English and Film Studies

Message from the Chair


Welcome to the diverse and vibrant intellectual community that is the Department of English & Film Studies at the University of Alberta! Founded more than a century ago as a cornerstone of the Faculty of Arts, EFS is today recognized, both within Canada and internationally, as a top-tier department in its discipline and a leader among its peers in terms of both teaching and research. 

We offer a broad and heterogeneous curriculum—not only relating to genre, temporal period, and global coverage, but also to theoretical approach and pedagogical style—that speaks to a foundational commitment to teach English (written, oral, and visual), creative writing (fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction), and film (along with its allied media) collaboratively, under the twin umbrellas of cultural and interdisciplinary studies.

We welcome students at every level of study, from those in introductory, first-year courses to those pursuing the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Undergraduates can Minor or Major in Arts (English, WRITE, and Film Studies) or join our intensive (but always collegial) Honours program. Our 100- to 400-level courses emphasize the historical, material, and cultural contexts that produced the texts students read and write about, and exercise a variety of methodologies to open the past and the unfamiliar to critical understanding. Our distinguished graduate program enriches students’ knowledge of theoretical languages and debates with the aim of contributing to their professional development as critics, teachers, and innovators within a shifting social and cultural milieu.   

Students interested in the history and rapid transformation of moving-image technology will find in the undergraduate Film Studies program (both Major and Minor streams) a blending of tradition with invention, focused through the study of aesthetics, genre, national cinema, and film-theory. Those desiring to deepen their thinking through creative writing will discover in our established and celebrated WRITE program opportunities to augment their craft in a Minor or Combined Honours program that seeks to open new ways of seeing and revealing the world through imaginative language. The M.A. in English may also be followed through a “creative thesis” option.  

Our aspiration is to enhance the cultural literacy and critical acumen of our students at all levels—to provide them with a liberal and challenging learning environment in which to cultivate an increasingly-discerning assessment of the ideas, information, and history that make up the world we inhabit. Please drop by the EFS office or contact one of our cheerful staff if you have any questions about our department and courses. 

Peter W. Sinnema
Professor and Chair
Department of English & Film Studies

Why Study with Us?