sf Courses and Academic Research in Canada

R. Runté, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbriddge

The following table combines two lists: the sf courses currently (2000-2002) offered at universities in Canada; and the academics with a research interest in some aspect of speculative fiction. The information is based on a survey of academic calendars and on-line sources conducted by R. Runté in May and June of 2001. Definitions used in this study and a brief commentary are provided at the end of the table.

Note: The francophone section of this table has not been completed.

To add, update or comment on information in this table, email R. Runté.


sf Course

Canadian Content?


Research Interests

Acadia University
Wolfville NS

English 3723


Dr. Ray Thompson

Gordon Dickson, Arthurian legend, interviews with Arthurian authors

English 4153
Tales of Terror


Dr. Robert Morrison

Blackwoods Magazine, Vampire literature etc.


University of Alberta
Edmonton AB

Comparative Lit. 342
Intro. to Science Fiction



Dr. Peter Swirski

Eastern European sf

English 487
Harry Potter


Dr. R. Jones

English 483:
Studies In The Literature Of Popular Culture In English:

Guy Kay

Dr. Douglas Barbour

sf book reviews, Delany, poetry, etc.

Dr. Craig Gordon

science fiction

Athabasca University
Athabasca AB

No relevant courses; mention in genre film course

  No one  

Augustana University College
Ave  Camrose

No relevant courses

  No one  

Bishop's University
Sherbrooke QC

English 117A
The Arthurian Tradition


Dr. Joanne S. Norman

not listed

Brandon University
Brandon MB,

English 281
Science Fiction

research interests not listed

Brescia College
London ON

No relevant courses


Dr. Monika Lee



University of British Columbia
Vancouver BC

English "Topics" seminars
and Film 332
may include sf
unknown research interests not indicated

British Columbia Open University
Burnaby BC

No relevant courses

  research interests not readily indicated

Brock University
St Catharines ON,

No relevant courses

  no one  

University of Calgary
Calgary AB

English 393:
Science Fiction
Yes: Sawyer (Golden Fleece); Robert C. Wilson Darwinian Dr. Ruby Ramraj Canadian sf
unknownDr. Janis Svilpissf, gothic, 18th century
English 395:
noDr. Rod McGillisWesterns (!)
no Dr. Lorne Macdonaldgothic, Vampyre, Frankenstein, etc.
   Dr. Susan Stratton (formerly Stone-Blackburn)sf; utopian

Campion College
Regina SK

See University of Regina coursesDr. J. Alex MacDonaldnot listed

University College of Cape Breton
Sydney NS B1P 6L2 ,

No relevant courses   research interests not indicated

University College of the Cariboo
Kamloops BC

No relevant courses   research interests not indicated
Carleton University
Ottawa ON
Anthro 54.382:
Anthropology and Science Fiction
No English Literature courses Dr. Tom Herrington (retired) sf

Concordia University College of Alberta
Edmonton AB


  no one  

Concordia University
Montreal QC

English 245N Science FictionYes:
Atwood, Gibson
English 362:
Studies in Science Fiction
content varies Robert M. Philmus past editor of
Science Fiction Studies
   David Ketterer
(at Concordia?)
the book, Canadian Science Fiction
English 250: Forms of Popular Writing (may contain sf)unlikelyunknown
Dalhousie University
Halifax NS

English 2233:
Science Fiction



English 2216:
Gothic Novel

Atwood (Handmaid), Gibson (Neuromancer), Robinson (Deathkiller)


Pat Monk

Canadian literature; Science Fiction

CollËge dominicain de philosophie et de thèologie
Ottawa ON


University College of the Fraser Valley
Abbotsford BC

ENGL 270: Popular Fiction
(sf one option)

  no one  

University of Guelph
Guelph ON

37-286:Science Fiction unknown Dr. Peter Bigg sf, J. G. Ballard, Leguin, Herbert

...cole des Hautes ...tudes Commerciales
Montrèal QC


Huron University College
London ON


  research interests not indicated

King's College
London ON

134E Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Other Forms of Romance

unknown research interests not indicated

King's University College
Edmonton AB

English 380:
Arthurian Literature

  No one  

University of King's College
Halifax NS

No relevant courses   research interests not indicated

Lakehead University
Thunder Bay ON


  Dr. Jim H. Gellert children's lit, fairy tales, fantasy

Laurentian University of Sudbury / Universitè Laurentienne de Sudbury
Sudbury ON

ENGL 3687E01:
Legends of Arthur in Literary and Popular Culture
No Dr. Patti Brace No; Medieval Literature

