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Student Handbook

This handbook is designed to provide English majors with information they may require while progressing through the program.

It serves as a supplement to other principal documents that students should use to guide their academic careers. These are:

In the event of any contradictions between this handbook and the above documents, the above documents shall be deemed correct.

The handbook will be updated as frequently as required and at least once every year. We welcome comments (opens in new window)  about how it can be improved.

Academic Advising

Advising on matters specifically related to the English degree is available from the Undergraduate Program Administrator (Wendy Francis) or Undergraduate Program Director (Dr. Dale Smith) in the English Department.

Academic Appeals

Merit of Work and Recalculation

Students should refer to Senate Policy #162:  (PDF file) Grade Reassessment and Grade Recalucation Policy (opens in new window) 

Standing and Grade Appeals

There are five grounds for grade appeals: medical, compassionate, course management, prejudice and procedural error. Students should consult the Senate Policy #134:  (PDF file) Undergraduate Academic Consideration and Appeals Policy (opens in new window)  for further information.

Academic Consideration


Students seeking academic consideration on health-related grounds are required to file their academic consideration request through the online process at the Senate website (opens in new window) 

Students must complete their online request at this link (opens in new window)  and also upload a Toronto Metropolitan University Certificate  (PDF file) (opens in new window)  to support their request.

Students must file their request within three working days of the missed assignment, essay, test or examination OR as soon as is reasonably possible (as soon as a student’s health permits them to do so). For late essays and missed assignments that are the result of new or long-term health issues or for petitioning INC grades at the end of term, students should consult with the Program Director (Dr. Dale Smith).

Religious Observance

Toronto Metropolitan University recognizes that a student’s religious observance may require an absence from a required course activity scheduled in the course syllabus (available and/or distributed by the first day of class) or scheduled after the first day of class, or from a final examination as announced later in the term. Senate Policy #150:  (PDF file) Accommodation of Student Religious, Aboriginal and Spiritual Observance  (opens in new window) sets out the scope and nature of accommodations available to facilitate religious observance.

At the start of term, students are responsible for completing the  (PDF file) Student Request for Accommodation: Religious Observance (opens in new window)  for each course in which there could potentially be a conflict between academic requirements and religious observance. 


Students who require academic accommodation support for a disability or disabilities are encouraged to register with Academic Accommodation Support (AAS) (opens in new window) .

Once registered, the student must activate the sending of an accommodation letters via the online system used by AAS (Clockwork) to each of their instructors outlining their approved accommodation(s) for each course. This should be done as early as possible each term, prior to a graded assignment, test or exam.


Requests for Academic Consideration that are not related to medical or religious observation ie situations of a compassionate circumstance must be submitted in writing together with the Academic Consideration form to the English department Program Administrator. The personal letter must clearly state the reasons for the request and describe the events or circumstances that seriously impair your ability to meet your academic obligations, and that were beyond your control. When possible, supporting documentation should be attached to the letter. The program office will notify the instructor when they have received the request.

In all cases, students are required to notify their instructors and follow up on any academic consideration or accommodation they are seeking.

Academic Integrity

The work carried out in institutions of higher education is grounded in certain core values, including diligence, civility, and honesty. All students, faculty and staff at Toronto Metropolitan University must maintain the highest standards of academic integrity.

Senate Policy #60:  (PDF file) Academic Integrity (opens in new window)  provides definitions of, and penalties for, academic misconduct on campus.

Under the auspices of the Senate, Toronto Metropolitan University maintains an Academic Integrity website (opens in new window)  to provide information that will assist students in their studies and educate them on maintaining their academic integrity. Students should familiarize themselves with this site. It will help students understand what academic misconduct is and enable them to avoid the pitfalls that might lead to unintentional academic misconduct. The site also provides a comprehensive guide to learning at Toronto Metropolitan University.

Academic Standing

 (PDF file) Academic standing (opens in new window)  is assigned to students by Toronto Metropolitan University at the end of each term, based on their Term GPA (grade point average) and Cumulative GPA, and it is important for students to take responsibility for knowing their academic standing at the end of each term when grades are made available online. An initial grade point average is not calculated until three or more course grades are available.

For more detailed information on  (PDF file) Academic Standing (opens in new window) , please see the current Toronto Metropolitan University Undergraduate Calendar (opens in new window) 


Students who receive a Probationary Academic Standing may not continue their studies until they have met with the Undergraduate Program Director or Program Administrator and executed a written probationary contract, which may include any or all of the following:

  • a restriction on the number of courses that may be taken
  • a restriction on the choice of courses that may be taken
  • recommended attendance of workshops provided by the Student Learning Support
  • a recommendation, where appropriate, to seek personal counselling, provided by the Faculty of Arts Counsellor or through Toronto Metropolitan University's Centre for Student Development and Counselling, and/or career counselling provided by the Faculty of Arts Career Counsellor.

