Undergraduate programs

The Department of English Language & Literature offers a number of undergraduate degree options. The Chair of the Department, James Allard, is happy to answer questions about any of our undergraduate degree options; email jallard@brocku.ca

English Language & Literature

The Honours degree in English Language and Literature is our flagship degree–the degree option that the majority of our students pursue. It offers students a wide range of courses in different historical periods, genres, and theoretical approaches. Its list requirements mean that students are well prepared for graduate studies in English (see calendar and list courses links below). Literature degrees are also available as three-year Pass degrees or as Combined degrees with another area of study (Honours or Pass available).

English & Creative Writing

Dr. Natalee Caple, Professor, author of “In Calamity’s Wake,” published by Harper Collins. Dr. Adam Dickinson, Professor, author of “The Polymers,” nominated for 2013 Governor General’s Award.

FAQs about the English & Creative Writing Program

The program is a 20-credit Honours program. Of those 20 credits, 11 will be taken in the English department, including a first-year course (ENGL 1F91, ENGL 1F95, or ENGL 1F97), a number of English literature credits, and a number of credits in Creative Writing courses. In their second year, students are required to take ENCW 2P72: The Creative Writer, a lecture-based course on the practice of creative writing in Canada.

Also starting in second year, students will take workshop courses in Creative Writing; these courses are low enrolment in order to enable a comprehensive and intensive focus on student writing and editing. Continuing in third and fourth year, students will take the remainder of their credits through a combination of literature courses, workshop courses, and lecture-based courses on Creative Writing. Students will also be required to complete a number of breadth requirements (usually taken in first year) and will have the opportunity to take a number of elective credits.

Students wanting to pursue a degree in English and Creative Writing are admitted in their second year of study through a portfolio process.

Students interested in this program should make an application through OUAC (Ontario Universities Application Centre) to Brock University for the “Faculty of Humanities.”

In the winter term of your first year at Brock, you will need to submit a writing portfolio (due in early March), which will be assessed by Creative Writing teaching faculty; students will find out in mid-April if they have been accepted into the program based on a positive assessment of their portfolio.

Students interested in applying for the English & Creative Writing program are strongly encouraged to join the Brock University Creative Writers’ Club in their first year, which will provide them with many opportunities to develop and fine-tune their portfolios.  To find out more about the Brock University Creative Writer’s Club visit their Facebook page.

Students are also encouraged to attend an information session about the program held in late January of their first year, in order to find out about teaching faculty in the program.

In order to keep the enrollment in workshop classes low, the department is planning to accept 20-25 students into the English & Creative Writing program each year.

Students who are not accepted into the English & Creative Writing program in their second year are advised to do a number of things:

  1. Arrange to meet with one of the teaching faculty in the program to get feedback on your portfolio and find out what might be done to improve it.
  2.  Meet with an academic advisor to develop a plan for possibly entering the program in third year.
  3. Register for ENCW 2P72 in second year, as this class is open to all English majors.
  4. Develop a “plan B” option for graduating with a degree in English Language & Literature, just in case you are unable to enter the E&CW program. An academic advisor can help you to make sure your “plan B” option is viable.

Writing Portfolio Instructions:

Due on or before Friday, March 1, 2019. Submit an electronic application to engl@brocku.ca, with the subject line “Creative Writing Admissions Committee”

The portfolio — addressed to the Creative Writing Admissions Committee — should include the following:

Cover letter:

  • Please indicate your name, student number, and contact information (mailing address, phone, email).
  •  Status at Brock (e.g. major, year of study).
  • Number of years you have been working on creative writing.
  • Any previous creative writing workshops, courses, publications etc.
  • Statement of personal goals for the program (e.g. Why would you like to enroll in this program?  What do you hope to achieve?)

Writing sample:

  • 10 pages of your best writing.
  • You may submit writing in one or more of the following genres: creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry (your total submission must not exceed 10 pages)
  • You may submit as many or as few pieces as you like (provided you adhere to the page limits). For example, you may submit as few as 10 short pieces (one per page), or one or more longer pieces totaling up to 10 pages.
  • Font, spacing, and other formal concerns are at your discretion.

All applicants will be notified about the status of their application in mid-April.

Writing, Rhetoric, & Discourse Studies

Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse Studies (WRDS) is a cross disciplinary program that focuses on the theory and practice of situated discursive production. It incites students to critically examine and produce texts as provocative historical, theoretical, and material objects. In other words, the WRDS Program invites students to explore the ways that—as government officials, hip-hop stars, journalists, bloggers, editors, talk show hosts, or private individuals writing letters to editors—writers change the world.