MA Program

Students in the MA program take advanced courses in a range of literary periods and critical approaches, and their degree culminates in a research-based Master’s Essay or Project (10,000 words or equivalent). The MA prepares students for PhD programs and for secondary advanced credentials (e.g., Education, Library and Information Sciences, or Archival Studies). An MA in English is also good preparation for a variety of humanities careers. The degree is normally completed in 12 months, though students in a special path (see below) may require 16-24 months.

Students will find distinguished faculty with expertise in a variety of fields to guide their studies. Our Department has special strengths in medieval and early modern studies, Victorian literature, modernism, book and media studies, and literatures of the West Coast.

The MA Program is competitive. Incoming students normally have a BA in English or a related discipline, first-class grades or Honours, and a record of academic potential. All applicants are expected to articulate research goals in their application statement and demonstrate strong writing and analytical skills in their submitted writing sample. Canadian applicants are expected to apply for SSHRC CGS-M awards.

We fund all incoming MA students for 12 months and can usually provide teaching opportunities to those interested in developing careers in education or academia (see information here).

Special Paths (Optional):

Co-operative Education Program (Co-op)

Through UVic’s Co-operative Education and Career Services Program in Humanities and Fine Arts, students may extend their English MA, funded through work Co-op work terms, to gain work experience and explore job possibilities outside of academia.

Students interested in completing their degree with the Co-op program must complete an application in September or January (depending on when they want to begin their work terms). Visit the Co-op Program website for more details. All students in the Co-op program must complete a series of career-planning orientation seminars; the Co-op office assists with finding them appropriate employment. Co-op work term positions are paid, and the Co-op office can help international students coordinate associated work visas. 

MA Concentration in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT)

MA students in the Department of English may apply to the CSPT Program to pursue a concentration in Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT). The CSPT program provides interdisciplinary coursework with a focus on critical theory. It hosts a small cohort of committed students from across the humanities and social sciences who want to use theory to understand contemporary social and political phenomena. The CSPT Concentration normally takes 24 months to complete (though English can provide only one year of funding for MA students), and students are admitted to this concentration by application only.

CSPT students complete 2 CSPT-designated courses (3.0 units), 3 English courses (4.5 units), and must write an MA Thesis with a substantial theoretical component. An MA Thesis is a study of up to 100 pages, significantly longer and more research-intensive than an MA Essay or Project. CSPT students must also defend their Thesis through oral examination. The supervisor(s) and members of their supervisory committees are normally CSPT-affiliated faculty.

For more information on the MA Concentration in CSPT, visit the CSPT website and contact the CSPT Program Director.

Concentration in Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)

The Concentration in Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) is designed for MA students who want more intensive study of medieval and early modern literature and culture. Students may declare the concentration at any time.

MEMS students must complete a minimum of 3 MEMS-designated courses (4.5 units) and complete their MA Essay or Project on a medieval or early modern topic. The substance of the concentration will vary according to annual course offerings.

Students in the MEMS concentration (particularly if they want to pursue a PhD) are encouraged to study a language during their MA studies. Latin is recommended.

Concentration in Nineteenth Century Studies (NCS)

The Concentration in Nineteenth Century Studies (NCS) is designed for MA students who want more intensive study of Victorian, Romantic, and nineteenth-century American and Canadian literatures and cultures. Students may declare the concentration at any time.

NCS students must complete a minimum of 3 NCS-designated courses (4.5 units) and complete their MA Essay or Project on a nineteenth-century topic. The substance of the concentration will vary according to annual course offerings.