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Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate Studies in English

Our Honours and BA programs are so designed that you can explore English literature and Cultural Studies in greater depth and detail as you progress from level to level, and, in most cases, in progressively smaller classes. We offer a range of courses at Level 1, all of which will help you to become a better writer and will teach you the conventions of writing literary and cultural criticism. English 1A03 (Literature in English: Shorter Genres) and 1AA3 (Literature in English: Longer Genres) provide an introduction to the major literary forms and to some significant approaches to interpretation, while English 1C06 (A History of English Literature) offers a survey of English literature from its origins to the present. English 1B03 (Cultural Studies and Visual Culture) and 1BB3 (Cultural Studies: History, Theory, Practice) will introduce you to the contemporary discipline of Cultural Studies.

Our Level II and III courses foster a broad understanding of major movements and ideas in Cultural Studies and English literary history. Some of these courses offer focussed investigations of particular authors, periods, or national literatures–of Shakespeare, for example, or Canadian literature–while others explore such genres as the novel or investigate the nature of modern countercultures or gender theory.

At Level IV, our Honours students take true seminars, in each of which a group of students works closely with a faculty member. These seminars, designed to encourage in-depth study and open dialogue, distinguish our Honours programs from most other programs at McMaster and from English programs at many other universities. A wide selection of seminars is offered every year. Recent topics have included Women as Public Intellectuals, Canadian Short Stories, The Witchcraft Controversy, European Romanticism, and The “Oprah Effect”.

Undergraduate Studies in Cultural Studies & Critical Theory

 In recent years, Departments of English around the world have seen an explosion of interest in cultural studies and critical theory. These areas of research offer a different approach to literary studies and have raised a host of new questions.

Without limiting itself to traditional texts, cultural studies examines the conditions of cultural and social life through an analysis of a wide range of cultural and social practices, inquiring into areas such as gender, sexuality and the body, race and ethnicity, mass culture and visual culture. Critical theory emphasizes the development of self-critical, self-reflexive interpretive strategies. Most importantly, both cultural studies and critical theory challenge accepted theories and critical practices in order to open up new ways of thinking and being.

McMaster’s new program in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory (one of the only programs of its kind in Canada) allows students to focus on these exciting interdisciplinary fields. Offered as a 4-year combined honours B.A., Cultural Studies and Critical Theory must be taken with another subject selected from the Faculties of Humanities or Social Sciences.

If you like the sound of courses such as Critical Race Studies, Reading Film, Postcolonial Cultures, Contemporary Youth Culture, and the “Oprah Effect,” consider making this dynamic interdisciplinary program part of your university future.

If you would like to know more about our programs, please feel free to contact our Undergraduate Counsellors:


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