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Master's program

Master of Arts in World Literatures and Cultures (MA)

The Master of Arts in World Literatures and Cultures is the first and only program of its kind in Canada.


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This one-year MA brings together areas of study such as literature, film, media, sociolinguistics, gender, diasporas and minorities. The program explores the comparative and interdisciplinary nature of world cultures and arts, both past and present. It draws upon the combined expertise of professors from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and from other departments in both the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences.


Discover how identities are shaped by cultural expressions in a national and transnational context. Explore the nature of representation and cultural diversity. Expand your intercultural knowledge in the dynamic setting of the nation’s capital.


MA with research paper

Language requirements

Proficiency in English or French with a good knowledge of the other official language at the University of Ottawa. Knowledge of a third language is strongly recommended.

Admission information

Fall admission only. Offered both full- and part-time, this MA can be completed in one year.

Admission requirements

Honours Bachelor of Arts with a major in one of the following disciplines:

  • communication
  • film studies
  • intercultural studies
  • international studies
  • languages
  • linguistics
  • literatures
  • translation
  • another discipline deemed relevant


Student Handbook

For more information, go to

Courses 2014-2015


LCM 5901 Methodologies of Intercultural Research (3,0,0) 3 cr. 

Prof. May Telmissany Tuesdays 5:30-8:30 pm
Obligatoire pour tous les étudiants au programme de Maîtrise en littératures et cultures du monde. Étude de la méthodologie et des techniques de la recherche interculturelle et comparative et des théories sur la formation de l’identité, de la différence et de la représentation.

Mandatory for all students registered in the M.A. in World Literatures and Cultures program. Study of intercultural and comparative research methodology and techniques. Theories of identity and difference formation and of representation.


LCM 5107 Cultures in the Diaspora (3,0,0) 3 cr.

Prof. Rebecca Margolis Wednesdays 4 :00-7:00 pm

The situation of linguistic and cultural survival, identity, production and interaction (literary, cinematic and other) in various diasporas, in Canada and/or selected regions in the world.


LCM 5502 L’Europe et ses autres (3,0,0) 3 cr.

Prof. Agatha Schwartz Thursdays 4 :00-7:00 pm 
La culture européenne et ses rencontres avec l’Autre à l’intérieur et à l’extérieur de l’Europe. L’étude de différentes formes de l’hybridité ainsi que des stéréotypes culturelles, raciales et sexuelles dans la littérature, le cinéma, les arts et les médias dans de différents contextes géographiques et historiques, incluant le Canada.



LCM 5902 Research Seminar (3,0,0) 3 cr.

Prof. Joerg Esleben Wednesdays 4 :00-7 :00 pm

Obligatoire pour tous les étudiants au programme de Maîtrise en littératures et cultures du monde. Techniques avancées de rédaction. Développement, présentation et discussion des projets de mémoire. Mandatory for all students registered in the M.A. in World Literatures and Cultures program. Advanced techniques of essay writing. Development, presentation and discussion of the final research projects.


LCM 5701 Thèmes spéciaux en littérature et cultures du monde I: la poésie baroque et traduction (3,0,0) 3 cr. 

Prof. Richard Sokoloski Tuesdays 4:00-7:00 pm 
Étude comparative de thèmes choisis appartenant à au moins deux cultures, littératures et/ou traditions cinématographiques et artistiques différentes.


Mandatory Final Research Paper:

LCM 6999 Final Research Paper (6 cr.)

Mémoire entre 40 et 50 pages préparé sous la direction d’un ou deux membres du corps professoral choisis en accord avec la personne responsable des études supérieures. Mémoire noté par le(s) (co-)directeur(s) et un autre membre du corps professoral. Major final research paper (40-50 pages) under the supervision of one or two professors who are selected with the consent of the program director. The research paper will be evaluated by the supervisor (and co-supervisor) and one other professor participating in the program.


Doctoral programs

Doctoral program - Internal regulations for the PhD in Spanish


Applicants must have an MA in Spanish or an equivalent degree, with an average of at least 75% (B+). (Please note that our program reserves the right to raise the required grade point average above the level set by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies [FGPS] in its calendar). All applicants will be required to submit a two-page summary of their proposed doctoral research project, as well as a master’s thesis or research work of equivalent value.

