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Major English

The English Major gives you the broadest scope to develop your expertise in English-language literary culture. Beginning with basic techniques for analyzing how literary texts make meaning, the Major takes you through different historical periods to show you how the past continues to shape the present. You will have the opportunity to explore some of the classics of prose, poetry, and drama, alongside popular forms such as children’s literature and fantasy, as well as newer cultural forms like graphic novels.

You will encounter diverse voices from contemporary Canada and around the world, and discover how literature shapes identities and participates in social and political struggles.

The Major features at least one small-class experience at every level of the program, and many courses invite students to do creative as well as analytical and research-based work.

Career Prospects with a Major in English

English Majors graduate with skills that are highly valued in an array of careers: clear and effective communication, critical thinking, precise textual analysis, and independent research. Many English Majors pursue careers in education, freelance writing, publishing, consulting, civil and diplomatic service, and an array of fields that involve writing and communication.

Testimonial from a Current English Major

Daniel GreenDaniel Green

Year of Study: Fourth Year
Degree: English Major

“Studying literature has deeply enriched my life and enhanced my understanding of human existence and emotion. Learning to communicate yourself professionally, academically, and creatively is of paramount significance no matter what you choose to do.”

Major Plan Requirements

To help plan out your degree, the Major Maps is a great tool to use. The Academic Advisement Report tool in SOLUS can tell you whether you are meeting your requirements.

For the most up-to-date and detailed descriptions of all the requirements needed to fulfill a major in the English Languages and Literature program, please use the English Major Plan page in the Queen’s University Digital Calendar.

Program: Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Plan Code: ENGL-M-BAH

Requirements: 60.0 ENGL units, plus 60.0 elective units, to a total of 120.0 units (114.0 units for students admitted prior to September 2017). The English Major can be combined with a Minor in another subject. To qualify for the English Major, students must take the following core and option courses.

What your Degree Might Look Like

Year 1

  • ENGL 100/6.0 an introduction to the techniques for analyzing literary texts, with training in academic essay-writing.

Year 2

These two courses are prerequisites for upper-year English courses, so they must be taken in second year.

  • 9.0 to 12.0 ENGL units on an array of topics: children’s literature, Indigenous literature, genres such as fantasy, or thematic courses such as literature and gender or literature and the environment. Majors may also take English Substitutions, including Creative Writing
  • The Department recommends that English Majors take ENGL 292/6.0 Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism, particularly if they are interested in pursuing graduate study.

Year 3

  • Three full-year period/nation surveys:
    • one pre-1800
    • one nineteenth century
    • and one twentieth century and beyond

Year 4

  • Five upper-year seminars on diverse topics;
    • at least one must be pre-1800,
    • and at least one must be nineteenth century and beyond.
  • Majors have the option to write a Senior Essay in place of one seminar, if they meet the eligibility criteria. This is an option, not a requirement, and does not necessarily confer any advantage in graduate or professional applications.

Note on English Substitutions: A number of courses offered by other units can count toward ENGL Plans: these courses are called ‘English Substitutions’ (ENGL_Subs). Majors can count up to 12.0 units of English Substitutions toward their Plans.

For a full list of English Substitutions, see the English Major Plan page in the Queen’s University Digital Calendar.

Creative Writing Courses

Our program offers a wide variety of creative writing courses, all of which count towards the program requirements. Majors can count up to 12.0 units of CWRI toward their plans.

View our Creative Writing courses

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74446 extension 74446


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74447 extension 74447

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