Contact the Department of English
Dr. Susan Johnston
Welcome to the Department of English
In the Department of English, we read, discuss, and write about literature in the English language. We take “literature” in its broadest sense: novels, short stories, poetry, and drama, highbrow classics and popular contemporaries, imaginative non-fiction, writing about writers (biography, life-writing, essays, and criticism), literature adapted to film, and literature translated into English. We also offer classes in the craft of good writing and in the art of creating new imaginative literature.
There’s an enormous amount of literature in English. We offer courses and programs that appeal to those who want to immerse themselves in the ocean (a BA in English, 45 credit hours in the major area), as well as to those who just want to test the waters (a minor in English, 21 credit hours). Dedicated students may go on to earn a BA Honours in English (60 credit hours in the major). All our English majors and Honours students can choose a concentration in Creative Writing (12 credit hours) if they wish. Graduate students embarking on a Master’s degree in English with us have the choice of three streams: coursework, thesis, and creative.
English isn’t a difficult language to learn, yet it’s enormously varied in its vocabulary and complex in its resources. It’s the common tongue of the global community, of the Internet, of Hollywood movies and popular song lyrics. Superior skills in oral and written English vastly increase one’s professional options wherever better communications are valued. But the English language is so rich it is easy to fall in love with it, especially when it’s practiced by great writers like Shakespeare, Austen, Hardy, or Atwood. Literature in English is the supreme cultural achievement of the English-speaking peoples. We study it to enrich our lives.