The Project-based M.A. degree requires students to take five courses plus ENG 801.3: An Introduction to Textual Scholarship. Students are also required to complete a 25-30 page research paper, which represents a potentially publishable article contributing in an original way to a scholarly conversation. In addition to adding to the student’s curriculum vitae as a tangible outcome of the Master’s degree, the project paper can clarify areas of further research at the doctoral level. It may also pave the way for related work in the public or non-profit sector, as well as for the application of research and communication skills in a variety of career fields.

Our M.A. degree programs do not include a requirement to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English. Study of an additional language is, however, highly recommended, particularly for those who plan to pursue a doctoral degree.

Program Requirements




Other requirements

M.A. with Project (research paper)

18 credit units (six 3cu courses)

including ENG 801.3: An Introduction to Textual Scholarship

Project paper (25-30 pages)

Registration in ENG 992.0 each term

Registration in ENG 990.0

Completion of GPS 960.0

Typical Schedule Towards Completion of the M.A. Project Degree

Year One

  • Complete a total of 18 credit units (15cu of electives at the 800-level and ENG 801.3).
  • Satisfy requirements of ENG 990.0: Professional Development Seminar.
  • Complete the online GPS 960.0 Ethics and Integrity course.
  • Establish basis of project paper and submit Statement of Intent form to the Chair of the Graduate Committee by April 30.
  • Submit completed Student-Supervisor Agreement to the Chair of the Graduate Committee by 1 May.
  • Carry out project research and writing over Spring/Summer term. 
  • Submit the formatted paper (as approved by the Supervisor) to the Grad Chair for distribution to the second reader by:
    • August 15 - if the student wishes to meet the deadline for Fall Convocation;
    • November 30 - if requirements for Spring Convocation are to be met without paying Term 2 tuition;
    • April 5 - if the student wishes to meet the deadline for Spring Convocation.
  • Apply to graduate by August 31 for Fall Convocation (or by March 31st for Spring Convocation).

Prepare Project Paper according to CGPS formatting guidelines and submit through site for Electronic Theses and Dissertations along with a completed GPS 404: Final Thesis Confirmation Form. Please consult the CGPS page on thesis and dissertation submission.

Time in Program

All requirements for the project-based M.A. must be completed within four years of the date of registration in the first course. However, we expect students to complete their M.A. Project program in one year.

All graduate students are expected to keep abreast of CGPS deadlines pertaining to time in program.

Residency Requirement

The University of Saskatchewan encourages students to spend time on campus interacting with faculty, researchers, and other students, and participating in the academic life of the university. The College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has no minimum residency requirements. Individual graduate programs, however, are required to establish their own residency guidelines. The minimum residency for M.A. students in the Department of English is one year.


All incoming students are expected to have their course selections approved by the Graduate Chair before registering online in the July-August period. 

Students in the M.A. Project program must take the equivalent of six courses, each worth three credit units, for a total of 18 credit units (18cu). At least 12cu must be taken at this university. Five of these 3cu courses will be taken in the September-April period of their first year; the sixth course is ENG 801.3: An Introduction to Textual Scholarship, which is typically held in the Spring term. The Spring/Summer term is also reserved for the completion of the project paper.

Each 3cu course is offered over one 13-week term. During the regular session (Fall and Winter terms), these graduate seminars are held once a week for approximately three hours. During the intersession (Spring term), seminars meet several times each week.

As well as formal coursework, students will also enrol in ENG 990.0, a series of Professional Skills sessions.

Note: M.A. Project students must register each term for ENG 992.0 to indicate their enrolment in the Master’s Project-based program.

All students must maintain an average above 70% in their coursework. A failing grade for an M.A. student is a mark below 60%. Students must take another course to replace a failed course, but the marks in the failed course still count toward the student's average. Students who fail two courses will be required to withdraw from the program.

The Department of English offers the following graduate classes, which are shell courses adapted by instructors in any given year to reflect specific research and teaching interests:

  • ENG 801.3 - An Introduction to Textual Scholarship
    • (Note: this course represents 3cu of the 18cu required for M.A. Project degree course work)
  • ENG 803.3 - Topics in Literary and Cultural History
  • ENG 805.3 - Topics in Individual Authors
  • ENG 811.3 - Topics in National and Regional Literatures
  • ENG 817.3 - Topics in Literary and Cultural Theory
  • ENG 819.3 - Topics in Methods and Texts
  • ENG 843.3 - Topics in Genres and Contexts
  • ENG 898.3 - Special Topics
  • ENG 899.6 - Special Topics

Each year, faculty propose particular versions of these courses. Thus, ENG 805.3: Topics in Individual Authors might one year be a course on Shakespeare, and the next a course on Emily Dickinson.

Graduate students in English may apply to the Graduate Committee to take a maximum of six credit units (6cu) per degree program outside the Department. Such an application must include a letter indicating the particular value and relevance of the course to the student's program, as well as a description (from the instructor of the course or the department in which it is taught) of readings and assignments to be undertaken to fulfil graduate-level requirements.

