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Our MA Program - Master of Arts in English

Our English MA program balances intellectual exploration and academic rigour and is recognized by doctoral programs across the country and around the globe. All of our students are supported with a combination of grants and teaching assistantships; for more information about funding please visit our funding and awards page.

Designed to foster student success both in academia and pursuits in the workforce, the MA in English offers both Seminar-Based and Thesis-Based pathways. Both streams are filled with meaningful opportunities for professional development and scholarly growth, such as:

Our Two Streams for an MA Degree in English

MA Seminar-Based

The MA Seminar-Based degree emphasizes

  • Small group immersion in literary and cultural topics
  • Opportunities for Directed Reading courses

MA Thesis-Based

The MA Thesis-Based degree balances

  • Seminars and other courses
  • Individual Major Research Essay
  • Research Creation Project

Opportunities after a Masters in English at Queen’s

Our Master’s students consistently demonstrate high rates of success in national awards competitions, in achieving entry into doctoral programs, and in securing employment in fields as varied as editing, publishing, teaching, law, civil service, business, NGO work, and information technologies.

Featured Alumni

Dani MacDonald

Dani MacDonald

Class of
Research & Communications Manager, Association of Canadian Publishers

I was fortunate to work with an amazing supervisor, Dr Leslie Ritchie, who supported me throughout my degree and connected me to a lot of great opportunities.

Completed Literary Internship at McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Seminar-Based Masters

The Seminar-Based Master’s is a 12-month program.

This program pattern is the recommended standard for an MA in English and is welcomed by doctoral programs in Canada and abroad for the breadth of study it encourages.

Students enrolled in the Seminar-Based MA take the following graduate courses:

  • ENGL 800/900 Introduction to Professional and Pedagogical Skills in the fall term
  • ENGL 803 Research Forum in the fall and winter term
  • 2 seminar courses in the fall term
  • 3 seminar courses in the winter term
  • 1 seminar course in the spring term

One of the courses may be an individual Directed Reading arranged with a supervisor, rather than a seminar.

One of the courses may also be taken in a Queen's graduate program other than English, such as Philosophy, Art History, History, Global Development Studies, Environmental Studies, Cultural Studies, and Gender Studies.

Learn more about our graduate courses

Thesis-Based Masters

The Thesis-Based Master’s is a 12-month program.

This program pattern is recommended for students who wish to pursue their own research-essay or research-creation thesis project in addition to a small number of seminars. In order to be guaranteed this option, applicants to the MA program propose a significant and viable project and secure the participation of a potential supervisor before or during the application process.

Students enrolled in the Thesis-Based Master's take the following graduate courses:

  • ENGL 800 Introduction to Professional and Pedagogical Skills in the fall term
  • ENGL 803 Research Forum in the fall and winter term
  • 2 seminar courses in the fall term
  • 1 seminar course in the winter term

All graduate students make sure to choose one course from each of the three periods:

  • Course Group 1: medieval to 1660
  • Course Group 2: 1600–1900
  • Course Group 3: 1900 to present

One of the courses may also be taken in another Queen's graduate program than English, for example in Philosophy, Art, or History.

MA Thesis

MA theses are planned in the Fall Term, written in Winter and Spring terms, and completed and defended before a committee within the year.

  • A research-essay thesis is about 15 000 words in length.
  • A research-creation thesis combines a creative project informed by research with a critical paper whose length depends on the nature of the project.

Learn more about our graduate courses

Literary Internship

The literary internship provides students with work experience that is directly related to literary studies. MA students have the opportunity of applying for one of our literary internships with such organizations as Kingston WritersFest, the Strathy Language Unit, or McGill-Queen’s University Press. Students apply directly to the Graduate Chair upon admission to the graduate program.

Elizabeth Heinricks, MA

Literary Internship with McGill-Queen’s University Press

“I found the entire internship experience to be extremely rewarding. I was happy to be conducting research, and grateful to have been assigned a subject I had a real interest in. The environment of my internship was always happy and encouraging… Seeing how the work I did is actually serving McGill-Queen’s University Press in the next stage of developing one of its series is perhaps the most rewarding part of an all-around wonderful experience. I would definitely recommend continuing this program and am very glad to have been a participant!”

Tara Hilman, MA

Literary Internship with Kingston Literacy and Skills

“The internship was a really amazing experience . It gave me the opportunity to support literacy skills as well as to adapt literature in a new and creative way. I am passionate about creative interaction with literary works and about increasing accessibility to classic texts, so I could not have come up with a placement that would better suit my interests. It served as a good reminder that I want to be doing similar work in the future, and it was encouraging to see that there are markets for my passions.”

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.