Concordia University

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English

Doctor of/Doctorate in Philosophy (English Literature)

Admission Requirements. Applicants are assessed by the Department of English’s Graduate Committee on the basis of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, research ability, and a letter of intent. The following criteria serve as admission requirements:

  • Excellence and pertinence of academic background (applicants should have a GPA of 3.5 or above) from a recognized university
  • Master's in English or equivalent (see *** below)
  • Promise as a scholar as demonstrated by letter of intent and submitted writing sample
  • Relevance of proposed research to the program
  • Feasibility of proposed research in terms of material resources including faculty supervision
  • Applications will be considered for either full-time or part-time study

*** In exceptional circumstances, outstanding students who have completed 18 credits of course work in English Literature at the master's level may be admitted into the PhD program before satisfying the remaining master's requirements.

Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Credits. A fully qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 90 credits.

  2. Courses. (19 credits). Doctoral students are required to take 19 credits of coursework to include ENGL 800 Pro-Seminar I: Theory, ENGL 801 Pro-Seminar II: Methodology, ENGL 802 Professional Development Workshops (1 credit) and 12 credits from the selection of Studies courses. A minimum of three of the 12 credits must be pre-20th Century.

  3. Field Examinations. ENGL 891 Field Examination I and ENGL 892 Sub-Field Examination II (12 credits). Students are required to complete two written Field Examinations during the second year of their program. The supervisor and at least one other faculty member in a relevant field adjudicate each Field Examination. Each exam comprises five questions. Students are required to respond to three questions. Questions are distributed one week in advance of the scheduled examination. Each exam is held on campus for four hours without notes or other additional materials. The exams are assessed by the supervisor on a pass/fail basis in consultation with at least one other faculty member in the Department with related expertise in the area. In the case of a “fail,” the student has until the end of the tenth term to obtain a “pass,” whether in the initial or another Major Field or configuration of the Sub-Fields exam.

    Field Examinations Reading Lists
    • Medieval Literature
    • Renaissance Literature
    • Restoration and 18th-Century Literature
    • 19th-Century Literature
    • 20th-Century and Contemporary Literature
    • American Literature
    • Canadian Literature
    • Post-Colonial Literature
    • Literary Criticism/Theory

  4. Thesis proposal and oral presentation. ENGL 890: Thesis Proposal (6 credits). Students are admitted to candidacy for the PhD upon acceptance by their advisory committee of the written thesis proposal and its successful oral presentation. Students typically complete one Major Field Examination in an area related to the thesis topic. The oral examination of the written thesis proposal normally takes place in the term following the writing of the second Field Examination. The written proposal is normally 4,500 words in length with an additional five pages for a bibliography.

  5. Thesis. ENGL 895: Thesis Research (53 credits). Doctoral students must submit a thesis based on their research and defend it in an oral examination.

  6. Language Requirement. Students are required to demonstrate reading knowledge of a language other than English, a language of demonstrated relevance to their program of research. Language testing occurs once each term, and students are expected to pass the language requirement by the end of their second year in the program.

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.

  2. Residence Requirements. The minimum required residency is six consecutive terms (including summers) of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study.

  3. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.

  4. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
     

Core Courses

Course Work: PhD students are required to take two 3-credit Pro-Seminar courses

ENGL 800 Pro-Seminar I: Theory (3 credits)
This course is an advanced survey of literary theory, considering those thinkers whose work has been particularly influential for the discipline’s understanding of the nature and function of literature and its production. Figures to be studied may include Aristotle, Sidney, Nietzsche, Althusser, Lacan, Derrida, Barthes, Foucault, Deleuze, Irigaray, McLuhan, Badiou, Zizek, and Kristeva. 

ENGL 801 Pro-Seminar II: Methodology  (3 credits)
This course considers literary research under the aegis of a current or emergent methodological paradigm in the field e.g. Book History, Media Studies, Digital Humanities, Poetics, Psychoanalysis, Affect Theory, or Neuroaesthetics. 

