Courses in English, Language of Instruction and Literature, pursue two general goals: competence in the language of instruction and exploration of literary heritage. Achievement of these goals is intended to bring the students to an appropriate level of proficiency in the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Building on the skills developed by students on completion of secondary school, the program of English courses emphasizes written production and reading comprehension while at the same time consolidating listening and speaking skills. Competence in the language of instruction will be achieved through the regular and continuing employment of the rules of writing and speaking and the production of texts supported by reading and the study of literature. Students will also be encouraged to develop an appreciation of literature by becoming acquainted with a number of significant literary works representative of various genres and periods and expressing a variety of literary themes. Both the aesthetic and cultural value of these texts and their formal aspects will be the objects of study.

Entering students who did not graduate from an English high school are asked to write a brief placement essay before the start of the semester. The results of this essay allow the Department to place the student in one of the following courses depending on their level of ability in English: Remedial Activities for Secondary V English Language Arts designed primarily for students who need further intensive English language instruction or Introduction to College English.

In order to fulfill the requirements for the D.E.C., students will need to have completed successfully the following courses:

603-101-MQ: Introduction to College English
603-BE?-LE: (code varies by program)
603-102-MQ: Literary Genres
603-103-MQ: Literary Themes

A passing grade in Introduction to College English (603-101-MQ) is necessary before a student can proceed to more advanced courses. In addition, students are required to take their program- specific English course before attempting a Literature course, i.e. 603-102-MQ or 603-103-MQ. Students wishing to take two English courses in a single semester must have the permission of the Academic Dean.

NOTE: All students must pass the Ministerial Examination of College English in order to qualify for a D.E.C. at this and any other English language CEGEP.



This is an intensive non-credit course designed for students whose placement tests indicate that they need intensive training in the basic elements of English discourse. Through individual and group exercises, students will learn to develop their vocabulary and sentence structure, to recognize parts of speech and their function, and to understand and respond to various forms of oral and written English. Upon successful completion of this course, students will enroll in Introduction to College English.
*Non-program credits



The objective of the course is to enable students to recognize the structure and ideas in these works and to produce written and oral work that is clear, well organized, grammatically correct, and effective. The emphasis is on the drafting, editing, and polishing of about eight short to medium-length compositions. Students will devote three hours per week to practical writing skills and one hour per week to theory.



The "post" in postcolonial means both "after" and "against". That is, postcolonial writing is made up of works that come after or are resistant to colonial rule in such countries as India, South Africa, or Australia. This course is designed as both an introduction to postcolonial literary theory and a brief survey of various contemporary postcolonial texts by such writers as Salman Rushdie, Chinua Achebe, J. M. Coetzee, Shani Mootoo, and Peter Carey. We will be exploring such theoretical issues as nationalism(s), Orientalism and the exoctic, hybrid identities, and the construction of home and exile in postcolonial literature.

603-102-MQ LITERATURE INTO FILM (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

This course is designed to study certain works of literature, to study films made of these works, and to compare the work on the printed page with the work on the screen. The student is expected to learn the vocabulary of film criticism, as well as that of literary criticism.

603-102-MQ INTRODUCTION TO POETRY (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

Samuel Taylor Coleridge defined poetry as "the best words in the best order." This course is designed to introduce students to the ways in which poets express ideas and emotions by choosing and organizing images and words. The students will analyze a selection of poems of diverse genres from various historical periods and design a project which reflects their appreciation of a particular poet or poetic form.

603-102-MQ SHORT FICTION (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

"Nature, not art, makes us all storytellers," writes critic Barbara Hardy. "Daily and nightly we devise fictions and chronicles, calling some of them daydreams or dreams, some of them nightmares, some of them truths, records, reports, and plans. Some of them we call, or refuse to call, lies." This course introduces the student to a wide and entertaining selection of short narratives from a variety of times and cultures.

603-102-MQ PERIOD LITERATURE - GENRE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

This course will focus on works from a single genre of a specific literary period. Examples of literary period include the Renaissance, the British Romantic period, the Victorian period, and Modernism.

