Master of Arts (MA)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Creative and curious individuals seeking a two-year thesis based degree will find the English program stimulating, challenging and rewarding. The program appeals to students interested in gaining a deeper understanding of topics in English, a more rigorous set of research and writing skills, and wishing to complete a longer creative or research project. Students learn from distinguished faculty members in a range of fields, including creative writing. Many of our prize-winning graduates have gone on to publish widely; others have gone on to do PhDs and other professional programs nationally and internationally, as well as into successful careers in publishing, business, government and creative industries.

Completing this program

  • Core Course: Graduate Pro-seminar on critical skills and professional issues in graduate-level literary study.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original thesis.


  • Literature in English (a Creative Writing option is available within this specialization)


Editing, publishing, law school and PhD studies, archival work, educational software, post-secondary teaching, college, university, government administration and policy, communications, technical writing, creative writing, digital and online publishing, non-profit organizations and NGOs. A thesis-based master’s degree in English is a good way to go on to a PhD. 

A thesis-based master’s degree in English will give you the pre-requisite for a PhD, and is also often a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Six courses at the English 600 or 700 level beyond the Honours BA.

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Two years full-time; four years maximum


A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

Virtual Tour

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Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Placeholder Profile Image

    Pamela Banting

    Accepting Inquiries
    Environmental Literature, Nature Writing, Eco-Theory and Ecocriticism, Anthropocene Studies, Petrocultural Studies, Psychogeography, The Art of Walking, Literature in/and Motion
  2. white woman with brown hair and teal cardigan

    Karen Bourrier

    Accepting Inquiries
    Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, Digital Humanities, Disability Studies
  3. Dr Anthony Camara

    Dr. Anthony Camara

    Accepting Inquiries
    Popular Genres of Literature
  4. Dr. Clarke on a Mountaintop

    Michael Clarke

    Seeking Students
    U.S. Literature, Cultural Studies, Theories of Size and Scale, Theories of the Body, Gender Studies, Democracy Theory, Post-Marxist theory, Postcolonial Theory
  5. A picture of Kit Dobson

    Kit Dobson

    Accepting Inquiries
    Literatures in Canada
  6. Placeholder Profile Image

    Jim Ellis

    Accepting Inquiries
    Renaissance literature
  7. Faye Halpern

    Faye Halpern

    Accepting Inquiries
    Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Narrative Theory, Pedagogy, History of the Discipline
  8. Placeholder Profile Image

    Clara A.B. Joseph

    Accepting Inquiries
    Creative Writing (Poetry, Non-Fiction Prose, Fiction); the Global Early Modern Period, Postcolonial Studies; South Asian Studies; Literary and Cultural Theory; Church History; Christianity
  9. Derritt Mason

    Derritt Mason

    Accepting Inquiries
  10. Suzette Mayr

    Suzette Mayr


Admission Requirements


A minimum admission grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale over the final 60 units (10 full-course equivalents) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A completed four-year undergraduate program, or equivalent, with a Major in English Literature or in a closely related discipline.

Work samples

A 5-10 page sample of critical writing. For creative writing applicants, an additional 10-page sample of creative writing.


A statement of intent

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For admission on September 1:

Canadians and permanent residents - apply by Dec. 15 | submit all supporting documents by Jan. 10

International students - apply by Dec. 15 | submit all supporting documents by Jan. 10

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

Department of English

Social Sciences Building, Room 1152
618 Campus Place NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the departmental website

Faculty of Arts

University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

Visit the Faculty of Arts website