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.

At the end of first year, choose Literature; Literature and Rhetoric; or Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication as your major within the English program.

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!


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, he was able to start his own business while still in university.

icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

briefcaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor


English degree admission requirements

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)

We recommend complete the Admission Information Form once you've applied.

Not studying in Ontario? Search our admission requirements.


How to apply

Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose English as your major at the end of first year.

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First-year English courses

September to December

  • Choose one of:
    • ENGL 101A - Introduction to Literary Studies
    • ENGL 101B - Introduction to Rhetorical Studies 
    • 100-level English course (except ENGL 119 and ENGL 129R)
  • Arts First requirement 1*
  • Three additional courses

January to April

  • Choose one course from:
    • ENGL 101A - Introduction to Literary Studies
    • ENGL 101B - Introduction to Rhetorical Studies
    • 100-level English course (except ENGL 119 and ENGL 129R)
  • Arts First requirement 2*
  • Three additional courses

*The Arts First requirement consists of two first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.

After first year

40% of the classes you’ll take will be English courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo – and even spend a semester abroad earning credits toward your degree.

Sample upper-year courses

ENGL 290 – Global Shakespeare
ENGL 294 – Game Studies
ENGL 335 – Creative Writing I
ENGL 392B – Visual Rhetoric


icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

Graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Arts in English


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

Sample co-op employers

  • Amnesty International Canada
  • Agfa Healthcare
  • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
  • RBC Financial Group
  • Avidbots Corp
  • BlackBerry

Customize your Bachelor of Arts in English 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, Speech Communication, and Classical Studies.

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 schools, financial institutions, health care centres, and more.

Recent graduates

  • 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

Learn about the future of careers in arts, humanities, social sciences, languages, and creative arts.

Ready to learn more?