Doctoral research project

a) Identify the main area(s) of your research project (Hispanic linguistics, Latin American literature and culture, Spanish Peninsular literature and culture, etc.).

b) Outline the topic to be addressed and describe the theoretical approach or framework to be used (gender studies, intercultural studies, narrative theory, discourse analysis, textual criticism, sociocriticism, language acquisition, bilingualism, contrastive grammar, etc.).

c) Situate your project in relation to the relevant scholarly literature (add a bibliography identifying up to 10 critical or theoretical sources).

d) State the major hypothesis or hypotheses you would like to explore in your research.


Admission procedures

The faculty of the Spanish section will review each application to the PhD program and, if a candidate meets the required standards, will suggest a thesis supervisor (or co-supervisors) from the core faculty (including adjunct professors). The selection of the thesis supervisor will be made on the basis of the professor’s research expertise and workload.

The Graduate Committee will then recommend the candidate’s admission to the FGPS. Candidates with a grade point average of 8 or above will also be recommended for an admission scholarship.


Students will take a minimum of six graduate seminars, but after considering their background and preparation, the Graduate Committee may recommend additional courses. One of the compulsory courses must be ESP 5901 (Research Methods and Bibliography). Since this course is also compulsory in the MA program, students who completed their MA in Spanish at the University of Ottawa or at another institution where they took an equivalent course will be exempt (and therefore required to complete only five courses while in the PhD program). One of the six courses might be a directed studies course supporting the development of the thesis topic. Depending on their research project, students may be encouraged to take courses outside the department. Course work is expected to be completed during the first three sessions.


Thesis committee

Within six months of a student’s admission, the thesis supervisor, in consultation with the student and the graduate committee, will nominate a thesis committee composed of the thesis supervisor and two other members, who could be professors in the core faculty, adjunct professors, or, where appropriate, professors from other universities. The thesis committee will provide academic guidance for the student’s research program and thesis writing and will be available to discuss thesis-related issues.

Doctoral examinations

At the beginning of their second year, students will present a more developed and precise version of their research project accompanied by a bibliography, which will form the basis of their doctoral examinations. Each thesis committee, in consultation with their student, will prepare a reading list whose scope will depend on the nature of the research project and the student’s background. In the field of literary and cultural studies, the reading list should cover areas and issues related to the thesis project such as genre, cultural and historical context, and theoretical and critical approaches.

The thesis committee will prepare the exam questions. The examinations will consist of two take-home exams, each on a field of research related to the thesis, and an oral exam. In the field of literature and culture, the first written exam will focus on theoretical, historical and methodological questions relevant to the thesis project, while the second one will ask the student to apply those questions to a sample of the student’s specific subject of study. In the field of linguistics, the first exam will focus on the theoretical field(s) of a topic, and the second on an aspect of the topic itself. Alternatively, students may choose to carry out an empirical study (40-50 pages) of publishable quality, as a prelude to the thesis research itself.

The exams will be completed within 18 months of entering the program, and one week will be allowed for each exam. Two weeks after the second written exam, there will be an oral exam before the thesis committee, based on a student’s written exams. A student may be required to repeat the exams partially or in their entirety. A student who fails the exams on a second attempt will be required to withdraw from the program.


Registration of the topic

By the end of the third session, the topic of the thesis must have been determined. After being approved by the Thesis Committee, it will be submitted to the FGPS for registration. The form used for this purpose will be signed by a student’s thesis supervisor, the academic unit's Director of Graduate Studies or Director, and the student.

Thesis project

Within six months of passing the doctoral examinations, a student will be expected to present a revised and extended version of the initial thesis project (approximate length: 30 pages plus bibliography), which will then be considered the definitive thesis proposal. The proposal will be evaluated by the Thesis Committee and the results communicated to the student within two weeks. Approval of the proposal will signify the thesis committee’s authorization for the student to proceed with the research and the final writing of the thesis.

Progress reports

During the second year of registration and again a year thereafter, a progress report will be submitted to the FGPS. Any concern regarding the progress of the thesis will be addressed in these reports.

Approval of thesis

Prior to being deposited in the FGPS, the thesis must be approved by the thesis supervisor in consultation with the thesis committee.
For regulations concerning the thesis defence, please click here.



First year

Completion of course work (6 seminars). This may include fall, winter, and spring/summer sessions. Registration of the thesis topic by the end of the third session.

Second year

At the beginning of the first session:

  • Preparation of the research project and of the reading list for examinations

During the second session (18 months after entering program):

  • Doctoral examinations.


Third session:

  • Revising, extending and defending research project


Third year

Research and writing of thesis

Fourth year

Completion and defence of the thesis.


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