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Graduate Information

MA Program

Applicants to the M.A. programs should hold an Honors B.A. in English or in English combined with another subject. They should have achieved at least an A minus average in the Honors English courses of their B.A. program.

Students with a general three-year B.A.are required to take enough courses at the undergraduate level in order to upgrade their degree to a four year Honors degree before applying to our M.A. programs. Students needing to do this should contact an Academic Counsellor in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (or the equivalent at their home university) to determine the procedure and requirements necessary.

A candidate for the M.A. in English may select any of three programs: four full courses (or an equivalent combination of full and half courses) and English 9002 (Bibliography and Textual Studies); three courses, an independent research project of approximately 50 pages, and English 9002; or two courses, a thesis of approximately 100 pages, and English 9002. In any case, the program should be completed in three terms (one calendar year) of full-time registration.


MA Regulations

In addition to the requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies (as given in the Calendar on the University's website at http://grad.uwo.ca/), the following rules govern students wishing to take an M.A. in English. These rules will be applied and interpreted by the Department of English through its Committee on Graduate Studies.

  1. Admission Requirements
    1. The standard for admission to the M.A. program is an Honors B.A. in English, with a minimum of twenty full-year undergraduate courses or their equivalent in semester courses, including at least six full-year Honors English courses or their equivalent in semester courses. Applicants with a Combined Honors or Double Major degree including English will also be considered, provided they have taken a range of courses comparable to those in a single Honors program.

      The applicant's six courses at the Honors level must be distributed in such a way as to cover at least five of the following six areas of English Language or Literature:

      1. Old English, Middle English, OR History of the Language
      2. Renaissance dramatic OR Renaissance non-dramatic
      3. 18th century OR 19th century
      4. American OR Canadian
      5. Twentieth-Century British OR Postcolonial
      6. Theory (e.g., historical, contemporary, feminist, genre, etc.).

    2. Admission is on a competitive basis. To be considered for admission, an applicant should have achieved a grade average of A- (80-84%) or higher in the Honors English courses. The minimum requirement for admission purposes is a grade average of 78% across all courses taken in the last two years of the BA, if the last two years of study were full-time. If they were not full-time or if the applicant has taken further coursework since completing the BA, the last 10 full- or 20 half-courses are counted in calculating the average. Attainment of this minimum requirement does not, in and of itself, constitute eligibility for admission. To be considered for admission, an applicant must have achieved at least a substantial B average in the Honors English courses, with some evidence of first-class work. An average of 78 in the Honors English courses is the minimum requirement, and it does not guarantee admission.
    3. English proficiency standards set by the Department of English must be met (see Supporting Documentation here.
    4. The deadline for applications is January 15. Applications can be considered after that date only if places are still open. Admission decisions are not subject to appeal. Students may enter the M.A. program only upon completion of all requirements for their previous degree.
    5. Applicants to the MA program must submit, as part of the online application, a statement of interest (300-500 words approx.). This statement is not binding on their subsequent research.

  2. Faculty Mentors

    On entering the graduate program, students will be assigned a Faculty Mentor by the Chair of Graduate Studies. The mentor/student relationship is largely informal and intended to provide students with a designated member of the Graduate Faculty whom they may approach with questions relating to their graduate education and welfare, especially in the first year. Students may consult with their Faculty Mentors as much or as little as need arises. The role of the Faculty Mentor does not replace that of either the Chair of Graduate Studies or the Committee on Graduate Studies. The Mentor will not necessarily serve as the student’s thesis or project supervisor.

  3. Types of M.A. Programs

    All M.A. students are required to take at least one half-course at the graduate level before 1900. With approval from the Chair of Graduate Studies, up to the equivalent of one full course that directly relates to a student's field of interest may be taken from another graduate program (examples of eligible programs include French, Classics, Modern Languages, Comparative Literature, Women's Studies, Theory and Criticism, History, Political Studies, Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, and Philosophy). Students holding a teaching assistantship may register for only three full (or equivalent) courses per term in the Fall/Winter session and must take the other full course (or equivalent) in the succeeding Summer session. Permission to take an additional undergraduate course may be given where it is needed to fulfill the language requirement (see Item IX).

    1. Four full (or equivalent) graduate courses and one half-course in bibliographical methods.

    2. Three full (or equivalent) graduate courses, one half-course in bibliographical methods, and an independent research project of approximately 50 pages. A student choosing this program will register in course work and in an independent research project (English 9005). The prospectus for the independent research project (see # IV below) must be approved by the student's supervisor and submitted to the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies no later than the second-last week of September.
      During the Winter term, and by the end of Reading Week in February, the supervisor will receive a satisfactory Working Bibliography and a detailed outline of the entire project from the student. The supervisor will notify the Committee on Graduate Studies, through the graduate assistant, that these have been submitted and are satisfactory. In the event that this cannot be completed satisfactorily by the deadline, the student must abandon the IRP and will instead enroll in a Summer Term course.
      The student will complete and submit the project by approximately 1 August. The IRP will have a supervisor and an examiner who determines the grade after consultation with the supervisor.The examiner will communicate the grade to the Chair of Graduate Studies via the graduate assistant no later than 24 August. There is no oral defense of the independent research project.