603-102-MQ LITERARY NON-FICTION (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

The focus of this course is the analysis of non-fiction texts, as well as the recent history of publishing and the literary marketplace, and the historical and cultural context of literary non-fiction from the 1960s onward. We will begin with an excerpt from Truman Capote’s non-fiction novel, “In Cold Blood”, which heralded the current interest in literary non-fiction. Students will question the concepts of truth and non-truth, fiction and non-fiction. The primary texts will be examples of the subgenres of memoir/autobiography, nature writing, personal essay, literary journalism, and others.

603-102-MQ MAJOR AUTHOR: GENRE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

A detailed study of the work of a single author (or combination of authors) from the perspective of his or her treatment of a genre such as the novel, the short story, poetry or drama. Choice of author(s) may vary from semester to semester depending on instructor.

603-102-MQ DETECTIVE FICTION (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

This course examines the development of the modern mystery story. The first few meetings deal with the history of the “tale of ratiocination”, the Gothic horror story, the thriller, the murder GENERAL EDUCATION COURSES 27 ENGLISH GENERAL EDUCATION mystery, and the spy novel. Subsequent classes are devoted to a study of four or five examples by writers such as Poe, Doyle, Chesterton, Rohmer, Christie, Sayers, Innes, Hammet, and Chandler.

603-102-MQ GENRE IN CANADIAN LITERATURE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

An exploration into the nature and varieties of one or more genres of Canadian literature and their relationship to literary and historical contexts. At the discretion of the instructor, course material will include the systematic study of such genres as poetry, the short story, the novella, the novel, radio and stage plays, travel writing, etc. It may also consider such genre-related elements as the satiric, the comic, the documentary, the gothic and the fantastic.

603-102-MQ POPULAR LITERATURE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

Changes in our work, family and society are reflected in the popular works produced in each era. This course examines the development of adventure, horror, romance and other popular genres. Students will be encouraged to both question the functions of popular literature in our society and to apply the techniques of literary analysis to their favorite books.


Plays are not really literature: they are scripts. From ritual to documentary, from ancient Greece to contemporary Canada, word and gesture are inseparable. The course develops ways of reacting to plays as physical events, explores a variety of plays through live readings, and gives a history and description of the principal forms of theatre.

603-102-MQ WOMEN IN LITERATURE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

This course critically examines the tradition in women's writing, deconstructs the pervasive images of women in literature, and analyzes the ways in which women use language to define their experiences. A variety of works from the Middle Ages to the 21st century by Canadian, American and British women will be studied. The course will include two novels - Jane Eyre and The Secret Llife of Bees - as well as a play by Susan Gaspell, poetry by Margaret Atwook, Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, among others, and essays by Virginia Woolf and Maya Angelou.

603-102-MQ POSTMODERNISM (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

This course is a survey of contemporary Canadian and non-Canadian postmodern texts. We will consider the different meanings of postmodernism, using the texts to develop this understanding. Focus will be on works that break classifications or boundaries - between fiction and nonfiction, author and narrator, the concept of truth in history, gender, and so on.

603-102-MQ LITERARY LAUGHTER (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

This course is an exploration of literary humour as a genre – that is, an exploration of what makes literary humour distinct both from other forms of humour (such as stand-up, physical humour, practical jokes, cinematic humour, etc.) and from other forms of literature (such as tragedy, autobiography, the short story, etc.). Although literary humour borrows from and insinuates itself into many other genres, our starting assumption will be that there are threads of techniques and traditions that can be traced as they weave through the comic works from the Western world – and that these will allow us to develop an accurate and insightful understanding of how literary humour began, developed, and continues to change today.

603-102-MQ SPORTS LITERATURE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

In this class, students will be given the opportunity to explore the genre of sports literature, predominantly through short fiction, essays, and some films such as documentaries and features. These modes will be used to analyze the literary conventions within this genre, on a variety of sports ranging from the traditional team sports to non-traditional, extreme sports.

