Frequently Asked Questions
Our MA is officially equivalent to other standard English MAs at Canadian and American universities. Nevertheless, it stands out for a number of key reasons. Our students often appreciate the small size of our annual intake, which creates stronger connections within our community of students and faculty, while helping ensure all students receive the support, guidance, and opportunities they need to ensure the program fulfills their aspirations as much as possible.
The university’s location at the heart of Toronto, meanwhile, offers its own opportunities. The program makes the most of these, but the students themselves enjoy exploring and engaging with the city beyond the program’s offerings. The location helps maximize the progressive, interdisciplinary nature of our courses. And the wealth of experiential opportunities allows us to offer the unique choice of partaking in a major research project, a practicum, or a combination of the two.
Most of our students have a BA in English, but we have also had a number of students with BAs from other programs. Our goal is to accept the most promising students with the strongest grades in courses relevant to the research, theorization, and analysis of literature. The statement of interest that you submit as part of your application is important for helping the selection committee establish if the program is a fit for you. If you are not sure whether you have the right sort of background, just contact our Graduate Program Director.
We start considering applications in the middle of January every year, and then continue to accept and consider applications until we have reached our enrolment target.
Our faculty members study English literature and culture across a range of histories, genres, and media. We have particular strengths in the study of modernity as a contested site around issues of subjectivity, identity, and politics. Some of our interests include: critical theory, urban studies, visual culture, creative writing, rhetoric, poetics, digital humanities, popular culture, children’s literature, gender/sexuality studies, postcolonial studies, and genre studies. You can find out more about our faculty members and their research interests.
All our classes are run as seminars, and a typical seminar has between eight and thirteen students, ensuring you get to know the professor and your colleagues well. Class discussions are rigorous and collegial, with participation expected of all students. The program has three terms—fall, winter, and spring/summer—over which you take a total of six seminar courses.
In the fall term, you and the other new students will complete two elective courses, as well as the required “Foundations” course. In “Foundations,” you will learn the basics of effective graduate writing and be introduced to many of your professors and their scholarly interests.
In the winter term, you will complete two more elective courses, as well as a third “professional skills” course (chosen from 2 offerings). Every year we offer a selection of choices from these courses.
In the spring/summer term, students work on their major research papers and/or practica. The latter includes mandatory seminars with visiting speakers from various literary organizations.
You will have the opportunity to enjoy a rich diversity of activities beyond your coursework, and not only because Ryerson is located at the urban heart of Toronto.
Our Distinguished Speakers series has internationally renowned scholars, creative writers, and artists come to Ryerson to give a lecture lecture and discussion. We also host other speakers throughout the year. Past speakers include scholars, authors, and artists such as Anselm Berrigan, Emma Donoghue, Kent Monkman, Marjorie Perloff, Seth, Fred Wah, and Gillian Whitlock. Faculty themselves give talks during our “Lunch Table Talks” series, should you wish to find out more about your professors’ own scholarly interests.
You can also volunteer to work on our creative-writing journal, the White Wall Review. Not only does this give you added technical training and experience in publishing, but you will also have the chance to read some amazing work and meet a few authors. All the students in the program are invited to take part in our reading series and the journal’s fall launch, always a raucous affair.
Both our Centre for Digital Humanities and Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre offer additional events, workshops, and training opportunities. The department has also sent students to major scholarly events outside of the university, including weeklong workshops at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria, BC, and Dickens Universe in Santa Cruz, California.
For more on some of our events, have a look at the News section of the department website.