    3. Two full (or equivalent) graduate courses, one half-course in bibliographical methods, and a thesis of approximately 100 pages. The prospectus for the thesis (see # V below) must be approved by the student's supervisor and submitted to the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies via the graduate assistant no later than the second-last week of September.

  4. Prospectus for the Independent Research Project
    1. Prospective IRP students should get in touch with faculty in the Summer Term prior to enrolment so as to discuss possible topics in a preliminary fashion. The faculty member might give the student a preliminary undertaking to act as adviser/supervisor of the project.
    2. At the beginning of the Fall Term the student should consult the adviser/supervisor-designate further while drafting a prospectus.
    3. Submission of the prospectus to CGS (via the Graduate Assistant) should occur by the end of the second-last week of September.
    4. CGS will get a decision back to proposers and advisers/supervisors-designate during the final week of September. The decision could take three forms:
      1. If the prospectus were sound, it would be approved immediately.
      2. If the prospectus were not fully convincing but could be enhanced readily and quickly, then the student would be asked to re-submit promptly.
      3. If the prospectus were inadequate, CGS would decline it.
    5. Depending on which decision was reached, the student would either begin work on the project at the end of September or else substitute enrolment in the remaining necessary course-work.

    The prospectus required of students beginning an Independent Research Project for the M.A. program in the Department of English must be in the following form:
    1. a statement of the tentative title of the thesis;
    2. the student's name and degree and the name of the Supervisor;
    3. a description in not more than 300 words of the student's intentions in the Independent Research Project with only a general description of the methods to be used and no projection of probable conclusions;
    4. a written assurance from the Supervisor that the candidate has demonstrated to her or his satisfaction the availability of bibliographical materials for the research involved.

  5. Prospectus for the Thesis
    1. Prospective MA thesis students should get in touch with faculty in the Summer Term prior to enrolment so as to discuss possible topics in a preliminary fashion. The faculty member might give the student a preliminary undertaking to act as adviser/supervisor of the thesis.
    2. At the beginning of the Fall Term the student should consult the adviser/supervisor-designate further while drafting a prospectus.
    3. Submission of the prospectus to CGS (via the Graduate Assistant) should occur by the end of the second-last week of September.
    4. CGS will get a decision back to proposers and advisers/supervisors-designate during the final week of September. The decision could take three forms:
      1. If the prospectus were sound, it would be approved immediately.
      2. If the prospectus were not fully convincing but could be enhanced readily and quickly, then the student would be asked to re-submit promptly.
      3. If the prospectus were inadequate, CGS would decline it.
    5. Depending on which decision was reached, the student would either begin work on the thesis at the end of September or else substitute enrolment in the remaining necessary course-work.

    The prospectus required of students beginning a thesis for the M.A. program in the Department of English must be in the following form:
    1. a statement of the tentative title of the thesis;
    2. the student's name and degree and the names of the members of the Supervising Committee and its Chair;
    3. a description in not more than 300 words of the student's intentions in the thesis, with only a general description of the methods to be used and no projection of probable conclusions;
    4. a written assurance from the Supervisory Committee that the candidate has demonstrated to their satisfaction the availability of bibliographical materials for the research involved.

  6. Compulsory Course in Bibliography and Textual Studies

    English 9002 is a compulsory half-course for all students in the M.A. year or in a Ph.D. program. A student who regards his or her previous training in bibliography and textual studies as satisfactory must arrange to see the course instructor, who will assess that previous training and determine whether or not the student must take English 9002. This course will include study of annotation, the history and nature of textual scholarship in English, documents, the history of book production, printing, and editing.

    English 9002 is marked on a pass-fail basis; the passing grade is 60%. Any student receiving less than this grade is entitled either to write the examination again the next time it is given or to take the course again. Whichever option is chosen, the student must pass the course at the second attempt and will be asked to leave the program if he or she fails to do so.

  7. Progression

    The standard for progression in the M.A. program is 78% based on the final marks in the Fall and Winter terms. A student who does not achieve this average (and see also the regulation below on Term Work) may be required to take additional courses or to withdraw from the program, at the discretion of the Committee on Graduate Studies.

    Summer support for students writing M.A. theses or independent research projects will be contingent upon submission of a substantial and acceptable portion (for example, a twenty-five page chapter) by the end of the Winter term (April 30). Thesis/project advisors will report to the Graduate Chair whether this condition has been met.

  8. Term Work

    The Graduate Faculty in English has set the following deadlines for the completion of term work in graduate courses:

    1. January l for Fall half-courses;
    2. May 1 for Fall-Winter full courses and for Winter half-courses;
    3. September 1 for Summer courses.

    Any instructor is entitled to set a deadline prior to those established by the Graduate Faculty in English, and it will have the same force and carry the same penalty as the Department deadline.

    Any student who has not submitted all required work by the deadline will receive an F in the course, and his or her registration in subsequent graduate courses (i.e., progression in the program) will be subject to review by the Committee on Graduate Studies. Exceptions to this rule will be made only on medical or compassionate grounds that are established to the satisfaction of the Committee on Graduate Studies. Those intending to ask for extensions on such grounds should do so at least a week before the deadline.

