Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Department of English and Film Studies, located on Treaty Six territory and in Region 4 of the Métis Nation of Alberta.

I am delighted to welcome you to the Department of English and Film Studies, one of the four founding departments of the University of Alberta in 1908 and today one of the largest in the Faculty of Arts. We are internationally-recognized and multi-disciplinary. Our faculty members are leaders in the field, with a reputation for high-quality research, innovative teaching, and meaningful community impact. Among our distinguished colleagues are two Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, and many award-winning teachers.

Students can choose from a broad range of courses within our programs. At the undergraduate level, we offer Major, Minor, and Honors programs in English; Major and Minor programs in Film Studies; and a Minor in Creative Writing. Graduate students can study at the MA and PhD levels in English. Our graduate program, consistently ranked as one of the top English graduate programs in Canada, supports students' innovative projects and their professional development as critics, researchers, teachers, and innovators.

The English program has been welcoming students for more than a hundred years. Though English has a history deeply entangled with colonialism, class privilege, and the reproduction of certain kinds of thinking, our classrooms today are diverse and dynamic spaces. We train our students to ask serious questions, drawing on the insights of indigenous, feminist, postcolonial, queer, ecological, and subaltern thought. Students can expect to read a range of texts–from Indigenous poetry, to eighteenth-century novels, to contemporary life writing–drawn from around the English-speaking world. Despite this diversity, I think the study of English coheres around two animating questions: first, how does a piece of writing reflect the social world, the region, or the community from which it came; and, second, how does the academic study of that work shape our understanding of our own social world, region, and community today?

The WRITE program at the University of Alberta is one of the oldest and most respected Creative Writing programs in Canada. Students in our WRITE classes have the opportunity to work with award-winning writers and to develop as writers of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. EFS is home to the longest-running Writer-in-Residence program in Canada and to the Canadian Literature Centre/Centre de littérature canadienne with its stellar Brown Bag Readings and the annual Kreisel Lecture.

Courses offered in our popular Film Studies program cover a wide range of film genres as well as genres in television and digital and other media. Students may take courses in national cinemas and media systems in a global context, industry and production cultures, and reception and fan cultures, and will develop theoretical and historical perspectives on the evolution of film and other media of self-expression.

In EFS we are a community of students, teachers, writers, and researchers who work in interrelated ways on the study of imaginative expression. We share a commitment to that study as a means to better understand the relations of humans to each other and to the world we inhabit. In all our programs, our goal is to help students expand their critical understanding of ideas and information and their ability to communicate their own ideas and critical responses effectively. Among our alumni are teachers, journalists, professors, editors, lawyers, digital content creators, publishers, game developers, novelists (including Suzette Mayr, winner of the 2022 Giller Prize!), screenwriters, producers, entrepreneurs, speechwriters, marketing executives, and more. We are proud of our students’ accomplishments and their innovative work in our programs and beyond!

More detailed information about courses and programs is available on the EFS website. Please feel free to contact us with any questions

Eddy Kent
Department Chair

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