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Major Concentrations in English

Major students are required to take a 36-credit program, the specific content of which differs in the three options available. Each student must choose one of these options. Faculty policy states that, after taking the 36-credit major and an 18-credit minor in another department, students may take an additional 18-credit minor in English. Such an additional minor is normally in one of the Department's Options other than that of the student's Major program; however, a student is permitted by Faculty to add an additional minor in the same Option as that of the Major program. Such an additional minor can only be constructed in close and ongoing consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Option I - Literature (36 credits)

The Literature option provides a grounding in the basic texts and methods of the discipline as well as wide acquaintance with substantial areas of the field.

The Literature Major program changed as of 2006/2007. If you were already in a Literature Major in 2005/2006, you will complete your original program. You should fulfill program requirements under the heading that applies to you:

If you started a Literature Major program in Fall 2006 or after (new program):

Required courses (9 credits):

  • ENGL 202*(Fall) Departmental Survey I (3 cr.) Prerequisite: None
  • ENGL 203*(Winter) Departmental Survey II (3 cr.) Prerequisite: ENGL 202 or permission of the instructor
  • ENGL 311*(Fall) Poetics (3 cr.) Pre- or co-requisite: ENGL 202

*must have been taken by the end of the first two semesters in the program.

Complementary courses (27 credits):

  1. Three credits from a list of courses in Canadian literature
  2. Three credits in Theory or Criticism: ENGL 317 or ENGL 318 or ENGL 319 or ENGL 322 or ENGL 346 or ENGL 352
  3. Three credits each from lists of courses in two of the following areas: Backgrounds of English Literature, Old English, Medieval, Renaissance
  4. Three credits each from lists of courses in two of the following areas: Restoration, 18th Century, Romantic, Victorian, 19th-Century American
  5. Three credits from lists of courses in one of the following areas: Early 20th Century, Modernist, Post-modern, Contemporary
  6. Six additional credits from the Literature Option's offerings
Note: At least 3 of the 27 Complementary Credits must be from a list of courses on a Major Author.

Option II - Drama and Theatre (36 credits)

The Drama and Theatre option tries to place its subject in as broad a social and philosophical context as possible.

The Drama and Theatre program is not designed to provide professional theatre training. The aim is rather to encourage students to explore the subject as a liberal arts discipline.

Required courses (9 credits):

  • ENGL 230 (Fall) Introduction to Theatre Studies (3 cr.) Prerequisite: None
  • ENGL 355 (Fall) The Poetics of Performance (3 cr.) Pre- or co-requisite: ENGL 230

Complementary courses (27 credits):

  1. Three credits from the following practice-based courses:  ENGL 269, 365, 368, 372, 377
  2. Three credits from a list of performance-oriented courses. 
  3. Three credits from a list of courses with a Canadian component.
  4. Three credits in Theory or Criticism: ENGL 317, or 318, or 319, or 322, or 346, or 352
  5. Three credits from a list of courses in theatre history.
  6. Three credits from a list of courses in Drama and Theatre before 1900.
  7. Twelve additional credits from the Drama and Theatre option’s offerings.

Permission to count extra-departmental credits must be obtained in advance of taking any course from outside the Department of English. Students are normally permitted to count 6 credits from other departments towards their Drama & Theatre Major. Permission is obtained with the signature of a Department of English program advisor on the student's program audit sheet. In consultation with a program advisor, a student with strong academic grounds might receive permission for a maximum of 9 extra-departmental credits.

English Department Drama Productions

Major Productions

The Department stages one Fall production and one Winter production. Students may have the guidance of semi- or professional directors, designers, and technical support according to the demands of the play, timelines, production and workload and areas of expertise of current Drama faculty and staff. Students enrolled in Scenery or Costuming courses have the opportunity to acquire intensive experience in practical pre-production work and crew work during performances for course credit. Performers are cast from Drama and Theatre majors interested in acting and others who are eligible to audition including McGill students from other Faculties, alumnae and McGill faculty and staff members. Usually the actors selected for the major productions have had a substantial range of performance activity at McGill or elsewhere; however, all students enrolled in Drama and Theatre courses are encouraged to audition. Acting in a major production is a non-credit activity.

Tuesday Night Cafe Theatre

The English Department Drama and Theatre Program sponsors a student-run theatre called Tuesday Night Café. Small scale performances, including drama, comedy, dance, and music, are held throughout the year in the Morrice Hall Theatre.

Tuesday Night Café is a learning experience for everyone. It is designed to provide an avenue of expression for students and faculty alike and offers an opportunity to gain production experience, to explore new dimensions in playwriting, acting, and directing without the pressures and complexities associated with the scale of a major production in Moyse Hall.

For further information about Tuesday Night Café, its operation and student participation, you are invited to make contact with the T.N.C. executive at tnc [dot] foh [at] gmail [dot] com.

Option III - Cultural Studies (36 credits)

The Cultural Studies option concentrates on analysis of forms of cultural expression and symbolic interaction, and of the various media through which these may be disseminated and transformed. Such study concerns symbolic form, aesthetically-based forms of analysis, and the various modes of criticism and theory relevant to media which contain both verbal and non-verbal elements. The aim is above all to hone students' analytical and interpretive skills while introducing them to specific critical approaches to cultural studies. This is not a major in journalism or communications; and while many of our graduates go on to do creative work in a variety of media, instruction in film and video production is not part of the curriculum.

The Cultural Studies Major program is changing in 2011-2012. If you are new to this program in 2011-2012, or if you have yet to take ENGL 276 Methods of Cultural Analysis, you are no longer required to take ENGL 276, but will instead be required to take 3 credits from a list of theory-related courses at the 400-level.

Required courses (9 credits):

  • ENGL 275* (Fall) Introduction to Cultural Studies (3 cr.)
  • ENGL 277* (Fall) Introduction to Film Studies (3 cr.)
  • ENGL 359* (Winter) The Poetics of the Image (3 c.)

*must have been taken by the end of the first two semesters of the program.

Complementary courses (27 credits):

  1. Three credits from a list of courses on Major Figures in Cultural Studies
  2. Three credits from a list of courses in Cultural Studies with a Canadian component
  3. Three credits in Theory or Criticism: ENGL 317 or ENGL 318 or ENGL 319or ENGL 322 or ENGL 346 or ENGL 352
  4. Three credits from a list of theory-related courses at the 400-level
  5. Six credits from a list of courses in Cultural Studies with a historical dimension
  6. Nine additional credits from the option's offerings

Permission to count extra-departmental credits must be obtained in advance of taking any course from outside the Department of English. Students are normally permitted to count 6 credits from other departments towards their Cultural Studies Major. Permission is obtained with the signature of a Department of English program advisor on the student's program audit sheet. In consultation with a program advisor, a student with strong academic grounds might receive permission for a maximum of 9 extra-departmental credits.