Why study English?

Do you love to read and enjoy writing? Would you like to explore the rich tradition of English literature, from Chaucer up to contemporary fiction? Do you wish that your love of words could help you find a challenging and satisfying career? If so, studying English at UFV is for you.

The study of English can provide many benefits. Today’s graduates must be able to understand, interpret, and respond effectively to a rapidly changing world. Graduates in English acquire this vital background through the program’s emphasis on communication skills, interpretive skills, critical thinking, and cultural awareness.

Meanwhile, honing effective writing skills will help you communicate your thoughts and interpretations with that larger world. The study of critical writing teaches us all how to organize our knowledge, express our thoughts and beliefs, and ask the questions we need answered.

Why should you study English?

 . . . because it will give you lots of options for future employment . . .

 In a special for CNN, acclaimed professor and scholar Michael Berubé offers an answer to the question English grads seem to get asked the most: “What are you going to do with that?!”  Plenty, he argues. See “My View: What Will You Do With an English Degree? Plenty.”  

. . . because “every tech company needs an English major” . . .

Business Insider confirms what we’re increasingly hearing from business leaders and CEOs across North America: companies can teach hard skills; what they need are creative, articulate people who can tell the stories that really drive a company’s success.  Unfortunately for them—but fortunately for us English majors—finding these gifted writers is difficult. See “Why Every Tech Company Needs an English Major.”  

. . . because 93% of business and non-profit leaders confirm the importance of critical thinking and clear communication skills . . .

The overwhelming majority of employers in this sector look for the following skills: critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings.  They agree on the value of the liberal arts in teaching these skills: “80 percent of employers agree that . . . every college student should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.” See this summary of the survey from The Association of American Colleges and Universities.

 . . . because employees who think and write well are an “endangered species”—so you’ll be surviving with the fittest . . .

Business Insider affirms the value of that rare employee who can think and write well.  Citing employment statistics and recent demands by employers for social and emotional intelligence in their new hires, the article explains why a humanities degree can put you ahead. See “11 Reasons to Ignore the Haters and Major in the Humanities.”

  . . . because it will make you and yours happier . . .

Harry Boyte, Director of the Centre for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College, discusses two recent examples of a broader trend to “reconnect education with real-world public work.”  The result?  Happier communities. See “Public Happiness.”

 . . . because employers “want everything”—and you’ll have it all . . .

Here’s another reminder of the range of skills employers are looking for in today’s economy—and we’ve got it all! Experts confirm that “soft skills are the really important ones . . . . writing, speaking, analyzing, problem solving, and the ability to work effectively.”  See “Humanities Degree Provides Excellent Investment Returns.”

 . . . because what we do really matters . . .

The Why Does it Matter? blog is a collaborative effort by students and teachers in the humanities to address the question of why it matters.  While contributors interpret “it” differently, their arguments are thoughtful and compelling. See Why Does It Matter?

 Why earn an English degree at UFV?

Our graduates have gone on to successful professional and academic careers in Canada and throughout the world. Our program’s emphasis on cultural literacy ensures that as a graduate you will be ready to take on leadership roles in today’s increasingly complex, technologically driven, and internationally linked society. Graduates are able to understand and thereby influence cultural change.

UFV offers a growing and dynamic programme featuring a range of first-year, second-year, and senior courses in British, Canadian, and American literature, as well as upper-level courses in genre studies, composition, rhetoric, literary theory, and linguistic history. Our faculty members’ expertise embraces a wide variety of genres and periods, from the Middle Ages to today’s popular culture. The department encourages interdisciplinary studies by allowing students to undertake a project in the area of their choice. Other programmes currently under development include an Applied concentration in English language, and a Teaching English Abroad certificate programme. We also offer a number of online courses.

You can complete a major, minor, or extended minor in English at UFV, or simply take English courses for general interest or as part of another program.

UFV's English program is also excellent preparation for graduate school, UFV's Teacher Education Program, and the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) certificate.

Anything else I should know?

We offer a wide range of first- to fourth-year courses in the major historical periods of English, Canadian, American, and world literature. We also offer advanced courses in cultural studies, genre theory, composition, rhetoric, creative writing, linguistics, English language, and literary theory.

Teaching is our priority at UFV. Our smaller class sizes ensure a lower student-to-instructor ratio than classes at many larger institutions. At the same time, our faculty members are actively engaged in research that continually improves their teaching and exposes students to the most recent scholarship.

When should I apply? What do I need to get in?

Applications for the fall semester should be received by January 31. Applications received after this deadline will still be considered only if space is available in the program. Admission is on a competitive basis, which means that meeting the minimal requirements does not guarantee admission. Specific requirements will be published on the UFV website.

I'm interested. What should I do next?

It’s best to check out our online calendar and read the English section carefully. You can go to the download centre and download the application form. Fill it in and submit it, along with the required documents and the $45 application fee, to the Admissions and Records office at any UFV campus or centre or via the internet at https://ufv.ca/admissions/admissions/apply/.

I'm not sure that this program is for me. Can I speak with someone about my options?

Absolutely. We want to hear from you!  If you’re unsure of your direction, contact Student Services at 1-888-504-7441 to arrange a tour, attend a Becoming a Student info session, connect with an educational advisor, or arrange for career counselling. You can also contact the Arts Advice Centre at 604-557-4028 or contact the English department directly email english@ufv.ca.

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