There’s more to communicating than a well-chosen emoji

A Bachelor of Arts in English degree student sits, laughing

When Matt was in high school he had no idea he would be an entrepreneur. However, through Research Entrepreneurs Accelerating Prosperity, the English major was able to start his own business while still in university.

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!

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.


Program highlights

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!


What will you learn? 

First-year courses

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.

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.


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Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose one of the four majors in English at the end of first year.

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.


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