Universitè Laval
CP 2208 Succ Terminus  Quèbec QC

No relevant courses*      

University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge AB,

English 3700 "Genres and Forms" may include sf

  No One  

Luther College
Regina SK

No relevant courses

  research interests not indicated

Malaspina University-College
Nanaimo BC

No relevant courses Dr. Ron Bonhamscience fiction (ranked 4th of 5)
 Dr. Jacqueline Wytenbroekfantasy & science fiction (ranked 2nd of 9)

University of Manitoba
Winnipeg MB

No relevant courses   Dr. John J. Teunissen (retired) Editor of Other Worlds: Fantasy and Science Fiction Since 1939

McGill University
Montreal QC

No relevant courses  Darko Suvin (retired)

Marc Angenot

both are past editors of Science Fiction Studies; Angenot's research

McMaster University
Hamilton ON L8S 4L8 ,

No relevant courses   No one  

Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's NF

No relevant courses

  No one  

Universitè de Moncton
Moncton NB


Universitè de Montrèal
Montrèal QC


Mount Allison University
Sackville NB

English 4221: Myth and Legend in Renaissance Drama No (obviously) No one  

Mount Saint Vincent University
Halifax NS

ENGL 2262: Fantasy and Science Fictionunknown Ms. Dorothy Shostak (formerly Dorothy Wells)science fiction (2nd of 4)
ENGL 2205:
Literature for Children (several fantasy works)
no Dr. Peter Schwenger not relevant
  Dr. Steven Bruhm gay/gothic

University of New Brunswick
Fredericton & Saint John, NB

Engl 3708: Contemporary Science Fiction: Loving the Alien

ENGL 3708: Contemporary Science Fiction: Gender in Space

No Dr. Miriam Jonesscience fiction (8th of 9)
Engl 3973:Science Fiction FilmNo A.B. Cameronfilm; nothing relevant
3978 Monsters and the Grotesque in Literatureunknown unknownna
  Dr. James NobleArthurian Legend
  William ProutyUtopian
Ward Chipman Library sf CollectionYesone of 3 best research collections in North America

Nipissing University
North Bay ON

No relevant courses   No one  

University of Northern British Columbia
Prince George BC

ENGL 480:
Science Fiction (includes fantasy)

ENGL 486:
Literature of the Fantastic

ENGL 680:
Science Fiction (includes fantasy; graduate course)

ENGL 686
Literature of the Fantastic (graduate course)

unknown Dr. Stan Beeler
(Program Chair)
science fiction & fantasy (4th of 4)

Nova Scotia
Agricultural College

Truro NS,

No relevant courses   No one  

Nova Scotia College
of Art and Design

Halifax NS

No relevant courses

  No one  

Okanagan University College
Kelowna BC

No relevant courses   No one  

University of Ottawa / Universitè d'Ottawa
Ottawa, ON

Eng 2132:
Utopian Fiction
no Dr. David Shore Nothing relevant
Eng 2130:
Tradition of King Arthur
no Dr. David Stains Arthurian literature
Eng 2136:
Fiction of Horror
unknown TBA  
   Dr. Camille R.LaBossière science fiction (48th of 48)

...cole Polytechnique de Montrèal
Montrèal QC


University of Prince Edward Island
Charlottetown PE

No relevant courses   research interests not indicated

Universitè du Quèbec
Quèbec QC,


Universitè du Quèbec en Abitibi-Tèmiscamingue
Rouyn-Noranda QC


Universitè du Quèbec ‡ Chicoutimi
Chicoutimi QC


...cole nationale d'administration publique
Quèbec QC


...cole de technologie supèrieure
Montrèal QC


Universitè du Quèbec ‡ Hull
Hull QC


Institut national de la recherche scientifique
Quèbec QC


Universitè du Quèbec ‡ Montrèal
Montrèal QC


Universitè du Quèbec ‡ Rimouski
Rimouski QC


Quèbec QC


Universitè du Quèbec ‡ Trois-RiviËres
Trois-RiviËres QC


Queen's University
at Kingston

Kingston ON

No relevant courses   No one  

Redeemer University College
Ancaster ON

No relevant courses   research interests not indicated
(but unlikely to include sf)

University of Regina
Regina SK

Hum 260:
Utopian Literature, Thought and Experiment

Literature and Science
(Frankenstein, Brave New World, etc.)

