Department of English

DEPARTMENT OF

English Language and Literature

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Our MA Program — Master of Arts in English


Link to Introduce YourselfAre you looking for a capstone experience to your undergraduate degree, a year of lively seminars with students and professors, filled with great conversations and leading to a valued credential? Or do you want an opportunity to pursue your own questions and creative direction, writing on a major topic of your own design?  The MA in English is a model of intellectual exploration and academic rigour recognized by doctoral programs across the country and around the globe. Designed to foster student success in both further academic pursuits and the workforce, the MA in English offers both Seminar-Based and Thesis-Based pathways while providing students meaningful opportunities for professionalization and scholarly growth—from the unique, hands-on Literary Internship to funding for Conference Travel to participation in the Departmental Research Forum

The MA Seminar-Based pattern emphasizes small group immersion in literary and cultural topics informed by our faculty's current research pursuits. Students may also seek to design their own courses of study with faculty mentors in our Directed Reading courses.  The MA Thesis-Based pattern balances seminars and other courses with an individual major research essay or, for those wanting to bring together creative writing and critical development, with a research-creation project supervised by a faculty mentor.  Seminar-Based and Thesis-Based patterns are equally established steps to doctoral studies and are equally marketable credentials outside the academy—as well as enjoyable and rewarding in themselves.

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.

The Seminar-Based Master’s

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 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

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 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, or History.

Learn more about our graduate courses...

The Thesis-Based Master’s

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.

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!

(Elizabeth Heinricks, MA 2015—Literary Internship with McGill-Queen’s University Press)

 

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.

(Tara Hilman, MA 2015—Literary Internship with Kingston Literacy and Skills)