Students who fail to execute a written probationary contract within the first five days of the semester will have their course registrations and course intention requests cancelled for the semester in which they are on probation. 

No course may be repeated more than twice, which means that if a required course is failed for a third time, students will be Permanent Program Withdrawal from the English program.  Students who are Permanent Program Withdrawal from the English program may not apply for reinstatement to the English program.

Required to Withdraw (RTW)

Students who have been Required to Withdraw (RTW) from the English major or double major program may not formally return to their program (or transfer to another Toronto Metropolitan University undergraduate program) until 12 months have elapsed. Prior to reinstatement, students may not enroll in any Ryerson credit courses and no courses taken at another institution will be counted towards graduation requirements for a Toronto Metropolitan University degree program.  Reinstatement to the program is not guaranteed and applications for reinstatement will be assessed by a Faculty of Arts Reinstatement Committee.

Some RTW students may be eligible for Fresh Start. (opens in new window) 

Assignment Submission

In order to avoid the loss of assignments as well as potential late penalties, students should  submit  assigned work directly to the instructor. If that is not possible or for late submissions, students must  use the locked drop-box that is located on the 10th floor of Jorgenson Hall, beside the elevators.

The drop-box is emptied twice each day, early morning and late afternoon, and assignments will be date stamped only, not time stamped.  Assignments submitted after the late afternoon emptying will be stamped on the following morning with the previous day's date. 

Where late penalties are involved, and where instructors have elected to use, students are expected to retain the Turnitin receipt showing the date and time of electronic submission, in the event of any dispute.

Students must ensure that their name, ID number, the course and section number, and the instructor’s name (and Teaching Assistant’s name, where appropriate) are clearly identified on submitted papers. Otherwise, the Department cannot guarantee delivery to the instructor.

NOTE: Students must retain a copy of their assignment together with their rough notes and any other materials requested by their instructors in case of suspicion of plagiarism, merit of work calculations, or appeals of grades.

Please do not:

  • submit assignments electronically unless otherwise directed by the course instructor
  • push assignments under the door of an instructor’s office
  • leave assignments stuck to bulletin boards outside an instructor’s office
  • expect Department staff to receive assignments.


The University maintains a listing of Scholarships and Awards (opens in new window) 
The English Department also offers a number of program-specific awards. For more information, consult the Awards (opens in new window)  section of the departmental website.

Brightspace by D2L

Brightspace by D2L is the current learning management system implemented for Ryerson. It offers various features to enhance classroom learning experiences or to deliver courses online.

Ryerson's Brightspace by D2L learning system can be accessed by logging in to the portal. Please see my.ryerson portal help page for more details.

Bookstore (opens in new window) 

Classroom Policies         


Attendance policies are at the discretion of the instructor and will be described in the course syllabus.


Participation policies are at the discretion of the instructor and must be clearly described in the course syllabus.

Collaborative/Group Work

For general guidance, see the Academic Integrity (opens in new window)  website, particularly the section entitled Common Academic Integrity Misconceptions (opens in new window)  as it relates to group work.

  • Grades assigned for group/collaborative work shall not comprise more than 25% of the overall evaluation scheme for the course.
  • The course syllabus must outline:
    • clear criteria for group work; and
    • processes/procedures by which students who encounter difficulty with their working group may have their concerns addressed in a fair, appropriate and timely way.
  • Instructors must keep a written justification of the individual grades assigned for group (collaborative) work, and be prepared to provide that written justification to the Department Appeals Committee in the event of a grade appeal.

Classroom Use of Technology

The misuse of technology, which includes texting, web browsing, online gaming, video and movie watching, is prohibited in all English Department courses. If approved by individual instructors, electronic devices may be used during lectures or seminars and tutorials strictly for course-related purposes – note-taking, online reading, and assignments/exercises. Refusal to comply with this policy may result in the loss of electronic privileges for the term and the dismissal of a student from a lecture.

Code of Student Conduct

The English Department subscribes to the University policies on Academic Integrity (opens in new window)  and  (PDF file) Non-Academic (opens in new window)  conduct.

See also Academic Integrity.


English Department Complaints Policy

From time to time, students may have concerns and complaints about relevant academic issues pertaining to a Teaching Assistant (TA)*, an instructor, a course, or a program. Usually, these issues are best addressed directly with the TA or instructor in question. Upon the request of a meeting to discuss a complaint, either party may ask for the presence of a third party such as, for example, the Undergraduate Program Director (UPD) or another mutually agreed-upon person.

