Welcome to uWaterloo English
Graduate study in English at Waterloo is unique.
We are the only department in North America in which the study of literature is combined with the great, ancient tradition of rhetoric and the blossoming of new, radical perspectives that have accompanied the current digital revolution.
Our faculty cover all periods of British, American and Canadian, and Postcolonial literatures, combining close historical study with the most advanced theoretical tools. The department is also home to a wide range of teaching and research in literature, rhetoric, writing, professional communication, and the creative and experimental use of digital media.
At Waterloo, these fields are not separate. They are integrated in the research of our faculty and graduates.
Our graduates have gone to to hold positions both in and outside of academia.
Get to Know Us
Our department will offer you a rich experience:
- Internationally known faculty who are dedicated to teaching and to supporting your research
- Programs that allow you to develop in-depth expertise in your selected field while providing you with a broader intellectual context
- Courses that are diverse, engaging, and grounded in the latest research
- A co-op option that allows MA students to combine study with work experience
- Opportunities to share your research, receive awards, and advance your career
- A graduate student community that's vibrant and active, represented by the Student Association for Graduates in English (SAGE)
- Research institutes and ongoing research projects that give you access to resources and connections on subjects ranging from Victorian periodicals to game studies
Want to Know More?
Our graduate administrator, Tina Davidson, and our graduate chair, Marcel O'Gorman, will be happy to answer your questions by email or phone. You can also visit the graduate studies office in Hagey Hall room 250.
See also the following links:
- To find faculty who might supervise you within your area of research interest, see our Areas of expertise page.
- To see some of the dissertations our PhD graduates have written and to find out what they've done with their degrees, see the Our PhD Graduates page.
- To apply for admission to a graduate degree in English, visit the University of Waterloo's Graduate Application page.
Important information for International Applicants
While the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo deeply values the contributions of international students in our graduate programs, we can only accept a small percentage of these students. This constraint is entirely based on University and government budget models, making it financially unfeasible to accommodate a larger cohort of international students. We would like to ensure that you are aware of this constraint before you proceed with your application.
Here is what some of our graduate students have to say about their English degrees:
Just reading English lit taught me about history, religion, culture, and so much more. In my classes I learned to absorb and analyze material, evaluate information from a wide variety of viewpoints, make sense of ideas in different contexts, and communicate in a clear, coherent manner. By the time I graduated, I already had two years of work experience through Co-op.... My degree had set me up with the right combination of research, critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills. Co-op had taught me to be flexible and comfortable with ambiguity and change.
I chose Waterloo for its incredible faculty and funding for graduate students. The range of courses from Literature and Medicine, to Cognitive Science, to various courses in rhetoric and Victorian novels of the revolution, to the Discourse of the Road, and many others convinced me that this is the ideal place for me to develop my interests in aesthetics and democracy. I was interested in political aesthetics, specifically the relation between democracy and emotions as represented in literary/artistic works. UWaterloo has an outstanding international reputation for rhetorical studies where I could find professors with relevant expertise to supervise my dissertation.
UW English has some great connections with local tech companies and places like Communitech, so I always felt I had a decent sense of that world if academia didn’t work out. More than that though, my supervisor, Marcel O’Gorman, was a huge help. Marcel dragged me along to my first conferences, gave me interesting RA work, and throughout my Ph.D. guided me on how to better position myself as a job candidate. I really lucked out in that regard. Generally speaking, UW English is also great because it offers teaching opportunities throughout, and that doesn’t happen everywhere. I have friends at other schools who never taught independently until after their Ph.D. Having that teaching experience really helped.
The MA by co-op was a perfect balance for me, and a major deciding factor when I chose the program. The combination of work terms and study terms allowed to me to continue to experiment with ideas and theories I enjoyed as an undergrad while building more practical skills, making new contacts, and exploring different career options. I don’t have aspirations to complete a PhD, so getting work experience and developing relevant skills were my top criteria for a post-graduate program. Also, the work terms are paid, which helps offset the financial concerns of being a student.
I found everyone in the department/school/
region to be super friendly and willing to have a good chat whenever. I use the knowledge I acquired while TA-ing 210F [Introduction to Business Communication] everyday! I’m now working as a proposal writer for a global IT company, so all day everyday is business writing to people all over the world. When I’m not trying to persuade a client, I’m usually trying to persuade my teammates what we should/should not include in our proposals and WHY. I don’t know if I would even have applied to the job if I hadn’t TA-ed 210F because I didn’t meet any of their posted qualifications.
At UWaterloo I have opportunities to interact with an impressive and versatile faculty, facilitating writing on gender and sexuality, Feminist theory, Caribbean literature, African literature, Diaspora and Postcolonial studies.... Ultimately, the University of Waterloo is a microcosmic reflection of multiculturalist Canada with its welcoming of new students from more than 90 countries. I feel at ease doing research at a university where intercultural diversity is seen as a measure of everyday life.
Looking into the MA English program, I liked the mixture of options. I could choose to obtain an MA that was course based, or required a major research project or thesis. Although I was predominantly interested in literature, the RCD and XDM courses were also intriguing. I was so compelled by Prof. Aimée Morrison‘s new media course that I ended up taking two of her courses in two separate terms. I was also drawn to the TA opportunities that would not only help finance my degree but also serve as great teaching experience.Teaching business communications helped me secure my position as a teaching fellow here at City University of Hong Kong where I teach English for Business and Freshman English. Many of my teaching experiences in UWaterloo, whether related to content or methodology, transferred well to my role here.
This is without a doubt the most fun I’ve ever had in school. Nowhere else do I get to think as many justifiably crazy thoughts as I want and be rewarded for it. Much of my Graduate career thus far has been the pursuit of those crazy thoughts because – and it’s only now that I realize this – that’s what school is for: challenging yourself to think better, think wider, think longer, think farther.... I am here to learn and, more than that, to learn how to learn.