  9. Appeals
    1. Appeals Relating to Courses:
      Should a student feel that he or she must appeal an evaluation from an instructor, the following procedures will be followed:
      1. If a student is dissatisfied with judgments rendered by the instructor, the student should try to resolve the differences with the instructor. The student must consult with the instructor in this way before he or she launches a formal appeal.

      2. If, after such discussions, the student is still not satisfied, he or she can appeal part or all of the course. The student can inform the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies at any time during the course, or up to six weeks after the final marks are submitted, that he or she intends to appeal one or more assignments, but normally the Committee will wait until the course is over and the instructor has submitted all marks before acting on the appeal, and it will consider the appeal in the context of the entire course.

      3. Once the Chair begins to act on the appeal, the instructor will be notified that the appeal is in process. The Committee on Graduate Studies will consult with both the student and the instructor before it reaches a decision. The student will be informed of the decision in writing within six weeks of receipt of the written appeal and complete documentation.
      4. The Chair can, at the student's request, act on the appeal before the end of the course, but the student should understand that normally the instructor will be notified at that time of the appeal.

      5. The proceedings of the appeal hearing are confidential.

      6. Specific circumstances pertaining to individual courses may make it necessary for these procedures to be modified at the discretion of the Committee on Graduate Studies or its Chair.

    2. Appeals Relating to the Program:
    3. Appeals relating to the program should, in the first instance, be addressed to the Chair of the Department.
      See the SGPS Graduate Regulations for complete information: http://grad.uwo.ca/current_students/graduate_regulations/section_11.htm

  10. Language Requirement

    By the time they complete the MA program, students must provide evidence that they have a reading knowledge of at least one language other than English.

    Languages acceptable to the Department come into the following categories:

    1. French.
    2. First Nations languages (specific language to be proposed by the student for approval by CGS).
    3. Any other language used by a speech community in Canada. Examples are Chinese, Gaelic, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish (specific language to be proposed by the student for approval by CGS).
    4. Languages of scholarship and/or scripture. Examples are Arabic, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Old Church Slavonic, and Sanskrit (specific language to be proposed by the student for approval by CGS).
    5. Other languages that have special appropriateness to the student's area of research. If, for instance, the student is specializing in postcolonial studies, eligible languages might include those of Africa, the Americas, Asia, New Zealand, and Polynesia (specific language to be proposed by the student for approval by CGS).

    The requirement can normally be satisfied in one of the following ways.

    1. For native speakers of other languages, possession of English language competence at the level required for admission to the program.
    2. Completion of one or more university courses in the chosen language, at or beyond the 020 level (or its equivalent).
    3. A pass in a "challenge test," taken without any requirement for prior course-work in the language. A student wishing to have the Department arrange such a test must notify the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies by the end of the second term of residence.

    Responsibility for finding a means of satisfying the requirement in the chosen language rests with the student. In practice, unless the student already has competence in the chosen language, it will be advisable to select languages that are supported by staffing and instruction at the University of Western Ontario.

    In exceptional cases, satisfaction of the above requirements notwithstanding, the Committee on Graduate Studies may rule that further study of a language is required because of the specific demands of the chosen area of research for the Thesis or Independent Research Project.

  11. Reading Course

    A reading course is one in which the student will meet an instructor regularly (a minimum of twenty-five hours is required for a full course and thirteen hours for a half-course) to discuss his or her progress in following a prescribed reading list. A candidate may be allowed to take up to one full course as a reading course as one of the graduate courses prescribed for the M.A. if he or she is able to find an instructor willing to direct such a course and if the Committee on Graduate Studies approves. The approval and commencement of reading courses (which in all other respects conform to departmental specifications) is contingent upon a student's being in good standing in other graduate courses (i.e., assignments are handed in on time and are satisfactory). Course content, assignments and student-teacher consultation are expected to be equivalent in weight to regularly offered courses. A reading course must be approved by the Committee on Graduate Studies prior to the commencement of the course. An outline (description) of the proposed course, briefly explaining its purpose, listing the texts to be studied, and including the evaluation scheme should be submitted to the Chair of Graduate Studies at least four weeks before the term in which the course is to be taken. The instructor should have indicated approval of this proposal by adding a signature to it.

  12. Examination

    Each graduate course instructor will decide whether or not the course has a final examination.

  13. Thesis

    Detailed procedures and regulations concerning theses are available at http://www.uwo.ca/english/graduate/thesisreg.html. An MA thesis must normally not exceed 25,000 words, including bibliography and other apparatus.

    Please see submission deadlines on the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website at http://grad.uwo.ca/current_students/thesis_regulations/section_5.htm.

  14. Responsibility of the Candidate

    It is emphasized that the responsibility for following the rules printed here, the regulations of the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies printed in the Calendar (available on their website at http://grad.uwo.ca/calendar.htm), and the rules of the University Library regarding format of the thesis rests on the candidate.


Department of English - The University of Western Ontario
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