The English Department at the University of Saskatchewan offers a comprehensive education in the study of literature written in English -- that is, of the ways in which we express or create worlds through language. Distinctive strengths of our Department are in digital humanities, Indigenous literatures, modernist literatures, Canadian literature, and disability studies. The Department also contributes to such interdisciplinary programs as Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Linguistics. The high quality of our teaching is reflected by numerous teaching awards earned by our instructors, as well as the only University of Saskatchewan Students' Union Teaching Excellence Award presented to an entire department.
Programs of Study
We offer three-year, four-year, and Honours degrees in English literature, as well as a minor in English and a minor in Canadian Literature. An English major at any level will introduce students to the major genres, time periods, and geographical areas of literature in English, with more comprehensive study in the four-year and Honours programs. All major and minor programs will help students to improve reading, analytical, research, and communication skills; the more concentrated the study, the more they will refine those skills.
The three-year degree in English provides an introduction to the fundamentals of English literature and communications. It is a flexible, general degree that may be a stepping stone to other degree programs, including further studies in education, law, and journalism.
The four-year degree in English includes additional study of foundational areas of literary culture such as the literary canon, literary-critical approaches, the history of the book, and the history of the English language. This degree is for students who have a lively interest in English literature but want to pursue a wider variety of electives and don’t require the intensive training in research and experience of seminars that are part of the Honours program. Students with the four-year degree often work in or do further studies in professions such as journalism, editing, communications, literary education, report- or speech-writing, and digital media.
The Honours degree in English allows students to benefit from a more structured, comprehensive program in English literature and teaches them the skills to undertake independent, original research. The Honours seminars allow for intensive study and research into selected areas of literary culture, while the seminars and the capstone Honours Colloquium provide students with opportunities to practice presentation skills and work as part of a community of inquiry. The Honours degree may be of especial interest to students who have a keen interest in literary culture, who want to work in professions such as journalism, editing, communications, digital media, and publishing, or who want to go on to graduate work in English or in library studies, digital humanities, or publishing. Students may also choose to enroll in a Double Honours program, which allows them to combine advanced studies of English literature with studies in another discipline.
The minor in English is suitable for students majoring in another subject who have an interest in English literature and communications. The minor helps them to gain the research, writing, and critical thinking skills taught in English classes, and provides them with official credit for the additional concentration in these areas.
The minor in Canadian Literature in English introduces students to Canadian fiction, poetry, drama, life-writing, and oral narratives, and allows for more extensive investigation of particular areas of interest such as Indigenous literatures in Canada, Western Canadian literature, and Canadian speculative fiction. The minor is designed for non-majors who have a keen interest in the Canadian literary imagination, who intend to pursue a teaching career, or who want to complement other areas of Canadian studies.
English undergraduate programs address the goals of the College of Arts and Science in a number of ways:
- Engage students in inquiry-based learning, critical thinking and creative processes.
The study of English language and literature provides students with the skills needed to read and interpret complex texts, such as written documents, to explore contexts through research, and to communicate effectively in writing. Because effective writing requires careful reading, critical thinking, and an understanding of contexts, courses in the Department of English educate students in thinking through research and writing, aiming for the clear and persuasive articulation of perspectives and arguments. Students improve their creativity, interpersonal communication, and problem solving through assignments in reading, watching, listening, group discussion, and written and oral presentation of their own ideas.
- Develop a wide range of effective communication skills.
By the end of an English program, students will have developed a broad range of oral and written communication skills, following a sequence outlined in the Skills List below.
- Encourage personal development, growth and responsibility.
The English Department at the University of Saskatchewan is distinctive in being able to provide thoughtful, individualized attention to all our students at every level, both because of our relatively small class sizes and also because of the commitment of our faculty and staff to teaching, from the first year to the graduate level. A literature class provides students with knowledge and specific intellectual skills necessary for success in any college as well as for their futures as contributing members of society. English courses encourage students to think about how their personal identities are formed and influenced by a variety of socieconomic and cultural factors in the world around them.
- Prepare thoughtful, world-minded, educated, engaged citizens.
Literature is an important site for imagining other worlds and forms of human experience, whether we are studying contemporary texts that voice present issues or examining past texts that have been recognized as part of our cultural heritage or excluded from it. It allows us to appreciate complex social conditions and the world views they have precipitated in many periods, geographical locations, and political systems, and the ways in which cultural conventions and practices of representation change over time. Because English-language literature is now a global phenomenon, the study of such literature is inherently interdisciplinary, intercultural, and often multilingual. Our English programs offer a rich environment in which to explore language, literature, meaning, and the diversity and complexity of the world.
Our pioneering Honours Internships, and other courses, provide opportunities for experiential learning and actively engage with communities both within the university and beyond it.
- Cultivate an understanding of and appreciation for the unique socio-cultural position of Indigenous peoples in Canada
Our English program offers a range of courses specifically in Indigenous literatures and oratures, and Canadian Indigenous perspectives, texts, and performances are often included in other courses throughout the curriculum.
Students of English will practice the following skills at each course level. Each level beyond 100 assumes reasonable competence in the skills at the previous level or levels.
100-level: After completing successfully 6 cu of 100-level English, students should be able to
- read literary texts in different genres and from different centuries, identify the main ideas in those texts and recognize how their technical features function in meaning-making
- formulate a thesis about a literary work
- select information from a work that provides evidence in support of a thesis
- quote and paraphrase
- develop and structure a literary essay
- define what plagiarism is and understand how to avoid it
- differentiate primary and secondary sources and cite them in MLA style (see Requirements for Essays: artsandscience.usask.ca/english/documents/RequirementsForEssays.pdf)
- write essays that exhibit reasonable competence in the skills articulated in the “Standards for Composition” section of Requirements for Essays.
200-level: After completing successfully 6 cu of 200-level English, students should be able to
- read literature from specific historical, cultural, or generic contexts, or how to read texts about language, and how to identify major and minor ideas in the works
- find appropriate secondary sources designed for the general, educated reader in areas specific to the 200-level course
- create and use a works cited list or bibliography
- write a research essay in the discipline of English using at least two scholarly sources, and combining existing information with original thought and analysis
- use a scholarly database such as the MLA (Modern Language Association) Bibliography Or JSTOR
300-level: After completing successfully 6 cu of 300-level English students should be able to
- read and analyze a literary text for its nuances as well as its main and secondary ideas
- recognize the method or theoretical orientation of secondary sources relevant to the subject of the course
- research and write a scholarly essay that uses a variety of scholarly sources such as books, online projects, and refereed articles.
400-level: After completing successfully 6 cu of 400-level English, students should be able to
- deliver an oral presentation that reflects understanding of the differences between oral and written communication in such features of style as verbal repetition, sentence structure, and effective use of slides
- research, write, and present a seminar paper
- write a research paper that engages critically with a range of scholarly sources