Welcome to the English Department

English Studies at the University of Victoria

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Colonial Despatches

2014-5 Course Information

To find out more about Spring 2015 courses, please consult the department's most recent course guide.

About the Department

Welcome to the English Department at the University of Victoria. If you share our love of books (both digital and paper), reading, and writing, we invite you to enroll in one of our courses or programs.

The English Department grants both undergraduate (B.A. and B.A. with Honours) and graduate degrees (M.A. and Ph.D). We are one of the largest departments at UVic, offering many courses of interest to the University community as a whole, and maintaining close ties to Digital Humanities, Women's Studies, Medieval Studies, and the Indigenous Governance Program. With over 40 permanent faculty members, the UVic English Department teaches across the whole range of English Studies, from Old English to contemporary poetry, from modern literary theory to postcolonial literature, including Canadian and American Literature.

Our aim is to provide students with a stimulating environment in which to develop skills in all areas of English.

The Department of English at the University of Victoria is ranked among the top 100 English Departments in the world, according to the prestigious 2014 QS World University Rankings by Subject index.

Departmental Highlights

The Department has a proud record of teaching excellence. Our Undergraduate Honours programme has been highly successful in preparing students for graduate study. The Professional Writing minor is based on both contemporary and traditional practices, ranging from web design to copy-editing, and has an exceptional work-placement record.

Our doctoral and master's programs offer professional training to over 70 graduate students a year in all areas of literary research, theory and criticism, including the teaching of literature and writing. The UVic English Department is currently the home of ELS Editions, which has been publishing well reviewed books in all areas of literary criticism since 1975; Internet Shakespeare Editions, the largest electronic resource devoted to the study of Shakespearean drama; Scandinavian-Canadian Studies, the journal of the association for the advancement of Scandinavian studies in Canada; the newly launched Victorian Poetry Network; and the Victorian Review, one of the leading professional journals devoted to the study of Victorian literature and culture.

Recent Department Activities

  • In 2014, the English Department will host the Western Literature Association Conference, whose theme is "Border Songs."
  • In 2014, the Department of English was ranked among the top 100 English Departments in the world, according to the prestigious 2014 QS World University Rankings by Subject index.
  • In 2013, the University hosted the 82nd annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Congress, the largest gathering of scholars across disciplines in Canada, brings together 70 scholarly associations representing upwards of 7,000 delegates, including leading academics, internationally recognized researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to share findings, refine ideas and build partnerships. Various English Department faculty members were involved in organizing the conference.
  • In 2013, the University of Victoria awarded an honorary degree to Canadian poet and novelist Anne Michaels.
  • In 2012, the University of Victoria hosted the Victorian Media Conference. The English Department also hosted David L. Clark as a Lansdowne visitor.
  • In 2012 the Internet Shakespeare Editions launched its Making Waves campaign with the goal of making its site fully sustainable in a campaign to raise funds from libraries around the world.
  • In 2012, the department helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of the University of Victoria (1963-2013) with a topical website, 50 Special Books, and a video history of the department, both unveiled at a packed launch event at the UVic Bookstore.
  • In 2011, Dr. Gary Kuchar was honored as the top humanities researcher at the University, and Dr. Ray Siemens was honored as a distinguished professor.
  • In 2010, the Department hosted the 12th annual Modernist Studies Association conference, with approximately 600 delegates and 150 panels. The keynote speakers were Astradur Eysteinsson, Patricia Leighten, Maud Ellmann, Udaya Kumar, Harish Trivedi, Chana Kronfeld, Glenn Willmott, Ken Seigneurie, and Shuh-Mei Shih. See the MSA conference Website for posted recordings of keynote speeches and other information.
  • In 2010, the Internet Shakespeare Editions launched an update of the site, with a redesigned UI as well as significant enhancements to navigation, especially the inclusion of the capacity to search from every page. Several plays were completed: As You Like It (David Bevington), Julius Caesar (John Cox), Henry V (James Mardock). and Henry IV, Part One (Rose Gaby).
  • In 2010, Magdalena Kay received the Humanties Faculty Fellowship.
  • In 2009, the Department hosted the Eighth Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE).
  • In 2009, the Department launched a new MA concentration in Medieval and Early Modern Studies.
  • In 2008, the Department launched a new MA concentration in Literatures of the West Coast.
  • In 2008, Allan Mitchell received the Humanties Faculty Fellowship.

For a more comprehensive list of recent Department events, see our news and events archive.