English (MA Program)

Karin Beeler, Professor and Chair
Stan Beeler, Professor
Robert Budde, Professor
Dee Horne, Professor
Kevin Hutchings, Professor
Lisa Dickson, Associate Professor
Kristen Guest, Associate Professor
Maryna Romanets, Associate Professor
Blanca Schorcht, Associate Professor
Monica Mattfield, Assistant Professor

Website: http://www.unbc.ca/english

Literary representations both reflect and help to create our views of the world, including our social theories and practices;  thus, the study of literature can provide students with insights concerning past and present concepts of personal and social identity, cultural traditions and beliefs, and interpersonal and cross-cultural relationships.  Since the time of Aristotle, moreover, literary commentators have analyzed “setting” as an important formal aspect of literary writing; literary study can therefore help us to investigate, and perhaps to reconsider, our relationships with both our human and non-human environments.  In today’s world, where efforts to resolve intercultural conflicts and environmental problems have taken on a profound sense of urgency, literary study provides a crucial forum for intellectual and ethical debate leading to the revision of cultural practice.

The study of English literature provides students with critical skills of analysis and synthesis, helping them to identify and understand complex problems, and encouraging them to conceptualize viable resolutions and alternative understandings.  Perhaps more than any other academic discipline, English literature also emphasizes the importance of literacy, including the development of effective writing and oral presentation skills, thereby providing students with the communications skills so highly valued in the professional world.

The Master of Arts degree in English is a two-year program, available on a full-time or part-time basis, involving course work and the mandatory completion of a graduate thesis.  Upon admission into the English MA program, each student will be assigned a supervisor, who will work closely with the student to monitor his or her program of study and progress.  In consultation with supervisors and supervisory committee members, each student will choose courses designed to complement and inform the proposed thesis research, completing most of the course work during the first year of the program.  The second year will be devoted primarily to the production of the thesis.


Applicants to the UNBC English MA program must follow the admission requirements outlined in Section 1.0 of the Graduate Academic Calendar Entrance to the MA is competitive; only applicants with a record of excellence will be admitted. Therefore, applicants must provide the following information with their applications: 
  • a senior-level undergraduate research paper as a writing sample;
  • undergraduate transcripts;
  • strong letters of academic recommendations;
  • strong letter of intent;
  • evidence of interest in the MA's areas of research specialization (Literature, Culture, Place);
  • the name of the faculty member who is willing to supervise their thesis work (if possible).
Application deadlines are found in this calendar under "Semester Dates" or online at: www.unbc.ca/calendar/graduate, also under "Semester Dates." The English MA Program accepts students for the September Semester.

For additional information about graduate admissions or to download application materials, go to the Graduate Programs website at www.unbc.ca/graduateprograms.


The course of study is composed of a minimum total of 30 credit hours of work.  First, students are required to complete five courses totaling 15 credit hours, including ENGL 690-3, Bibliography, the mandatory course in research methodologies; ENGL 700-3, the mandatory course in Literature, Culture and Place; and three elective courses. In the required courses, students have the opportunity to engage in close intellectual dialogue and debate with fellow graduate students and professors, thereby cultivating the productive collegial relationships crucial to the development of a dynamic graduate student culture.  With the exception of ENGL 699-3 (Advanced Independent Study in Literature, which faculty members supervise on an individual basis), all courses are offered as seminar courses.  The three elective courses conform to pedagogical models followed by all 600-level courses listed in the UNBC Graduate Calendar.  Second, students are required to produce both a detailed thesis proposal and bibliography at the beginning of their second year of study, and to defend, in a formal oral examination, a 15 credit-hour thesis of approximately 100 pages in length.

Creative Writing Thesis Option
Although UNBC does not offer degrees in Creative Writing, the English Program offers MA candidates the opportunity to complete a 15 credit-hour creative thesis in lieu of an academic thesis.  Successful applicants who wish to pursue this option are admitted on the same basis and must fulfill the same course and thesis requirements as other English MA candidates.  Permission to undertake a creative thesis is at the discretion of the department. An applicant interested in the creative thesis option must include, in addition to their application for admission to the MA, a proposal for a creative thesis and an 8-10-page sample of previous creative work consisting of one or more of the following: original poetry or prose such as a short story or novel excerpt; a dramatic script or screenplay; or a combination of these genres.  Both published and unpublished work are considered for the purpose of the application. The proposal should outline the form, scope, and subject matter of the Creative Writing thesis.  In addition, students must demonstrate some critical and theoretical awareness of the approach they plan to take for the creative thesis;  and, for applicants admitted to the program, the finished thesis must include an introduction of no fewer than 15 pages delineating this critical and theoretical awareness.  Because of the high standards expected for the creative project and the Department’s limited faculty resources in the area of creative writing, a limited number of students will be permitted to undertake this alternative.  Therefore, admission to the MA program in English does not guarantee permission to write a creative thesis.

Required Courses
Studies in Literature, Culture and Place
Required Thesis
English MA Thesis

Elective Courses
The supervisory committee ensures the appropriate selection of elective courses.  All English graduate courses approved by Senate should be considered as potential electives.