If the student is unsatisfied with the outcome of such a meeting, or when for specific reasons a student does not wish to meet with a TA or instructor, the student may take his or her concerns to the UPD. Any such conversation with the UPD will be either: (a) informal, or (b) formal:

  • Informal Discussion with the Undergraduate Program Director

Informal conversations are confidential. The UPD will take no action based upon the conversation unless the student asks and the UPD agrees to speak to the instructor privately and informally (with explicit agreement about whether or not the student will be identified). It should be recognized that sometimes the TA or instructor will recognize the student anyway, simply from the nature of the concern or complaint.

  • Formal Process

If the UPD is to proceed to investigate formally, the student must submit a signed and dated letter, in hard copy, summarizing the reason for the complaint and why it could not be resolved with the TA or instructor. If the student feels uncomfortable addressing the problem with the TA or instructor, the student can present the signed letter outlining the concerns directly to the UPD. In either case, a copy of the letter will be provided by the UPD to the faculty member, who will have the opportunity to respond. In extremely rare cases of unresolved complaints with the UPD, the student may follow the formal process with the Department Chair as the last course of appeal.

Please note that vexatious complaints constitute a violation of the  (PDF file) Academic Integrity (opens in new window)  and Ryerson's Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy (opens in new window)  and will be dealt with in accordance with those policies.

*In the case of complaints relating to TAs, students should follow the following chain: 1) discuss the matter directly with the TA; 2) If the matter is not resolved, the student should bring the complaint to the course instructor, following the informal/formal policy above; 3) If the matter is still not resolved, the student may bring a formal complaint to the UPD. In this case, both the TA and the course instructor will have the opportunity to respond to the letter.



For advice about course selection, program requirements, and other curricular matters, students should consult the English Undergraduate Program Director and/or Program Administrator (opens in new window) .

Students considering pursuing Graduate Studies after their undergraduate degree are strongly advised to meet regularly with the Program Director to plan their course of study to ensure sufficient breadth and depth requirements.


The Faculty of Arts Career Counsellor, Sonny Wong (opens in new window) , offers individual, confidential counselling and workshops to assist students with many aspects of career and educational planning, such as confirming degree choice, discovering career options, job search strategies, and more.

Career information is also available from the Ryerson Career Centre (opens in new window) .  

Nikki Waheed (opens in new window)  is the Faculty of Arts Career Education Specialist.


The Faculty of Arts Personal Counsellor Ruth Frolic (opens in new window)  is available for confidential counselling about general school-related issues (like settling into a new environment, making connections with others at Ryerson, finding motivation) or about personal difficulties (such as with family relationships, loss, traumatic experiences, depression, anxiety, alcohol or drug use, or other challenges). Contact the Centre for Student Development and Counselling (opens in new window) , 416-979-5195, (opens in new window) 


For advice on course selection or anything else related to the English BA program, contact the Undergraduate Program Administrator or Undergraduate Program Director.

Course Substitution/Letter of Permission to Study Elsewhere

A Course Substitution/Course Directive enables students to substitute one Ryerson course for another within a program.

All degree level courses successfully completed at Ryerson during program studies and/or prior to admission to a program are eligible for substitution (subject to assessment for program relevancy).  See course substitution/course directive form:  (PDF file) (opens in new window) 

Letter of Permission (LOP)

If a student wishes to take a course at another accredited post-secondary institution for credit towards the BA in English, he or she must get an LOP to study elsewhere.
The institution the student plans to attend may also require this letter before it will enroll the student in courses.
See LOP:  (PDF file)

Course Intentions

Course Intentions is the process where you indicate the courses you wish to take in the upcoming academic year via MyServiceHub.  Your participation is important because it assists your department with course planning for the next academic year. Based on the courses YOU choose,  each department can determine how many classes of a particular subject will be offered and how many seats will be allocated for those classes.  Students can also avoid the frustration and anxiety of trying to add courses during enrollment week, when courses tend to fill up or be full. For further information, consult the Student Guide. (opens in new window) 


All undergraduate programs at Toronto Metropolitan University have a tripartite curriculum structure consisting of Professional, Professionally-Related, and Liberal Studies courses. Professional courses in English prepare students with the knowledge and skills of the discipline. Professionally-Related courses enrich students’ inter-disciplinary studies and enhance their career opportunities; in some cases, they may lead to a selected minor. Liberal Studies electives are courses that develop students’ capacity to understand the social and cultural context in which they will work as a professional and live as an educated citizen.