ENGL 802  Professional Development Workshops (1 credit)
The Department holds a series of workshops with the aim of introducing doctoral candidates to pertinent research, teaching, and professional expectations and enhancing career development. In order to graduate, all doctoral candidates must attend these workshops before the end of the sixth term. Master's students are also strongly encouraged to attend the relevant sessions since they are a constitutive component of graduate formation. If a student has attended a given workshop during his/her master's degree, he/she is exempted from that workshop.
Workshops are led by faculty members and organized by the Graduate Program Director on a monthly basis in anticipation both of key dates during the PhD program (e.g. external grant application due dates) and the future professional life of the doctoral candidate (e.g. academic job interviews). The course is graded on a pass/fail basis.

ENGL 890 Thesis Proposal (6 credits)
Students are admitted to candidacy for the PhD upon acceptance by their advisory committee of the written thesis proposal and its successful defence. The oral examination of the written thesis proposal normally takes place in the term following the writing of the field examinations.

ENGL 891 The Major Field Examination I (6 credits)
This course focuses broadly on the candidate’s primary area of specialization, covering major authors, genres, and issues and the pertinent canonical texts therein, in order to consolidate the necessary background knowledge for advanced literary research and teaching at the university level. In the examination, candidates are expected to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the designated field as well as an original, critical understanding of the field and its constitutive texts. The Department has established reading lists in nine broad areas of specialization that cover a variety of periods, nations, and subjects. These basic lists may be modified to suit the interests of individual candidates. A substitution of 20 per cent is permitted for all reading lists for the purposes of tailoring the lists to the interests of the student.  Such substitutions are to be determined by agreement between the student and the student's supervisor and are subject to approval by the Graduate Program Committee.

ENGL 892 The Sub-Field Examination II (6 credits)
This course is designed to cultivate a more specific area of inquiry that may include a body of literary texts in combination with readings in a particular set of methodological or theoretical problems to the end of developing a viable doctoral topic and composing a thesis proposal. The Sub-Field Examination list is established by the candidate in consultation with the doctoral supervisor and comprises approximately 60 items that are seen as directly relevant to the field in which the dissertation is oriented. It is divided into three sections: 1) approximately 20 literary texts; 2) approximately 20 theoretical/methodological texts; 3) approximately 20 texts drawn from adjacent and/or ancillary fields. By “text,” it means the number of poems or articles deemed by field specialists as sufficiently representative of an author's work or period. A text cannot appear twice on any of the lists, including that of the Major Field. The lists and texts are not exhaustive, but are meant to provide the student with the necessary initiation to sub-fields that help to clarify the direction and goals of the dissertation. 

ENGL 895 Thesis Research (53 credits)
Doctoral students must submit a thesis based on their research and defend it in an oral examination.

Studies Courses (12 credits)

ENGL 801-804  Independent Study in English Literature
ENGL 601-604  Special Topics in English Literature
ENGL 605-609  Studies in Early English Literature and Medieval Literature

ENGL 610-614  Studies in Renaissance Literature
ENGL 615-619  Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature
ENGL 620-624  Studies in Nineteenth Century Literature
ENGL 625-629  Studies in Twentieth Century Literature
ENGL 630-634  Studies in Poetry
ENGL 635-639  Studies in Drama
ENGL 640-644  Studies in Fiction
ENGL 645-649  Studies in the History of Ideas
ENGL 650-654  Studies in Shakespeare
ENGL 655-659  Studies in American Literature
ENGL 660-664  Studies in Canadian Literature
ENGL 665-667  Studies in Post-Colonial Literature
ENGL 668-669  Studies in Literary Criticism
ENGL 685-689  Studies in Selected Areas

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Master of/Magisteriate in Arts (English)

Note: Admissions to Option B has been suspended.