603-102-MQ TEEN NOVEL (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

This course will examine novels written for, and marketed to young adults. These are often problem narratives, with characters negotiating issues faced by teenagers: identity, expression (voice and silence), relationships, materialism, sexuality, racism, difference, bullying, delinquency, and crime. This genre of “young adult novel” is thus problem-based and plot-driven. To appeal to young adults, authors much write shorter, more direct narratives than they would for the adult market. This genre has been highly profitable for the publishing business since the turn of the twentieth century, and so this publishing history will be studied as a context to this course’s reading material. Students will be encouraged to question, for instance, the changes in the genre over the century, the transformation in teenage identity, and the effectiveness of adults writing novels for teenagers. Using these young adult novels as a vector, this course will trace the history of teenagers and how popular fiction (as part of popular culture) has influenced our ideas about the teenage girl and boy.

603-102-MQ SCIENCE FICTION (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

Science fiction is a continuation and blend of Utopian literature and satire, of mythology and fantasy, of the grotesque, the millennial, and the apocalyptic. In a word, it is visionary. This course not only explores how and why science fiction is important, but also how skillful and crafted science fiction writing can be. Readings are from Wells, Verne, Clarke, Le Guin, Niven, Asimov, Ellison, Anderson, Bradbury and Varley.

603-102-MQ GRAPHIC NOVELS (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3 CR

This course is an in-depth study of the graphic novel as a genre that sprang from unlikely historical origins. Lectures will be an examination of visual rhetoric in literature, history, journalism and popular culture. How did this genre evolve from simple line drawings and superhero fantasy to become accepted by mainstream society? The class will analyze examples using theories to attempt to legitimize graphic novels as literature. Other topics for this class include: gender stereotypes, sexuality, war, racism, and drug abuse. How are cultural icons developed and how do they evolve? What are the thematic layers to these characters and their stories?

603-102-MQ WRITING TO EXPLORE GENRE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

“Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.” In the tradition of “less is more”, this course explores three short genres through writing: the short-short story, creative nonfiction, and the ten-minute play. Students will analyze published works from each genre in order to gain an understanding of conventions, literary terms, and rhetorical devices. Students will then have the opportunity to reinforce their understanding of each genre by producing original written work. Small-group workshop sessions will allow peers to give and receive constructive feedback and engage in active discussions of the writing process.

603-102-MQ ARTHURIAN LITERATURE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

“The Arthurian tales, that mixture of myth, adventure, love story, enchantment, tragedy, live in his work as the essence of medieval romance, yet always with a contemporary relevance “ (preface to The Morte D’Arthur). Knights in armor, kings and queens, swords and chivalry may seem very remote to us today. We are, however, still concerned with issues of true love, friendship, a good society and the balance between individual and societal rights and responsibilities. In this course we will trace the evolution of the story of King Arthur, and its origins in history and myth. We will look at its contemporary face and explore the continuing relevance and meaning of King Arthur.


603-103-MQ THE HUMAN JOURNEY (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

This course will examine literature relating to the archetypes of childhood, adulthood, old age and death with particular emphasis on the first two. Through a discussion of poems, myths and short fiction students will have an opportunity to reflect upon these periods of human life. In the analysis of the texts the archetypal and psychological approaches of literary criticism will be employed. Also, in order to enhance students’ knowledge of themselves and of the literary forms being studied, there will be a creative component involving keeping and processing a journal and writing poems and short stories.

603-103-MQ PERIOD LITERATURE: THEMES (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

This course will focus on thematic concerns of a specific literary period. Examples of literary period include the Renaissance, the British Romantic period, the Victorian period, and Modernism.


This course explores the 19th Century portrayal of the vampire as a theme in fiction, taking into account the romantic background as well as the historical context, particularly Victorian London, of this intriguing figure. Students will explore the origins – dare I say bloodlines — of contemporary vampires, such as those found on TV, in films and popular novels. The focus of the course will be on the Victorian novels: Carmilla, by Sheridan LeFanu, and of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

603-103-MQ ANTI-HEROES AND ANTI-HEROINES (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

From Batman to Walter White, we have long been fascinated by the anti-hero and the anti-heroine. Neither wholly good nor evil, the anti-hero usually does the right thing, but often for the wrong reasons—or vice-versa. In this course, we will study several incarnations of the anti-hero in contemporary literature, in texts by authors such as Poe, Atwood, Oates, Moore, Bardwell, Kureishi, Ishiguro, and Nolan.


