Not why study English – if you’re at this webpage, your question may be, Why do a graduate English degree at SFU? Part of the answer lies in the strength of our faculty. SFU's Department of English comprises a vibrant research and teaching community of over 30 faculty members, possessing strengths in major areas of English literature. We currently have particular strengths in 18th-, 19th-, 20th-, and 21st -century literatures in English, and we have maintained our distinctive strength in Canadian and Indigenous literatures. Our curriculum offers a variety of methodological perspectives in fields of theory; print and digital culture; historical, national and geographical literatures; writing and rhetoric. Our M.A. program is designed to provide a critical and comprehensive awareness of English Studies, offering students flexibility in structuring their work and three options for the M.A. Our Ph.D. program is selective; we accept a small number of students whose dissertation proposals match current department areas of interest.

We are also responding to SFU’s Aboriginal Reconciliation Council’s report, Walk this Path With Us, and exploring questions of what Indigenization means for the university, for literary studies, for us as students and faculty who live and work on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. In the coming months and years this will mean thinking about research protocols, curricula and canons, and methodologies as we attempt to shed the legacies of colonialism. The image for this webpage, for example, is a manuscript page from Maria Campbell’s 1973 memoir Halfbreed, whose history was recently brought to light by Ph.D. student Alix Shield, working with Professor Deanna Reder; the full story can be found in their Canadian Literature article here.


Clint Burnham, Professor of English and Chair of Graduate Program