Admission Requirements. The Master of Arts program, with the exception of the Creative Writing option, requires an Honours degree or its equivalent in English with a minimum of a B+ (3.30 GPA) average. The Creative Writing option requires a major in English Literature or its equivalent with a minimum of a B+ (3.30 GPA) average, together with a portfolio (five copies) of the applicant’s literary work. The portfolio will be evaluated. Details about the composition of the portfolio may be obtained from the Graduate Program Director. Portfolios will not be returned to applicants but may be picked up. Applicants who lack one or two courses (12 credits or less) towards equivalency of an Honours degree, but who are otherwise well qualified, may be admitted with the provision that they take additional undergraduate courses as part of their master’s program. Applicants requiring three or more courses (more than 12 credits) to complete the Honours equivalent will be required to take a qualifying program of prescribed undergraduate courses, and reapply to the master’s program after successful completion of this course work. Applicants should feel free to consult with all members of the English Department about the program. Specific matters should be addressed to the Graduate Program Director or to the Graduate Program Assistant.

Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

Requirements for the Degree

Credits. A fully-qualified candidate is required to complete a minimum of 45 credits.

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.

  2. Residence. All options have a minimum residence requirement of three terms of full-time study or the equivalent in part-time study.

  3. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.

  4. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
     

Master of/Magisteriate in Arts — English Literature with Research Essay (Option A)

This option gives the student the opportunity to study English literature in a range of periods and subjects. Emphasis rests on course work, the seminar format of which encourages discussion, debate and collaboration. A fully qualified candidate takes a minimum of twenty-one 600-level course credits. In these courses the student is trained in academic research methods, gains knowledge to interpret literary texts and assess scholarship in particular fields, and applies these skills in graduate research papers. A fully qualified candidate is required to take a minimum of six credits from any courses designated by the Graduate Committee as fulfilling the “Period” requirement, and a minimum of three credits from any courses designated as fulfilling the “Theory” requirement. This option requires the preparation of an annotated bibliography of approximately three thousand words (ENGL 693, 6 credits) preliminary to a research essay of approximately ten thousand words (ENGL 694, 18 credits). The bibliography requires the approval of the Graduate Committee before a student is permitted to proceed with the research essay. Both are supervised by a member of the department. The bibliography must be submitted to the Graduate Committee by 15 September of the second year. The research essay is submitted by 1 February for spring graduation and 15 June for fall graduation. The research essay is assessed by the supervisor and one other member of the department.

Master of/Magisteriate in Arts — English Literature with Thesis (Option B)

This option involves course work and intensive research on an original topic, approved by the Graduate Committee. In this option, a fully qualified candidate is required to take a minimum of 21 credits at the 600-level including a minimum of six credits from any courses designated by the Graduate Committee as fulfilling the “Period” requirement, and a minimum of three credits from any courses designated as fulfilling the “Theory” requirement. A candidate electing the thesis option must satisfy the Graduate Committee of the viability of the topic and secure a member of the department to supervise the thesis. The English Department cannot guarantee the availability of a supervisor on every possible topic. The candidate will make an oral defence of the thesis. Theses must be submitted to the department by May 15 for Fall graduation and by February 1 for Spring graduation. For specific information concerning thesis proposals a student should consult the departmental guidelines. University regulations regarding the thesis may be found in the thesis section of this calendar. For purposes of registration, this work will be designated as ENGL 690 (Thesis).

Master of/Magisteriate in Arts in English — Creative Writing (Option C)

To elect this option a candidate must have applied specifically for the Creative Writing option. A fully qualified candidate will take a minimum of 12 600-level credits from the regular academic course offerings, and 12 course credits in creative writing drawn from courses numbered 670-674 (ENGL 670 and ENGL 671 are Creative Writing courses). Only six credits of creative writing workshop (from ENGL 672, 673 or 674) may be elected in any year. A creative writing thesis of book length, the proposal of which requires approval by the Graduate Committee, must be submitted to the department by May 15 for Fall graduation and by February 1 for Spring graduation. For purposes of registration, this work will be designated as ENGL 692 (Creative Writing Thesis).

Creative Writing Option students may NOT substitute creative writing courses for any of the required 12 course credits of academic credits.

Note: In addition to the regulations governing the examination of master’s theses outlined in this calendar, the Department of English has specific procedures for thesis examinations. Students should consult the Graduate Program Director for details.

