SFU Calendar 2001-2002

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Department of English

6129 Academic Quadrangle, (604) 2913136/4614 Tel, (604) 2915737 Fax, www.sfu.ca/english


(to be announced)

Graduate Program Chair

(to be anounced)

Faculty and Areas of Research

see "Department of English". for a complete list of faculty.

C.M. Banerjee - 18th century English literature, literary criticism

S.A. Black - American literature, literature and psychoanalysis, Shakespearean and Greek tragedy

G. Bowering - Canadian and American literature, contemporary/avant garde literature

P. Budra - Shakespeare, drama to 1642, Elizabethan and Jacobean poetry and prose, popular culture

R.M. Coe - rhetorical theory and history, contrastive rhetoric; composition theory and pedagogy; literacy; discourse analysis (including `public doublespeak' and `plain language'), genre theory, rhetorical approaches to literary criticism, drama

L. Davis - Romantic literature, Scottish and Irish literature 1700-1850, literature and nationalism, feminist critiques of Romanticism, 18th century folk music and print culture

P. Delany - 20th century English literature, literature and economics, literary theory, computers and humanities

S. Delany - Chaucer, medieval comparative literature, middle English, Tudor literature, Marxist criticism, early literature (Old Testament, Middle Eastern and Greek), critical theory, gender in art

H. DeRoo - Old English, Middle English, heroic literature, Old Norse, studies in language

S. Djwa - Canadian literature, modern poetry, literary history, biography

C. Gerson - Canadian literature and literary history, women and literature, print culture in Canada

M.A. Gillies - 19th and 20th century British literature

T. Grieve - modernism (poetry and fiction), twentieth century literature, nineteenth century poetry; the essay; history and theory of rhetoric; composition

M.D. Harris - Victorian novel, Romantic period, fantasy and science fiction, African fiction, psychological interpretation of literature

A. Higgins - Medieval and Renaissance drama, Shakespeare, Middle English literature

M. Linley - Victorian poetry and prose; 19th century women poets, literature and visual representation

K. Mezei - Canadian literature, Quebec literature and translation, modern British fiction, especially Virginia Woolf, feminist literary criticism

R.A. Miki - 19th century American literature, modern American poetry, contemporary Canadian poetry, Asian Canadian literature, race and cultural theory

M. Page - contemporary drama, 20th century English literature, Commonwealth literature, Shakespeare

P.M. St. Pierre - Commonwealth literature, Canadian literature

E.A. Schellenberg - Restoration, 18th century literature, 18th century women writers, print culture

D. Stouck - American literature, Canadian literature

M.A. Stouck - Chaucer, middle English, 15th century poetry

J. Sturrock - poetry of the Romantic period, especially William Blake; 19th century domestic fiction; women writers of the 19th century, especially Jane Austen and Charlotte Mary Yonge; literature and the visual arts, especially 1780-1900; Iris Murdoch, A.S. Byatt

J. Zaslove - comparative literature (English and European), literary theory, social history of art and literature, culture theory, aesthetics and politics

MA Program


In addition to requirements in the Graduate General Regulations (page 297), the department requires evidence of ability in academic writing, in the form of at least two substantial literary essays which are scholarly in format and approach. The papers submitted may be undergraduate essays previously prepared, or ones specially written for this purpose. Applicants intending to specialize in writing and rhetoric may wish instead to submit a portfolio of representative writings, which should include at least one academic paper.


This program develops scholars with a critical and comprehensive awareness of English studies. Students concentrating in writing and rhetoric will normally have a substantial background in English studies, but may come to the program from a variety of backgrounds. While offering students the opportunity of specializing in one of the various areas of strength in the department, the program requires them to ground their interest in a wide and flexible understanding of English studies.

Students without a strong background in English may be required to strengthen their preparation before admission.

The program may be completed in two ways: In option A students take four courses, write a thesis of about 100 pages and defend it in an oral examination, while in option B they take six courses and write an MA final examination. Students in either option may have one course as an individually supervised study to pursue a special interest or satisfy a need.

Students may enrol in one or two courses per semester. Students also working as teaching assistants will complete the program in six semesters. For further departmental requirements consult the departmental handbook.

The department recognizes the special needs of working people who wish to improve qualifications. Some graduate courses are regularly offered at night, and part-time students are permitted (though regulations require that all MA students must complete their work within twelve semesters of full time equivalent enrolment or six calendar years, whichever is shorter).

Specialization in Print Culture 17001900

The MA program also permits students to specialize in the politics of print culture (17001900), focusing on the changing role of printed texts in an emerging commercial society. This specialization has an interdisciplinary focus.

