York offers one of the best collections of English programs in the country!

The study of English literature explores literary history for its relation to current culture, re-thinks the dynamics of the book as a visual medium and examines the fundamental changes to knowledge and language created within our gendered, post-colonial world.

We offer a full range of English literature courses from the medieval period to the present, with particular strengths in contemporary poetry, popular literature, Canadian, American, African, South Asia and Caribbean literatures. The program invites you to explore some of the world's greatest literary works while developing critical thinking, reading and writing skills. You can choose from courses in:

  • poetry
  • drama
  • fiction
  • satire
  • folklore
  • literary criticism
  • critical theory
  • gender studies
  • stylistics and poetics
  • comics and cartoons
  • science fiction
  • children's literature
  • travel writing
  • ...and more!

The English Department is the first and best place for considered and disciplined responses to the discourse and images that are shaped by the constantly changing technologies of a word-based world, and it is through the study of English literature that the critical skills necessary for understanding the past and the present are acquired.

Our goal is to provide you with a useful knowledge of literary works, both as art forms and as documents of human behaviour. By studying English literature, you will gain a vision of humanity as expressed in verbal art that crosses boundaries of time and place. Thanks to our location in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, you can take advantage of the city's wide range of literary events including the Harbourfront Reading Series and Word on the Street.

  • Attend the Canadian Writers in Person series. Part of a first-year course, this popular series will introduce you to some of the best contemporary Canadian fiction and poetry. It's a unique opportunity to quiz the authors who pen the very works you're studying.

You may also be interested in a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) or Teaching English as an International Language (D-TEIL).

Possible Career Paths: 

English programs offer you the opportunity to develop the critical thinking and communications skills that will be useful in throughout your career and which will help prepare you for careers such as:

  • editor
  • writer
  • public relations officer
  • media specialist

You are required to provide official evidence of academic achievement in secondary education. This can be demonstrated through:

  • Final grades under the Ontario curriculum (obtained through correspondence, night school or through TVO)
  • Credentials through other curricula, such as results from Advanced Placement (AP) or Advanced-level courses in the General Certificate of Education (Gene). (Students may register to sit for the AP and GCE examinations as private candidates.)

In the absence of final grades in courses:

  • You must submit the results of standardized tests such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) with a minimum of 550 (Reading) and 550 (Math) or a composite American College Testing (ACT) score of 24.
  • Your application will be reviewed by an admissions sub-committee. If admitted, you will not be eligible for entrance scholarships. You will be considered for continuing student scholarships at the end of your first year of study, if you satisfy those criteria.
You may also be required to provide proof of language proficiency. You will be considered for entrance scholarships on the basis of your overall averages in the six 4U/4M (Ontario curriculum) or equivalent courses.

We are adding to our database of admission requirements by country. Please check back in October for additional admission requirements by country. General requirements are currently available by country — note that program-specific requirements may apply in addition to general requirements.