English Language and Literature

High School Background Required
Life After Graduation
First Year Requirements
Further Information

Literary study develops your understanding of the intricacies of language's effects: literary critics faced with a lyric poem, for example, seek not to arrive at a single meaning, but rather to explore the array of meanings and the processes by which they may be produced, contested, and reinvented. The study of literatures written in the English language from its earliest emergence in the Middle Ages to its postcolonial diaspora will expose you to a wide range of genres, idioms, belief systems, aesthetic expectations, and social functions, while also showing how literature often speaks to past literature and generates future literature.

The Department of English at Queen's allows students to explore a broad span of literary fields from Middle English to contemporary Indigenous literatures. Many courses focus on one historical or national context: Victorian literature, for example; Renaissance Poetry and Prose, American Literature, or Canadian Literature. Other courses take a more topical approach: Children's literature, for example, or Fantasy. Still others, like 'Math and Poetry,' 'Literary Modernism,' and 'Authorship, Originality, and Copyright' invite thinking about the relationship between literature and other arts and disciplines. All students majoring in English are advised to take a core course in Literary Criticism and Theory that encourages reflection on principles guiding literary analysis. Many of our students also take courses in creative writing. All upper-year students have the opportunity to study in small seminars, which aim to foster both independent research and collective discussion.

The Department has a longstanding reputation for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Our professors have won nine teaching prizes in the last decade in both faculty-wide and university-wide competitions, and have been nominated for many others. Our course evaluations are routinely among the very best in the university. Our graduates have gone on to the best Canadian and international graduate schools and to successful careers in Law, Education, Publication, Journalism, Broadcasting, and Business. In the past decade three of our students have won Rhodes Scholarships to study at Oxford.

Professors in the English Department are engaged in research on projects ranging from Medieval monastic literature to the discourse of contemporary globalization. The Department's Strathy Language Unit focuses on how Canadian English is spoken, while the Benjamin Disraeli Project is preparing the eighth edited volume of the great Prime Minister's letters.

In short, ours is a vibrant and successful department, devoted to both teaching and research. To find out more about us, please visit our website.

High School Background Required

No specific high school course is required to pursue a concentration in English

Life After Graduation

  • Writing/editing
  • Print journalism, TV and radio broadcasting
  • Business management
  • Teaching/research
  • Graduate studies

First Year Requirements

Go to Choose Your First Year Courses for more information

Further Information

English Language and Literature Home Web Page
Phone: (613) 533-2153
Fax: (613) 533-6872
Email: Sherril Barr or ugrad.english@queensu.ca

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