Interdisciplinary Studies

In addition to the MA programs described here, which accommodate and encourage interdisciplinary study, the University offers degree programs to exceptionally able applicants whose proposed course of studies cannot be carried out in any existing program. Students interested in pursuing an MA may wish to submit a proposal for special arrangements through the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies. see "1.3.4 Admission to a Doctoral Program"..


While the general regulations set the minimum cumulative grade point average necessary for continuance at 3.0, the department regards grades below B to be unsatisfactory and expects students to achieve an average above the minimum. If progress is deemed unsatisfactory, withdrawal under section 1.8.3 of the Graduate General Regulations (page 301) may be required.

Option A students take four courses, write a thesis of about 100 pages and defend it in an oral examination. Thesis option students submit a thesis proposal and are examined by the supervisory committee no later than one semester following the completion of course work. Students proceed with the thesis only after the approval of the supervisory committee and the graduate program committee.

Option B students choose a paper or project from one of their six courses. The paper (or project) is revised and expanded to make it suitable for publication. The expanded work is examined by two faculty members, and presented orally at a departmental symposium. The paper (or project) must be completed and submitted for examination no later than the end of the semester following completion of coursework, and is judged on a pass/fail basis. A student who fails may be permitted a second and final attempt.

Students in the non-thesis option will be exempt from this procedure.

Language Requirement

All MA students must demonstrate a reading ability in one language other than English that is acceptable to the students' supervisory committee. Ability will be determined by a time limited examination consisting of the translation of a passage of literature or translation of a literary or scholarly passage in the particular language. A dictionary is permitted.

The Department of French offers courses to help meet language requirements. Students interested in courses in German, Russian or Spanish should consult with the Office of the Dean of Arts.

For further information and regulations, see "1.1 Degrees Offered"..

Joint Master's in English and French Literatures

This program allows students who have already been trained in both literatures to continue studies beyond the undergraduate level. see "Joint Major in English and French Literatures"..

PhD Program

Applicants to the Department of English's small PhD program will have a well planned project that integrates into the department's areas of specialization. Cross disciplinary proposals and innovative studies are encouraged. Students are expected to contribute at all stages of the program.

The department has expertise in major areas of English literature and language with special strength in the 20th century. The department's Centre for Research in Professional and Academic Writing offers opportunities for advanced study in rhetoric and writing, including participation in the centre's research projects and instructional programs. The Bennett Library's contemporary literature collection has the largest single collection of post war experimental and avant garde poetry in Canada. It also contains a substantial Wordsworth collection and William Blake drawings, illuminations and engravings in facsimile.


Students must have an MA or equivalent with high standing from a recognized university and have a good background in English studies. To fill any academic gaps, extra undergraduate or graduate courses may be required.

To apply, three reference letters, two samples of academic writing, and a one to two page description of the doctoral project are required. This program has been approved for part time status.

Application Deadline

February 1

Residence Requirement

Six semesters

Program Requirements

The first two years of the program provide necessary grounding before students pursue a thesis project; in the third year, students will engage in the research and writing of the dissertation. Upon admission, an advisor is assigned until a supervisor and supervisory committee are selected.

The doctoral program has three stages.


Four courses are completed by the end of the third semester: any three of choice plus ENGL 810/811 graduate professional development seminar, a required graduate course. The senior supervisor in consultation with the graduate program committee will advise students in their choice of courses.

Field Exams and Thesis Oral

Students must write field exams by the end of the sixth semester, and complete the thesis oral by the end of the seventh semester.

The Thesis

Students complete their research and proceed with the writing of their thesis. Students have 912 semesters to complete their degree.

Individualized Field Exams

Each candidate will write two field exams. The student will take home the examination question and complete the paper within three days. The submitted examination paper should be no more than 30 pages. There will be no oral defence.

In each field exam area, a partial reading is prepared by the faculty specializing in the area. Students add to the reading list. The completed list must be approved by two faculty in the area and the graduate program committee. Current field reading lists may be obtained from the department.

Both field exams are completed by July 30 of the second year in the program (sixth semester). The examiners consist of two faculty in the area appointed by the graduate program committee. The senior supervisor cannot be an examiner in the field exam. Students are awarded pass/fail or pass with distinction for truly exceptional exams.

Those in a field exam may be allowed to repeat it once not later than the following semester. A second failure leads to elimination from the program.