This course attempts to acquaint students with Canada’s cultural diversity, and the need to come to terms with it, through a reading of texts written by Canadians of French, Italian, Jewish, aboriginal, black, Chinese, Japanese, Hungarian, Mennonite, Caribbean, South American, and other origins. The texts will include novels, stories, poems, and plays by both men and women writers.

603-103-MQ MANY VOICES (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

This course will attempt to reveal the wealth and complexity of Native Writing in Canada. Among issues covered are Aboriginal rights, family relationships, and the environment. The course includes works by women and men of many tribal affiliations and from various geographic regions of Canada. Their many voices are heard in a fascinating selection of songs, short stories, poems, plays and essays.

603-103-MQ GOTHIC LITERATURE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

This course is concerned with terror and mystery in Romantic literature. We study the significance of the Gothic, discover how it originated, and estimate what it adds to our enjoyment of reading. Course content includes works by Horace Walpole, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, S. T. Coleridge, R. L. Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, A. Conan Doyle, E. A. Poe and other writers.

603-103-MQ MYTH AND LITERATURE (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

The study of myths is the study of beginnings, of gods and demons, of heroes and villains. In this course we explore the patterns of action, conflict, character types and themes which constitute myth. The influence of C. G. Jung and Joseph Campbell on the psychological and sometimes mystical interpretations of myth is also examined.

603-103-MQ MAJOR AUTHOR: THEMES (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

A detailed study of the work of a single author (or combinations of authors) from a thematic perspective. Choice of author(s) may vary from semester to semester depending on instructor preference.


A systematic study of a single theme or cluster of related themes which can be traced through a selection of literary works by Canadians. The choice of theme(s) is left to the discretion of the instructor and may differ from semester to semester. Students will be asked to apply a critical approach to such themes as childhood, initiation, love, friendship, violence, gender, race, politics, heroism, nature, myth, madness, etc.

603-103-MQ ECOCRITICISM (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

One of today’s major concerns is the well-being and perhaps the very survival of the environment. This course presents the diverse voices and forms of environment writing. It draws from the rich variety of classic sources such as Thoreau, Carson, and Mowat, and from contemporary authors such as Lopez, Ehrlich and Dillard. It will explore themes which cover over 200 years of concern for the world in which we live. The text will include essays, articles, short stories, and poems by explorers, naturalists, scientists, poets, philosophers, and fiction writers.


This course is an overview of the themes and values in Canadian and American western literature: good vs. evil, the passing edenic wilderness, adventure, cultural and political isolation. Arguably inescapable for writers from and about the West is the myth of the Western, which will be our point of departure. We will then trace developments in western writing, culture, human geography, and history. In studying these developments and their historical/cultural contexts, we will look at the once-marginalized and now often best-selling voices of Amerindian, Asian-American, and other minorities. While many stories read the West as a land of possibility, others see its lost potential.


This course shows first that children’s books are literature and should be judged by the same criteria as adult fiction and, second that a study of children’s literature and its themes helps us better understand the psychology of a child and the values of a given society. The student will read a wide range of texts from Aesop and the brothers Grimm to contemporary writers.

603-103-MQ TRAVEL LITERATURE IN ENGLISH (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

This course examines how the act of travelling has impacted the literary output in English. This course offers a selection of texts that experiments with travel writing, and in doing so, tackles concepts as diverse as pilgrimage, colonial gaze, self-referential criticism, as well as representations of otherness in English Literature. We’ll read and discuss different types of classic and contemporary travel writing by greatest travel writers through diverse temporal and geographical settings.

603-103-MQ QUEERS, FREAKS, AND ALIENS (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

This course will focus on thematic concerns of gender and sexuality in literary works. We will subject conventional notions of masculinity, femininity, and heterosexuality to theoretical analysis.

