There’s more to communicating than a well-chosen emoji
Love the written word? An English degree at Waterloo gives you all kinds of opportunity to explore that passion, with more than 150 undergraduate courses available in both the regular and co-op streams.
Take rhetoric courses and learn the art of persuasion. Focus on digital media, where you’ll merge the latest technology with enduring principles of effective communication. Or explore the pleasures and insights of English literature, from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf.
At Waterloo, you’ll be learning from the best. The Department of English features internationally recognized scholars. In their classes, you’ll develop all-important skills in communication, critical thinking, analysis, and persuasion. Your knowledge of language and culture will serve you well whether you’re planning to be a technical communicator, or creative writer, PR professional, lawyer, or CEO.
Choose one of four majors
At the end of first year, you'll choose one of four majors within the English program.
- Creative and Professional Writing: Hone your creative writing skills while learning from published authors of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. You'll gain skills in editing, communication design, and professional writing. Unique in Canada, this major will teach you to write just about anything – from marketing materials to the next great Canadian novel!
- Literature: Great literature entertains, enlightens, transforms us, and shows us everything language is capable of. In this major, you'll take a deeper look at language and culture through a full spectrum of literary works.
- Literature and Rhetoric: Pair your appreciation of great books with the theory of persuasive writing. You’ll examine history, professional writing, information design, and digital media to become an effective communicator and storyteller.
- Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication: Gain a critical eye in how language is used to persuade and sell while developing skills that enable you to write and design for professional communication channels, web, and social media. You'll learn about writing, reporting, interviewing, blogging, and public speaking.
- Make lasting connections. We cap many of our classes at 40 students, creating an environment where you can connect with your classmates and professors.
- Build an awesome résumé. If you choose co-op, you’ll put your education into action during your work terms, explore careers, and earn money at the same time!
- Available as a regular or co-op program
- Available as a major and minor
- Graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in your chosen major
- Offered by the Faculty of Arts
What will you learn?
During your first year, you'll take two English courses. Plus, you'll have electives to explore an additional major of your choosing.
In upper years, 40% of the classes you'll take will be English courses.
Learn about courses you'll take for your English degree.
Customize your degree
You can add additional areas of expertise by including one or more of the areas of focus in English.
- Creative Writing
- Digital Media Studies
- Global Literatures
- Technical Writing
You can also include one of the minors available to all Waterloo students. Popular choices for English students include Political Science, Communication Studies, and Classical Studies.
Get tips from Waterloo students
Join our newsletter for tips such as choosing a program, life at Waterloo, and finances.
Contact a student ambassador
Ask a Faculty of Arts student about their program, classes, getting involved on campus, and more!
Co-op = relevant paid work experience
By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve.
Sample co-op job titles
- Web and corporate communications officer
- Cross-cultural trainer
- Media relations specialist
- Technical writer
- Communications assistant
- Junior editor and marketing associate
What can you do with a degree in English?
Waterloo English graduates often pursue careers in writing, publishing, communications, and education. They often work in the media, schools, financial institutions, health care centres, and a wide variety of businesses.
- Marketing and Communications Specialist – Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada
- Communications Coordinator – Glenn Davis Group
- Teacher – Waterloo Region District School Board
- Content and Project Specialist – Impact-Coaches
- Technical Writing Specialist – Manulife Financial
- Digital Publishing Assistant – The Geist Foundation
- Communications Specialist – Union Strategies
Ontario students: six Grade 12 U and/or M courses including
- Any Grade 12 U English (minimum final grade of at least 70%)
Admission average: Low 80s (co-op and regular)
Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements for Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business.
Connect with us
Questions about courses, programs, requirements, or careers?
Our Faculty of Arts recruitment team can answer any questions you have.