Our department not only takes great pride in its students’ accomplishments while they are in our program, but also in the productive, successful and fulfilling careers they build after they have graduated from our program.
Indeed, those of our graduates who wish to pursue a career in academia are very successful in winning external awards and scholarships, as well as securing a place as doctoral candidates in the leading PhD programs across the country. Those who pursue careers beyond the academy prove how versatile and highly valued the Master of Arts (MA) in English continues to be in a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive global job market.
Our graduate students have launched successful careers in the publishing industry, education and government, the media and entertainment industry, the information technology sector, law, journalism, the business sector and much more.
The Department of English and Film Studies is the ideal program to obtain a master's degree. Upon entering the MA program, I was immediately embraced by the PhD students. They were incredibly helpful, willing to discuss classes and research, and assist with my move to Waterloo. A master's degree is incredibly rigorous, and on account of the demanding workload, often times students tend to isolate themselves. Yet, in this department, the PhD students created a sense of community for the MA students; they planned social events, and maintained a constant outlet for kind and compassionate communication. I received astounding support and genuine care from the students in the department, and formed friendships that I know are long lasting. The Department of English and Film Studies is not only able to offer a graduate degree, but also a community of scholars who are willing to help and guide new students along the path of success.
The Department of English and Film Studies offers a variety of interdisciplinary courses that cater to students from a variety of backgrounds. My peers and I were excited to attend classes and to discuss the material together afterwards. Each course was personally enjoyable and academically helpful.
Even with their demanding schedules, faculty assisted me with developing my own research, determining my future plans, and even offering personal guidance. These professors are truly exemplary and display genuine empathy and care for the graduate school experience. Graduation is bittersweet; I am excited to complete my degree, but am sad to leave such a warm environment.
In 2014, I undertook a one-year master's program in English and Film Studies, with a Major Research Paper component in the summer, and it was both highly educational and extremely enjoyable. The faculty are outstanding academics, many of whom made time to mentor me on my course work, as well as for the purposes of PhD and scholarship applications. I was familiarized with new fields and ideas as well as encouraged in my own research and development as a scholar. I found the community fostered by my fellow graduate students at Laurier to be tight-knit and supportive, and the relationships among myself, my peers, and department faculty continue even now that I have moved on to pursue further studies.
When I first applied to Laurier's Master of Arts program in the English and Film Studies department, I was looking for direction. I did not know what path my career should follow, and after four years of undergrad, establishing study, research and writing habits that had served me well, I didn't want to throw all of those skills out the window. My MA year ended up being the most enjoyable of my academic career. Getting to engage with my fellow graduate students in small classes driven by focused study and discussion, I revelled in the experience. The opportunity to work as a teaching assistant gave me some much needed work experience while simultaneously offsetting the costs of being in school, and it was cool to help teach a class that had sparked my interest in Film Studies as a first-year student at Laurier four years earlier. I do not think that my career would have taken off the way it did had it not been for the skills and confidence that this program fostered in me.
I often describe my experience in the English MA program at Laurier as a changing point in my life. I was inspired and challenged by the faculty and my fellow students, learning to approach texts and the world around me with an ever-vigilant critical eye. The level of education was top-notch, and the small class sizes allowed my cohort to grow together, getting to know one another and our individual interests, expanding our knowledge bases, and engaging intellectually in a unique and invaluable way. I chose the program because of its focus on gender, and, as I have continued on as a feminist scholar I greatly appreciate the groundwork that the program laid for my current studies.
The MA in English at Laurier, was an amazing program that prepared for me for a career in transmedia, working with literary texts, films, and other digital media, such as video games. Since graduating, I have gone on to work as an in-house editor in children's publishing, as well as working independently to make my own award-nominated video games and to write about video games for a variety of websites and magazines, including Playboy. The skills I learned at Laurier were no doubt beneficial, but it was the confidence the professors there gave me that helped me go on to pursue the jobs and work that I love. Laurier helped me follow my dreams by giving me the support I needed to believe in myself.
The MA program at Laurier was invaluable for me. Beyond the enriching, challenging classes and the mentorship and support of professors, the program helped me refine my skills as a writer, researcher, and critical thinker. I also gained valuable experience through the opportunity to teach as a tutorial instructor, which helped me develop in my professional career.
Laurier's master's in English program gave me the flexibility I craved to pursue a variety of literary interests while developing marketable skills and gaining a competitive degree. The interdisciplinary nature of the program and its course-based approach allowed me to explore different areas of research, resulting in a truly fulfilling and challenging experience. I honed my presentation skills, enhanced my research skills, challenged my critical thinking skills, and finely tuned my communication skills. In effect, my MA was the perfect blend of what are commonly called "soft" and "hard" skills.
In addition, I participated in the professional placement option offered at Laurier. This opportunity enabled me to apply the skills I learned in the classroom in a real-work setting, learning how an English degree can translate into the workplace. My placement at The New Quarterly (TNQ) gave me a taste of working in literary publishing and expanded my non-profit publicity acumen. I also picked up a suite of new skills which made me more marketable to employers upon graduation. I am ecstatic to relay that since my placement ended, I have been able to continue my involvement with TNQ in the role of Publicity Director.
Catherine works as Marketing, Recruitment and Outreach Officer at Renison University College, affiliated with the University of Waterloo, and volunteers as Publicity Director for The New Quarterly, one of Canada's leading literature magazines.
My time spent working at The New Quarterly has been valuable to my career development and academic learning. Getting the opportunity to learn and try out different forms of writing such as blogging helped me feel more versatile in my writing and communication skills outside of the academic sphere. The administrative and computer skills I developed during this position have helped me feel confident when applying to office and communications jobs and have given me a good glimpse into how small publishing companies operate. It was interesting to learn about the business and marketing side of small, non-profit magazines like The New Quarterly. I think the Professional Skills placement is an important option to offer future MA students at Laurier. I really enjoyed expanding my skills outside of academia and gaining important training that will aid me in my job search. It was valuable getting to talk to professionals in this field and how they acquired their current positions.
My time with Laurier's Department of Communications, Public Affairs and Marketing (CPAM) has taught me a great deal about communications writing, correct grammar and style, media relations, social media, graphic design, website content, and digital marketing. I was so thrilled when the placement option became available, and my experience absolutely exceeded my expectations. I hope the placement will continue to be an option for future MA students, as it has given me the wonderful opportunity to take the skills and knowledge that I learned in school and utilize them in a workplace setting. I am also pleased to say that CPAM has offered me a position for the duration of the summer.
The Professional Skills placement was an incredible experience for me, and has led to a number of meaningful opportunities. In and of itself, the six weeks was a great experience. After the placement, I was fortunate enough to get a temporary contract of 70 days, which was then extended for another 70 days. I ended up being on temporary assignment from the end of the practicum until Dec. 24, which provided me with an extremely constructive and meaningful experience. It afforded me a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people in an innovative atmosphere, to connect with numerous departments in various capacities, and to gain work experience that I would have otherwise not been exposed to. I was able to get a taste of what that type of career entails without having to commit, although I have found that this type of work (international students, student advice, media production, marketing and informational publications) is of great interest to me. Overall, the experience was much more than I ever expected – or hoped – it to be.
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