Descriptions of all Department of English graduate courses can be found at the Department of English website. English graduate courses are offered in the following topic areas:

ENGL 600-604 Special Topics in English Literature
ENGL 605-609 Studies in Early English Literature and Medieval Literature
ENGL 610-614 Studies in Renaissance Literature
ENGL 615-619 Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth Century Literature
ENGL 620-624 Studies in Nineteenth Century Literature
ENGL 625-629 Studies in Twentieth Century Literature
ENGL 630-634 Studies in Poetry
ENGL 635-639 Studies in Drama
ENGL 640-644 Studies in Fiction
ENGL 645-649 Studies in the History of Ideas
ENGL 650-654 Studies in Shakespeare
ENGL 655-659 Studies in American Literature
ENGL 660-664 Studies in Canadian Literature
ENGL 665-667 Studies in Post-Colonial Literature
ENGL 668-669 Studies in Literary Criticism
ENGL 670-674 Seminars in Creative Writing: Prose Fiction, Poetry and Drama
ENGL 678-679 Studies in Selected Areas
ENGL 685-689 Studies in Selected Areas

Please note that in courses where a Special Subject is listed, this Special Subject is a subtitle, and may change from year to year. Consequently, when students repeat a course number in subsequent years, but with a different subtitle, they are in fact engaged in a course with completely different content. The credit value attached to a course number may likewise change from year to year.

Note: Courses in Creative Writing are normally available only to students admitted into the Creative Writing option. Occasional exceptions in special circumstances are made for entry by students in the academic options. Such entrants require the prior approval of the Graduate Program Director.

Independent (non-degree) students require the permission of the Graduate Program Director to take a course and they must possess the same kind and quality of academic background and preparation as required of students admitted to the MA program.

Studies in Selected Areas

ENGL 678 Selected Area I
Creative Writing Tutorial (one-term, 3-credit course).

ENGL 679 Selected Area II
Creative Writing Tutorial (two-term, 6-credit course). The Creative Writing tutorials may be elected only by students in Option C. They are designed to accommodate candidates whose genre (e.g., poetry or drama) is not offered during a given academic year. Candidates wishing to enrol in ENGL 678 or 679 must submit a request to the Graduate Committee. Approval will in part depend upon the availability of resources and whether the Graduate Committee deems it beneficial for the student to undertake a tutorial course rather than a regularly scheduled course. Tutorial courses will be considered only exceptionally and for very able students.

ENGL 685 Selected Area III

ENGL 687 Selected Area IV
Bibliography and Research Methods in English. An introduction to scholarly research in English (one-term, 3-credit course).

ENGL 688 Selected Area V
Reading Course (one-term, 3-credit course).

ENGL 689 Selected Area VI
Reading Course (two-term, 6-credit course). After completing at least a third of the course credits (transfer credits excluded), a student may submit a request to the Graduate Committee for permission to take up to 6 credits in a reading course to be provided through a tutorial arrangement. A reading course will be permitted only when the proposed general subject area has not been available during the span of the student’s program and where the Graduate Committee is satisfied that it is beneficial for the student to take a reading course rather than a regularly scheduled graduate course. Reading courses are approved only exceptionally and only students who have demonstrated a capacity for independent work and a very high calibre of academic performance will be considered. This applies to both English 688 and English 689.

Thesis, Bibliography and Research Essay

ENGL 690 Thesis (24 credits)

ENGL 692 Creative Writing Thesis (21 credits)

ENGL 693 Bibliography (6 credits)
The annotated bibliography constitutes a preliminary phase of the research essay. A student must successfully complete the annotated bibliography before producing the research essay. The approximate length of the annotated bibliography is 3,000 words and is supervised by the supervisor of the research essay. The bibliography is assessed on a pass/fail basis.

ENGL 694 Research Essay (18 credits)
Prerequisite: ENGL 693.
A research essay of approximately 10,000 words is supervised by a member of the department and assessed by another faculty member acting as reader. The essay is assessed on a pass/fail basis.

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