Master of Arts (MA)

Graduate Courses: MA students complete six three-credit hour (ENGL 5000 or higher) courses.

Language Requirement: MA graduates must have demonstrated proficiency in one language other than English. Students can fulfill the second language requirement in several ways. The most common is attaining a grade of C or better in a university-level course or courses approved by the Graduate Coordinator. Another is passing an approved language examination (such as the placement exam offered by Dalhousie’s French Department). Students who command strong proficiency in a second language may also appeal to the Graduate Committee for exemption from formal testing or course work.

Professional Development: MA students benefit from a number of mandatory and optional workshops offered over the course of the academic year. Beginning with principles and practices of effective teaching, professional development workshops also cover topics such as public speaking and paper presentation, career options and the job search, and writing grant proposals.

Developing skills in teaching, presenting, and professional collaboration, many MA students are also employed as Teaching Assistants, usually for first-year courses. Though TAs may take on a variety of tasks, most lead tutorials, grade and comment on student essays, hold individual meetings with students, and sometimes lecture or lead class discussion.


The thesis is integral to Dalhousie’s English MA, and all MA students must complete one to graduate. Students should discuss thesis topics with potential supervisors by the beginning of January, and have an agreeable supervisor in place by the end of the month. Adjunct professors from other Departments and universities in the Halifax area may also be considered as co-supervisors. A 1000-word Thesis Prospectus outlining the project and including a brief review of current scholarship as well as a description of the approach must be approved by the supervisor and submitted for Graduate Committee approval by mid-February.

The thesis may take the form of a research thesis or scholarly edition thesis, and must demonstrate some mastery in academic writing and advanced research. Documentation must follow the latest edition of The MLA Handbook, and the thesis must conform to the most recent Faculty of Graduate Studies formatting requirements. Examples of past theses are available in the Department, and recent theses are available through DalSpace. More information on thesis requirements and expectations can be found on the program website.

ENGL 8000.00 Thesis Prospectus is mandatory for all MA students.