English (ENGL) 491

Directed Studies in Literature (Revision 2)

ENGL 491 Course website

Revision 2 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Humanities

Prerequisite: ENGL 211 and ENGL 212 or equivalent, plus two senior English courses and permission of the professor is required.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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ENGL 491 is not available for challenge.

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Students in ENGL 491 complete an extended research project under the direction of a professor. The research topic will be determined by consultation between the student and the professor. The course of study will normally include extensive library research and the production of a major paper. The research proposal will include the goals of the study project, the procedures, and the deadlines for completing the various phases of the work.


This course is designed for students who want to pursue a particular topic of study in literature, or the discourse of cultural studies, or both. The massive course text, Cultural Studies, contains explanations about the many aspects of this new area of research. Students are not limited to working on topics from cultural studies, but may choose to study more traditional areas of literature. For example, students could research a topic from the works of Chaucer (1342-1400), Shakespeare (1564-1616), John Dryden (1631-1700), or George Eliot (1819-1880).

Students may wish to work on an American playwright, a Canadian poet, an Australian novelist, or a Native author. Along with authors from this century, students could also consider topics from other media, such as film or opera.

Students may wish to do some interdisciplinary work on topics such as literature and history, literature and philosophy, literature and sociology, literature and the other media, literature and psychology, or literature and education.


To receive credit for ENGL 491, you must achieve a minimum grade of 50 percent on each assignment and a composite course grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The weighting of the course assignments is as follows:

Project Outline and Proposal Progress Report Research Paper Bibliography Total
10% 10% 70% 10% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Grossberg, Lawrence, Cary Nelson and Paula A. Treicher, eds. Cultural Studies. New York: Routledge, 1992.

Barnet, Sylvan and Reid Gilbert. A Short Guide to Writing about Literature. 2nd edition. Don Mills, ON: Addison-Wesley, 2003.

Other Materials

The course materials also include a student manual.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2.

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