The experience of intellectual exchange provided by seminars is vital to graduate study. In graduate degrees in English, coursework is intended to give students an opportunity to study a range of literature and a variety of approaches, and should not focus exclusively on one area of specialization. However, in exceptional cases, where a student's completion of the program would be jeopardized without studies in a particular area—studies that cannot be pursued through the courses offered in the English Department or elsewhere—a student may propose a reading course, arranged between the student and a faculty member, in consultation with the Chair of the Graduate Committee. The Graduate Committee will evaluate the need for the proposed course and will decide whether to recommend its approval to the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Reading courses are approved only under these exceptional circumstances. Students may take a maximum of 6cu of reading courses.

English 990: Professional Development Seminar

All graduate students are required to attend a series of workshops regarding graduate studies and professionalization in their first year of graduate work. Several workshops will be offered each term on topics such as: preparing SSHRC applications; writing the thesis/dissertation proposal; choosing a focus for the project-based M.A.; preparing for the Field exams; writing and defending the thesis/dissertation; presenting conference papers and submitting scholarly articles; reflecting on the professional skills developed through graduate degrees; exploring career options; engaging in the academic job search.

All graduate students are also required to attend the Ph.D. “Works in Progress” presentations as well as talks and events identified by the Graduate Chair.

The M.A. Project Paper

  1. Scope and Specifications

The Master’s Project paper represents a focused analysis informed by literary and/or textual studies practices. It is an essay supported by a clear methodological and critical framework that make a contribution to a scholarly field.

Students in the project-based M.A. program will normally choose a paper from one of their graduate courses to be rewritten and expanded to meet the standard of a 25- to 30- page research paper prepared for submission to a reputable refereed journal in the discipline of English (such as English Studies in Canada) or a related discipline. A project paper may also be developed out of a research project related to work as a Research Assistant for a faculty member or out of a student’s own research, such as that funded by SSHRC.

The finished paper must conform to the requirements of the current editions of either the MLA Handbook or the Chicago Manual of Style. Please also consult the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and especially their formatting guidelines for theses and dissertations.

To view completed Project Papers submitted by M.A. students of English at the University of Saskatchewan, students are encouraged to search HARVEST, the university’s Repository for Research, Scholarship, and Artistic Work.

  1. The Project Supervisor

By 30 April of their first year (1 September for students who began their studies in January), students will decide on a topic and Supervisor. Often the Supervisor of an M.A. Project paper is the instructor of the course in which the essay that is the basis of the project paper was written. If students have not established their Supervisor by the beginning of April, they should consult with the Chair of the Graduate Committee.

  1. Statement of Intent

M.A. Project program students are to submit a signed Statement of Intent form to the Graduate Chair by 30 April of their first year of the degree. It should identify the Supervisor and the Working Title of the project paper, as well as keywords that indicate the focus of the research.

  1. Guidelines for Writer and Supervisor of the M.A. Project Paper

The principal role of the Supervisor is to help students achieve their scholarly potential. In doing so, the Supervisor is a committed, accessible, stimulating, respectful guide but also a consistent and rigorous judge. After all, the student's work must meet the standards of the university and the discipline. It is unusual, though not impossible, for a student to change Supervisors part way through a project. Should a situation arise which may require a change in supervision, either the student or the Supervisor, or both, should consult the Chair of the Graduate Committee.

What can a student expect of a project Supervisor?

  • to advise the student about relevant scholarly materials;
  • to help them set and maintain a schedule of work;
  • to be available for consultation with the student; and
  • to respond expeditiously, thoroughly, and constructively to the student's drafts.

What can a Supervisor expect of a student?

  • to show commitment in learning what is needed to design and carry out the project;
  • to develop a plan for completion of all stages of the project, and to adhere to that plan;
  • to consider seriously and respond to advice and criticism;
  • to meet the requirements of the University, the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and the Department of English;
  • to recognize that the Supervisor has other teaching, research, and administrative obligations which may take precedence over consultation on the project; and
  • to be scrupulous in acknowledging sources of assistance or information.
  1. M.A. Project Paper—Process of Assessment and Submission

The project paper will be read by two readers, normally the project Supervisor and a reader from within the Department of English who is a specialist in the field.

The project will be marked Pass or Fail and each examiner will submit a signed report to the Graduate Chair in the form of an e-mail memo. These reports will be forwarded to the student and the Supervisor. If any revisions are required, the readers must specify their requirements in their written reports. The project Supervisor is responsible for seeing that the candidate carries out the changes, but the reader or readers have the right to ask for final approval of revisions. Any required recommended revisions are to be completed and confirmed by the Supervisor before the project paper is considered complete.

The finished document must conform to the requirements of the current editions of either the MLA Handbook or the Chicago Manual of Style. It will also meet the specifications of the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies formatting guidelines for theses and dissertations, including an abstract and a “Permission to Use” statement.

Students will submit a copy of the finalized project paper to the Chair of the Graduate Committee as well as to the submission site for Electronic Theses and Dissertations along with a completed GPS 404: Final Thesis Confirmation Form. Please consult the CGPS page on thesis and dissertation submission for more information.