603-103-MQ LITERATURE OF THE SEA (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

Well into the present era, the terrors and mysteries of the deep both have been and are still very real, and these dangers have left their marks on the literary traditions of every culture. Around the world, the ocean has held a power over the imagination of humanity in a way that no other element of nature can. Its seemingly infinite depths have come to signify all that is unknown to us. It has been personified as a sullen, unpredictable pagan god; it has come to symbolize the inscrutable mind of the omnipotent Judeo-Christian deity. Regardless of the century, the oceans have always seemed to hide a dangerous fate just below their collective surfaces, whether it be a great white whale or a whisper-silent Soviet attack submarine. Indeed, the figure of the ship itself has come to provide the perfect allegory for human civilization set adrift in an endless, indifferent cosmos. This course will explore the poems, short stories, novels, even films that take the sea as their central theme.

603-103-MQ THEMES IN DRAMA (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

This course will provide students with an introduction to theatre history and to some of the important themes in plays of various historical epochs, from Ancient Greece to the contemporary dramatic scene. Our first emphasis will be upon exploring themes through the critical and literary analyses of the plays themselves, but recognizing the essential differences between drama and other forms of literature, i.e., poetry or fiction, other important focuses of the course will be: live readings, aspects of performance and staging, the socially created meaning of theatre, including interaction between audience and stage, and the connections between theatre and political and religious institutions.

603-103-MQ THE POETRY OF POPULAR MUSIC (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

Literary poetry and popular music have co-existed since at least the sixteenth century. So-called “broadside ballads” predate the works of Shakespeare and Shakespeare himself incorporated songs into his comedies. Other famous poets (Robert Burns, William Blake, Langston Hughes, etc.) have written or inspired songs and many popular songwriters (Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Gord Downie, etc.) have written or been inspired by poetry. This course examines poetry and popular music from a thematic perspective to discover their mutual influence within a specific time period. Along with poetry drawn from such traditions as the ballad, the lyric, beat poetry, and slam poetry, the course will examine popular songs in a range of genres such as folk, blues, rock, pop, hip-hop, and other musical forms. Some attention may also be given to representations of popular music and artists in literary poetry and fiction.

603-103-MQ TIME, MEMORY, AND WITNESSING (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

The course explores the interplay between three fundamental components of being human: time, memory, and witnessing. Students will read a variety of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, to examine these components and investigate questions such as: what are the effects of time on memory? Does truth depend on witnessing? Is there a shared understanding of these components?

603-103-MQ SPEAK OF THE DEVIL (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

“With his rebellious attitude, varied monikers, self-appointed titles, and dizzying array of costume changes, the devil is pretty much a quintessential diva — just with a few added demands.” A fascinating and controversial figure, the devil has enjoyed a multitude of incarnations in books, poems, short stories, graphic novels, music, and film. This course explores the many faces of the devil as he is represented in various creative works, from Milton’s Paradise Lost to Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel The Sandman.

603-103-MQ VIRAL THINKING (2-2-3) 60 HRS / 2 1⁄3CR

This class will explore a variety of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, to examine the concept of viral thinking and its related themes. We will explore the following questions (among others) in literature: How do new ideas and beliefs get disseminated? Who can and cannot disseminate new ideas and beliefs? How do these ideas catch on and become part of popular thought? What are the results and consequences if people do not adhere to the dominant belief system? What if an individual or group is in opposition to these commonly held beliefs?


Confessional poets emerged in North America in the late 1950s, recounting private experiences previously considered unsuitable for conventional poetry. In this course students will read and respond to confessional poetry on a range of previously taboo subjects, such as mental illness, addiction, and sexuality, from authors such as Plath, Sexton, Lowell, Snodgrass, Cohen, Peacock and MacEwan. Students will have the opportunity to experiment with poetic forms in a supportive and non-judgemental environment. As a result, students will analyze how form impacts the reader’s response and the poet’s message, considering whether unconventional themes can be contained within conventional forms, or more experimental forms?


These English courses have three purposes: to improve the student's English reading and writing skills, to develop the student's mastery of the language of a particular program, and to further the student's ability to read and respond to literature. They are all 60 hour, 2 credit courses. The following program-specific English courses are offered and are usually taken in the student's second semester.

603-BEP-LE : English for Special Care Counselling

603-BEM-LE : English for AMT and CIS

603-BES-LE : English for Science and Computer Science and Mathematics

603-BEK-LE : English for Social Sciences

603-BEL-LE : English for the Arts

603-BEN-LE : English for Nursing

603-BET-LE :  English for Languages and Communication

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