English and Film Studies

MA (Course-based)



Please see our graduate course descriptions.

MA students can take up to 2 courses in another department or at another institution, with permission from the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies. Please contact the department who offers the course for further information.


Enrollment in all EFS Graduate Seminars must be requested through the office of Graduate Program Administrator Kim Brown. EFS students will have priority in enrolling in these classes. They will be asked to submit a list of their preferences to Kim Brown.  The grad chair will make decisions about priority for enrollment in classes that are over-subscribed. If there is room in an EFS graduate class after all EFS graduate students have enrolled, non EFS students may ask for permission to enroll.

Course Expectations:

General practice in the Department regarding workload on average takes the following form for a half-year graduate course: 15-20 pages of written work, the equivalent of one or two 20-30 minute oral presentations, and weekly reading assignments roughly equivalent to a 200-page novel and one or two critical or theoretical readings (scholarly articles, chapters of books, etc.), in addition to independent research by individual students. Final projects for graduate classes should be due no sooner than one week after the final class meeting.

Proseminar A (Fall Term):

A series of meetings with the Associate Chair, Graduate Studies covers the following topics: 

Graduate Studies at the University of Alberta

  • Graduate Studies at the University of Alberta
  • The library and on-line library resources
  • Conceiving of a research project & crafting a short proposal
  • Supervision: the supervisory relationship and assembling a committee
  • Research ethics (which fulfills part of the FGSR ethics requirement)


FGSR Ethics Requirement

All students must complete the on-line FGSR Ethics Requirement.

Professional Development Requirement

MA Portfolio Proposals and Supervision

The portfolio will be supervised by a tenure-track or tenured faculty member with whom a student has taken a course most closely related to the portfolio work. The supervisor suggests, and the Graduate Committee approves, a faculty member to serve as the Reader (examiner) of the project. Proposals for MA portfolios must be submitted to the Graduate Chair for approval by May 1st.


MA Portfolio

The MA portfolio may either be an Academic Portfolio or a Creative Portfolio. In either case, the portfolio is a capping exercise for the course-based MA that emphasizes synthesis, revision, and contextualization for specific audiences. The portfolio's writing will be developed from coursework but revised with attention to an audience larger than that of the original course. The portfolio totals 25-35 pages of written work, including introduction. The portfolio introduction indicates why the chosen writing has been included; it outlines the theory and research that has shaped that work; and it reflects upon how the training gained in the MA bears on the student's proposed future endeavours. Typically, introductions will be 3-10 pages in length.

Portfolios are due to the assigned reader no later than August 15th. This deadline is firm in order to enable students to convocate and avoid paying fees for the fall term. The reader will assess the completed portfolio and provide a 250-500 word written report, indicating whether the portfolio is a pass, pass with revisions or fail. In the event of a fail, the Graduate Chair will appoint a second reader. These assessments will be submitted to the Graduate Chair no later than August 31st for Fall convocation. 


Academic Portfolio:

The academic portfolio may include one of the following choices or a combination thereof, for example a conference paper and a book review, but must in every case amount to 20-30 pages of written work (with intro, 25-35 pages total):

1) a revised, article-length seminar paper (20-30 pages) 

2) one or several book reviews or a book review essay outlining the contribution to scholarship in that field 

3) a conference paper and a conference paper proposal; here this might be in response to an actual call for papers, or to the student's creation of an imagined panel for a conference

4) an encyclopedia entry or entries, such as a substantial biographical essay, or a critical survey of a field, movement, method, or concept

5) a scholarly annotation of a primary text of manageable length, including explanatory footnotes; for example, a Victorian periodical piece, a poem, a short story, a single installment of a serial periodical publication, a pamphlet

6) an analysis, from a pedagogical perspective, of a text or texts for students at first-year undergraduate level. The analysis may include reflection on how that text or texts would be taught, with what rationale, and with what resources. A student choosing this option may wish to sit in on introductory classes offered by his or her supervisor in order to become familiar with pedagogical approaches at that level.

Creative Portfolio:

The course-based MA may generate a portfolio of creative writing. This would consist of unpublished work, and would not include material written before the commencement of the MA. The work would arise from the student's programme of study and be related to that programme by the introduction to the portfolio. The creative portfolio may include, but must in every case amount to 20-30 pages of written work (with intro, 25-35 pages total):

1) a single piece of verse or prose, including creative non-fiction

2) several shorter pieces of verse or prose, including creative non-fiction.

Note: a student may make the case for a hybrid academic and creative portfolio. The Graduate Committee welcomes consultation with members of WRITE faculty on hybrid proposals.