The Departmental website provides an explanation of the program curriculum (opens in new window) , as well as a user-friendly version of the course requirements. A convenient  (excel file) Degree Checklist is also available on the Department website.


University Deadlines/Significant Dates  

Ryerson has set deadlines for adding and dropping courses, submitting appeals and other academic and non-academic issues in order to ensure that issues are handled in a timely manner. Missing deadlines could result in academic or financial penalties.

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these deadlines, and should refer to the significant dates section of the Ryerson calendar for deadlines on enrollments, fees payments, withdrawals, refunds, and the like.

Departmental Council

Students, faculty, and staff are partners in the functioning of the English Department.  Departmental Council is the principal mechanism for bringing together these constituencies to identify, discuss, and resolve matters of mutual concern.

Membership on Departmental Council shall be comprised of the following:

  • The Department Chair
  • All full-time teaching members of the department
  • One representative of the Department’s part-time teaching complement
  • All administrative staff (non-voting)
  • A number of elected or appointed students from any undergraduate and graduate programs housed in the Department.

Students interested in serving on council should inquire with the Program Administrator.

Email Policy


At the University, all email communication should be considered as formal and professional correspondence, necessitating a formal mode of address. Standards of professional email etiquette should be adhered to at all times.

Ryerson’s policy on mandatory student email accounts

 (PDF file) Senate policy #157 (opens in new window)  requires all Ryerson students to activate and maintain a Ryerson email account.

Most official correspondence from the University is now only sent electronically to students’ Ryerson email accounts. It is thus very important that students check their Ryerson email account regularly.

Students must also ensure that their correspondence with the University is only sent via an official Ryerson e-mail account. Instructors are instructed not to respond to student emails from non-Ryerson accounts such as gmail, yahoo and others. This is to ensure the

Students must also check Brightspace D2L regularly, as instructors in the English Department will post syllabi, announcements, any changes to the syllabus, and readings there.

Essay Formatting

The English Department uses the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers for essay formatting and referencing. English students should purchase a copy of the MLA Handbook as it will prove to be an invaluable resource through their undergraduate studies. English students will have access to a summary of MLA style on D2L. They can also refer to the extensive online materials at (external link, opens in new window) 

Essay Writing

Good essays in English take time. They begin from thoughtful close readings of texts. They are informed by classroom dialogue and effective academic research. Their arguments are developed with attention to logical structure, which is achieved through careful planning and outlining, and supported by properly referenced evidence from primary and secondary texts.

Most essays are not written but rewritten—often more than once. Students should aim to finish an essay a few days before it is due. Before an essay is submitted, students should reread it at least twice to ensure that it is persuasive in its argument, elegant in expression, and free of errors.


It is strongly recommended that all students read  (PDF file) Senate Policy #135 on Final Examinations (opens in new window) .

Students are expected to be available to write final examinations during the examination period each semester. These dates are published each year in the Ryerson Calendar. The final detailed Examination Schedule will be available online approximately one month prior to each examination period. Students must take note of the examination period each semester and ensure that they are available for examination writing until after the last day of the examination period.

The Department will not under any circumstances set make-up examinations for students who make travel plans or commit to other engagements during examination periods.

Extracurricular Activities

There are many opportunities for students to become involved on campus and to participate in university academic governance and administration, academic research, athletics, community involvement, international opportunities, and leadership opportunities in arts, student services, and the students union.  Students are advised to consult with the English Course Union and visit the TMSU (external link, opens in new window)  at the Student Campus Centre for more information.

Human Rights Services

Human Rights information can be obtained in the Human Rights Services Department (opens in new window) . The English Department subscribes to the Ryerson Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy. (opens in new window) 

Incomplete (INC) Grades

INC means that work submitted for a course is at least of passing level, but some course work has not yet been completed, or the final examination has been missed due to health-related or compassionate reasons.  INC grades cannot be awarded unless the student has supplied documentation to support the request.  INC is not a means to extend the course beyond the 12 week period.

  • To petition an INC grade at the end of term, students must contact the instructor within three working days or as soon as reasonably possible after the missed examination or assignment deadline.  English students petitioning INC grades in more than 1 course MUST meet with the Program Director.
  • Students must file an academic consideration request related to the INC petition and supply supporting documentation, either the Ryerson Student Health Certificate or other documents which support the request.
  • An INC form signed by the student must be arranged for every INC awarded.  The form can be accepted electronically through the student Ryerson email account.

Instructors will provide a copy of the incomplete grade form to the student and will file the original with the Program Administrator. 