Thesis Oral

The thesis oral ensures coverage in the thesis area. Upon successful completion of field exams, the student submits a reading list by September 15, on the background readings for the thesis area, to the senior supervisor. The supervisory committee for the thesis oral, consisting of the senior supervisor and one other supervisor, responds to the proposed reading list by October 1. The final list is approved by the graduate program committee.

The oral examination on the thesis area and background material will take place by December 15. The oral exam will be approximately two hours.

The oral will be graded pass/fail. In exceptional cases a distinction will be recognized.

Language Requirement

PhD students must demonstrate a reading ability in a language other than English that is acceptable to the supervisory committee. Ability is determined by a time limited exam of a literature or criticism passage translation in that language. A dictionary is permitted.

The Department of French and the Latin American Studies Program offer courses to help graduate students meet language requirements. For German or Russian courses, consult the Office of the Dean of Arts.

For further information and regulations, refer to Graduate General Regulations (page 297).


In consultation with the graduate program committee, the student creates a supervisory committee consisting of a senior supervisor and two readers (one may be from another department). By the third semester, the student submits the proposed supervisory committee and thesis proposal to the graduate program committee for approval.

The completed thesis is defended in an oral examination. The (defence) examining committee consists of a chair (normally the graduate program chair), members of the supervisory committee (senior supervisor and at least one other department member), a faculty member external to the Department of English, and an external examiner who is not a member of Simon Fraser University.

From the time of the supervisory committee's appointment, the student and senior supervisor meet regularly (at least three times a semester) through the field exam period, the thesis oral semester, and the thesis research and writing period. It is the student's responsibility to set a meeting schedule. The senior supervisor should inform the graduate program committee of absences of more than a month to arrange for another committee member to meet regularly with the student. Students in research (ENGL 899) should give the supervisor a written report about the research at the end of every semester. This is particularly important for those who do not submit chapters of their work. Any changes in direction or new developments should be discussed.

Students may make changes to their supervisory committee when, for instance, the development of a more refined topic indicates a different faculty member would be more appropriate for the committee. Changes made for any reason must be formally approved by the graduate program committee and the dean of graduate studies.

Graduate Courses

ENGL 801-5 The Theory of Literary Criticism

Explores some of the basic theoretical problems involved in the reading and interpretation of literature. May treat, among others, epistemological, intertextual, social, historical, semiotic, gender, and psychological issues.

ENGL 802-5 Theories of Language and Writing

The study of the discursive and/or non-discursive (poetic) uses of language. May include theories and practice of rhetoric and composition.

ENGL 803-5 Literary Movements and Historical Periods

Medievalism, the Renaissance, metaphysical poetry, Neo-classicism, Romanticism, transcendentalism, pre-Raphaelitism, modernism and post-modernism are examples of possible topics.

ENGL 804-5 Studies in Canadian Literature

In addition to particular movements and periods in literatures in Canada, may explore relations between Canadian, Quebec, American, British, or Commonwealth literatures.

ENGL 805-5 The Study of Genre

History and theory of the novel, epic, lyric, poetry, comedy, tragedy, satire, the grotesque and autobiography are among the possible areas of study.

ENGL 806-5 Approaches to Individual Authors

May deal with one or more authors from a particular theoretical perspective.

ENGL 808-5 Theoretical Approaches to print Culture, 1700-1900

An introduction to the history and variety of theoretical approaches to studies of print culture 1700-1900. Students enrolled in the Print Culture 1700-1900 progrm are required to take this course.

ENGL 810-5 Graduate Professional Development Seminar Part I

The Graduate Professional Development Seminar (ENGL 810/811) is required of both MA and PhD students. All incoming students will take 810 in their first year. ENGL 810 has two components. The first component is to introduce students to the basic tools of advanced study and to acquaint them with the kinds of research being done in the department of faculty and graduating students. There will also be workshops on topics such as drafting and submitting proposals, applying for grants, presenting papers, publishing, choosing graduate schools, and employment possibilities, including interview situations. The second component consists of six 2 hour workshops for new teaching assistants which will focus on the teaching of writing in literature courses. Required. Satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

ENGL 811-5 Graduate Professional Development Seminar Part II

Conclusion of 810 consisting of research workshops for students near completion of their research projects. Required. Satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

ENGL 841-5 Directed Readings A
ENGL 842-5 Directed Readings B
ENGL 843-5 Directed Readings C
ENGL 898-0 MA Thesis
ENGL 899-0 PhD Thesis
ENGL 999-0 MA Field Exam

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Index : searchable with the Find function in your web browser Calendar.pdfs Office of the Registrar / SFU
Table of Contents : searchable with the Find function in your web browser Course Database or Course Outlines
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Financial Assistance