The study of English literature is an exploration of the ways in which we express and create worlds through language. By examining works of literature published in English, we not only imagine other worlds and forms of human experience, but also learn how to become better readers, writers, editors, researchers, and critical thinkers.

During studies for a degree in English, you will investigate literature from a variety of critical standpoints, historical periods, and geographical areas; research the interactions of literary, political, and intellectual cultures; and explore timely and important issues through literature. You may also write poetry, fiction, and plays; edit literary works and journals; and analyze theatrical productions. And you will gain a broader understanding of literary culture and learn to communicate effectively.

The department offers Three-year, Four-year, and Honours degrees in English, as well as minors in English and in Canadian Literature. An English major at any level will introduce you to the major genres, time periods, and geographical areas of literature in English, with more comprehensive study in the Four-year and Honours programs. All major and minor programs will help you to improve reading, analytical, research, and communication skills; the more concentrated the study, the more those skills will be refined.

The Three-year degree in English provides an introduction to the fundamentals of English literature and communications. It is a flexible, general degree that may be a stepping stone to other degree programs including further studies in education, law, and journalism.

The Four-year degree in English includes additional study of foundational areas of literary study such as literary canon formation, the history of the book, the history of the English language, and literary and cultural theory. This degree is appropriate if you have a lively interest in English literature but want to pursue a wider variety of electives and don’t require the intensive training in research or the experience of seminars that are part of the Honours program. Students with a four-year degree often work in or do further studies in professions such as journalism, editing, communications, literary education, report- or speech-writing, and digital media.

The Honours degree in English allows you to benefit from a more structured, comprehensive program in English literature that teaches you the skills to undertake independent, original research. The 400-level seminars enable intensive study and more independent research in selected areas of literary culture; the seminars and the capstone Honours Colloquium together provide opportunities to practice presentation skills and work as part of a community of inquiry. The Honours degree will be particularly suitable if you have a keen interest in literary culture, want to work in professions such as journalism, editing, communications, digital media, and publishing, or want to pursue graduate studies in English, or in other areas such as library and information science or publishing. You may also choose to enroll in a Double Honours program, which allows you to combine advanced studies of English literature with studies in another discipline.

The Minor in English is suitable if you are majoring in another subject but have an interest in English literature and communications. It will help you to gain the research, writing, and critical thinking skills offered in English classes, and will provide you with official credit for your additional concentration in these areas.

The Minor in Canadian Literature in English introduces you to Canadian fiction, poetry, drama, life-writing, and oral narratives, and allows more extensive investigation of particular areas of interest such as Indigenous literatures in Canada, Western Canadian literature, and Canadian speculative fiction. The minor is for non-majors who have a keen interest in the Canadian literary imagination, who intend to pursue a teaching career, or who want to complement other areas of Canadian studies.

The Department of English also offers a Certificate in Creative Writing, which can be completed in conjunction with any of the English degree programs, as an enriching and complementary addition. It can also be completed independently or in conjunction with another USask degree program. Students will develop their own craft through study, practice, and workshopping, and can choose from courses in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and playwriting. On completion they will have a portfolio demonstrating their skills across a range of forms, which may serve as a stepping stone for further study and practice of creative writing.

In conjunction with the departments of Drama and Indigenous Studies, the Department of English also offers the interdisciplinary Certificate in the Study of Indigenous Storytelling. The certificate recognizes concentrated study of historical and contemporary Indigenous practices of storytelling, their media and modes of transmission, and their culturally-specific knowledge systems and protocols. The certificate is a valuable addition to all the English degree programs; it is also ideal for non-majors, especially those who plan to pursue careers in fields such as education, policy, law, journalism, and politics.

Some courses in English are taught by faculty in the corresponding department of St. Thomas More College.  These courses or sections are designated as such in the registration system.

For more information about the department, our undergraduate and graduate programs, and our student organizations, see the Department of English website, call 306-966-1268, or email

General Notes

1.  Students are strongly encouraged to seek academic advising each year to ensure they are on track to meet program requirements and are aware of all their options. Honours students in particular should consult with the Department's Undergraduate Chair.

2. Only 6 credit units of standard introductory 100-level English may be taken for credit, either ENG 110 or two of ENG 111, ENG 112, ENG 113, or ENG 114, or the equivalent in transfer credit. ENG 120 may be used to fulfill 3 credit units of first-year English requirements, and may also be taken as an elective in addition to 6 credit units of other first-year English classes.

3. Students are encouraged to take 200-level courses early in their programs. In particular, Honours and Four-year degree students are advised to complete the required credit units from the Histories of English series (ENG 210, 211, and 212) in their second year.

4. 400-level seminars are open to students in the Honours or Double Honours program, as well as to Four-year degree students with strong academic records. Registration for all students requires consultation with the Department's Undergraduate Chair.

Major Average

The major average in English programs includes the grades earned in:

  • All ENG courses

Residency Requirements in the Major

To receive a degree in English, students must complete at least two-thirds of the following coursework (to the nearest highest multiple of 3 credit units) from the University of Saskatchewan.

  • Minimum requirements in Major Requirement A4.

See Residency for additional details.