Students in the Faculty of Arts have open access to computer labs POD-351 and POD-356 when the rooms are not being used for teaching purposes.    

Please note the following.

  • POD-351 is open Monday to Sunday 7am-12am. OneCard access is required. If your One Card does not work with the card reader, please see Elisa Wreford, JOR-123, from 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
  • POD-356 is open Monday to Friday 7am-9pm; Saturday 7am-6pm; Sunday closed. OneCard access is not required.
  • You can log on to computers in POD-351 and POD-356 by using your standard ARTS username/password. (Instructions are displayed on the screen prior to logging on.)
  • You are entitled to print 50 pages per month in total, free of charge.  During regular business hours, printer paper may be obtained from the Arts Student Experience Centre, POD-344.  
  • Remember to log off the machine when you leave the room, even if leaving for a brief period of time.
  • During regular business hours (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.), please report any problems in the computer labs to the Arts IT Team:, extension 552723, POD-357.
  • In order to continue providing you with this service, we ask that you abide by the rules of the computer labs and respect the property in the rooms. Food and drinks are not allowed in any of the Arts computer labs. Please treat the computers and printers as if they were your own. We do not have the resources to replace damaged machinery.
  • For your personal safety, be conscious of where the safety phone is in the room.  If you need to contact Security, dial extension 5040. If you are in an EMERGENCY situation, Security may be contacted by dialing "80".


Students in English have the option of selecting courses in a minor area while also satisfying the professionally-related requirements for their English degree. Interested students should first, consult Ryerson’s  (PDF file) Minors Policy (opens in new window) , and then meet with the Program Administrator. Please note that students in English cannot take a minor in English.


MyServiceHub is a self-service online resource accessible through 

Through MyServiceHub, students can:

  • View their academic record
  • Enroll in classes
  • Apply to graduate
  • View their account status
  • Add or update personal information


See Academic Integrity

MyServiceHub (formerly known as RAMMS) is a self-service online resource accessible through (opens in new window)  

Through MyServiceHub, students can:

  • View their academic record
  • Enroll in classes
  • Apply to graduate
  • View their account status
  • Add or update personal information


ServiceHub located in POD-150 is students’ one-stop shop for the following:

  • the application and admissions process
  • submission and/or pick-up of documents (e.g. official transcripts) and completed forms (e.g. third party letters, degree certificates)
  • student financial assistance (e.g. OSAP and scholarships)
  • enrolling in courses
  • Continuing Education course registration
  • class schedules
  • exams
  • applying to graduate
  • MyServiceHub support
  • tuition, fees and more

Student Experience Centre

The Faculty of Arts Student Experience Centre (opens in new window)  provides support services and resources to students in Faculty of Arts.

Student Guide

For information on how to carry out any administrative business at Ryerson, students may find it helpful to consult the Student Guide (opens in new window) .


Students wishing to go on to Teachers College after completing their BA in English require one teachable subject if they wish to become elementary school teachers. Completing the BA in English normally fulfills this requirement but students are advised to consult directly with the schools to which they are applying or visit: (external link) 

Students wishing to become secondary school teachers require two teachable subjects. By taking six courses in another subject as part of the BA in English, students can fulfill this requirement. These six courses may be an officially recognized 6-course Minor or 6 courses in another or multiple subject(s). Students are advised to consult directly with the schools to which they are applying or visit: (external link)   

Withdrawing from English

Students who find it necessary to discontinue their program in Good Academic Standing may initiate a short-term withdrawal or a permanent withdrawal from the program.

Short-term withdrawals

Ryerson Undergraduate students may wish to temporarily withdraw from their program of studies for either the current academic term or for future academic term(s) due to financial, health, personal, academic or other reasons. 

Short-term withdrawals can be initiated through MyServiceHub: (opens in new window) 

Students pursuing a short-term withdrawal are advised to discuss this step with the program administrator to ensure they understand the impact on their academic record and the affect on completion of their degree.  After six terms of non-enrollment in courses, students will become deactivated from the program and be required to re-apply through Undergraduate Admissions to return to program.

Permanent Withdrawals

Students can submit their application to permanently withdraw through MyServiceHub: (opens in new window) 

It is recommended that a student discuss their intention to withdraw with the program before filing their application.

After a permanent withdrawal, if a student wishes to re-enter the program at a later time, an application for re-admission must be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Re-admission is not guaranteed.

Writing Support

Ryerson's Writing Support (opens in new window)  helps students to become better writers by engaging them in meaningful conversations about their writing. Students can attend workshops, make appointments for one-on-one consultation with Writing Support staff, and access extensive online libraries of tip-sheets and other online resources.