graduate students and supportive, innovative faculty. We will help you to build professional skills in literary research and teaching.

We offer both Master's and Doctoral programs in a full range of areas, from Anglo-Saxon through contemporary, postcolonial, Canadian, and American literature and theory, as well as concentrations in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought; Literatures of the West Coast (MA only); Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MA only); and Nineteenth Century Studies (MA only).

Our students get tenure-track jobs and college teaching jobs, publish books and articles, and present their research at international academic conferences. They also win international, national, provincial, university, and private awards and fellowships at a remarkable rate. Our success rate in SSHRC competitions is  high; in 2012, 80% (4 of 5) of those who applied won Doctoral SSHRC awards; in  2013-14 (33%) (1 out of 3 PhD’s won).

Departmental activities

Our research-intensive department has been ranked in the top 100 in the world. This is partly because its talented faculty and students enjoy extraordinary resources. We offer a wide and interesting range of courses each year, host eminent visiting speakers, organize a graduate student conference, celebrate our successes openly, and keep students up to date on the latest research through the monthly faculty colloquium, at which faculty present work in progress to students and other faculty in a seminar setting. The tone of all such gatherings is convivial, energetic, and supportive, as is the overall departmental experience.

This high level of achievement doesn't mean we are an uncollegial department, though. Each year our graduate students organize and host a graduate student conference, the department puts on a departmental sports day and BBQ, we host numerous high-profile and cutting-edge visiting speakers, and we take every opportunity we get to socialize, meet, and talk about our lives and work. We try very hard to support graduate students in every way possible, and do all that we can to make sure that they succeed both in the program and once they leave it.

We invite applications from all students with broad backgrounds in English literature and theory, excellent grades, and a passion for literary and theoretical study. To receive further information on applying to the program, please contact Colleen Donnelly, the .

To verify important information, please consult the UVic Calendar or contact the and/or the .

Complete information on the graduate program is available in the Graduate handbook, which is a supplement to the University of Victoria Calendar.

Students are expected to familiarize themselves with Departmental, University, and Faculty regulations, as well as with the Faculty of Graduate Studies guidelines, "Responsibilities in the Supervisory Relationship." This document governs academic relationships between Academic Supervisors, members of supervisory committees, and graduate students.

The University of Victoria Department of English congratulates the following students for winning new SSHRC awards for 2014-15:

PhD: Samantha MacFarlane

MA:Elizabeth Bassett, Lawrence Evalyn, Emily Hector, and Rebecca Rogers.

Some of Our Previous PhD Student SSHRC Winners

  • Kirsten Alm research interests include twentieth-century and contemporary poetics of resistance, and affirmation and assimilation among displaced and minority groups. She graduated from Trinity Western University with an MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities.
  • Adele Barclaystudies twentieth-century American literature, ecocriticism, and poetics. Her SSHRC-funded project will focus on the 20th-century American poetry and film. She holds an MA from McGill University and a BA from Queen's University.
  • David Oswald is writing his dissertation on the representations of animality and intellectual disability in twentieth-century American fiction, with a focus on novels by William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy and the literary-cultural habit of fusing tropes of "canine" and "idiot" otherness. He is working under the supervision of Dr. Nicole Shukin, and has an MA from the University of Victoria and an Honours BA in English and Philosophy from the University of Toronto.

Some of Our Previous MA Student SSHRC Winners

  • Nicole Birch-Bayley holds a BA in English from Laurentian University, where she focussed on displacement, longing, and cultural identity in contemporary Canadian and world literatures. She graduated from the MA program's Cultural, Social and Political Thought (CSPT) concentration, writing on the works of Anne Michaels, Dionne Brand, and David Chariandy.
  • David Carlton received his MA degree in English from the University of British Columbia-Okanagan and graduated from the MA program. His research interests included Old English and Medieval literature.
  • Carmen Cookson-Hills received her BA in English from the University of Calgary, and graduated from the MA program, writing on Wayson Choy.
  • Mikka Jacobsen completed her BA and MA in English at the University of Victoria, focusing her MA on John Kennedy's A Confederacy of Dunces.
  • Shaun MacPherson holds a BA from the University of Victoria and graduated from the MA program with a concentration in CSPT. His thesis project applied thing theory and historical materialism to a study of physical computing networks and maker/DIY culture.
  • Sandra Stephens earned her Honours BA in English Language and Literature, with a minor in Anthropology, from the University of Windsor. For her MA, she is studying Marie Clement's Play The Edward Curtis Project.

Other Graduate English SSHRC winners include Tim Personn (Vanier CGS), Shannon Beahen, Jeanette Parker, Jana Millar-Usiskin, Helen Andrade, Alexandra Bunten-Walberg, Hayley Evans, Ashleigh Frayne, Meredith Holmes, Mayah Holtslander, Jamin Huntley, and Rhys Mahannah.