No Dr. J. Alex MacDonald Not listed (Campion College)
Wells, Darwin, and Scienctific Romance (also offered at graduate level)

Popular Fiction (includes sf)

NoDr. Nicholas Ruddick British sf

Royal Military College of Canada / College militaire, royal du Canada
Kingston ON

Science Fiction
(science/Engineering Arts option)
unknown No one  

Royal Roads University
Victoria BC

No relevant courses   No one  

Ryerson Polytechnic University
Toronto ON

ENG 503 Science Fiction

ENG 072: Popular Literature
(includes sf)



Dr. Jennifer Burwell Notes on Nowhere: Feminism, Utopian Logic and Social Transformation

Universitè Sainte-Anne


CollËge universitaire de Saint-Boniface
Saint-Boniface MB


St. Francis Xavier University
Antigonish NS

English 201
Science Fiction and Fantasy
unknown; probably GibsonResearch interests not indicated

St. Jerome's University
Waterloo ON
(University of Waterloo)

Engl 208A
Forms of Fantasy

Engl 208B:
Science Fiction

unknown Dr. G. Drapper
(Dept Chair)
Not listed

Saint Mary's University
Halifax NS

English 356: The Development of Science fiction to the Golden Age
English 357: Recent Science Fiction




Dr. Margaret Harry

Folklore, popular lit., mediaeval and Celtic studies, etc.

University of St. Michael's College
Toronto ON M5S 1J4 ,

No relevant courses (theology faculty only)

Saint Paul University / Universitè Saint-Paul
Ottawa ON

No relevant courses (seminary only)

St. Thomas University
Fredericton NB

English 2513:
Science Fiction I:
The development of science fiction to 1950s

English 2563:
Science Fiction II: Themes in Contemporary Science Fiction

unknown No one
(but only partial listing of research interests available)

St. Thomas More College
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

No course or faculty lists; See University of Saskatchewan

University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon SK

eng 287.3
unknown Dr. Terry MathesonUtopia/dystopia; science fiction

Saskatchewan Indian Federated College
Regina SK

No relevant courses   No one  

Universitè de Sherbrooke
Sherbrooke QC


Simon Fraser University
Burnaby BC

English 383
Studies in Fantasy and Popular Literature(eg:)
Arthurian legend;
(content varies, not all sections sf)
S. Haagcyberculture
noShelia RobertsArthurian legend
noN. CurrieGothic
unknownMason Harris fantasy & science fiction (3rd of 5)

University of Sudbury / Universitè de Sudbury
Sudbury ON

No relevant courses   No one  

University of Toronto
Toronto ON

ENG 237:
Science Fiction and Fantasy

ENG 238
Science Fiction and Fantasy: Film

Atwood, Gibson

No (American films only)

Instructor not indicated
   Ian Lancashire
(New College, English)
Science Fiction (2nd of 2)
   Dena Bain Taylor
(Physical Education and Health)
Science fiction and fantasy (1st of 2)
   Peter Fitting
(New College, French)
Utopian literature;
science fiction
   Josiah Blackmore
(Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese)
Monsters in myth, culture and literature
University of Toronto
at Scarsburogh
Eng B41
Science Fiction
Atwood, Gibson
Russell Kilbournnot relevant

Trent University
Peterborough ON

English/Cultural Studies 229
Science fiction
Veronica Hollinger
(Cultural Studies);
Co-editor, Science Fiction Studies
English/Cultural Studies 329:
Utopia (Future Fiction)
unknownJohn Feketescience fiction
utopian lit.
(3rd & 4th of 11) other books
  Donald F. Theall
(retired, Past President of Trent University)
Science Fiction Studies

University of
Trinity College

Toronto ON

No relevant courses (part of University of Toronto)

Trinity Western University
Langley, BC

ENGL 392
Fantasy Literature
No, focus on precursers: Beowulf and Gawain and the Green Knight research interests not indicated

University of Victoria
Victoria BC

No relevant courses   Dr. Lianne McLarty
(Associate Dean Fine Arts)
Science Fiction & Horror Film
Dr. Nelson C., Smithdoes not announce sf interests
Dr. John Greene
(French Dept)
science fiction

Victoria University
Toronto ON

No relevant courses; part of University of Toronto

University of Waterloo
Waterloo ON

Science Fiction
unknownGary DraperScience fiction
ENGL 208H:
Arthurian Legend
English 725
The Dustbin of History: Apocalyptic Science Fiction from The Last Man to Pastwatch
(Grad course)
unknownDr. Julia M. WrightGothic, Mary Shelley
   Dave Switzer
(computer science)
Joan Slonczewski
Library Special Collections
B. P. Nichol Library of Science Fiction

University of
Western Ontario

London ON

English 171F:
Speculative Fiction: Science Fiction
No M. Jane ToswellSpeculative fiction (4th of 6)
English 172G:
Speculative Fiction: Fantasy
Reading Popular Culture (includes Horror but no sf)
  Ernest H. Redekopscience fiction
(5th of 6)

Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo ON

Special Topics: Tolkien and Fantasy
No James Weldon unrelated
English 409e:
Special Topics: Imagination, Mourning, and Millennium
Yes: GibsonDr. Joel Faflakpopular culture
Film Studies 343g:
Special Topics: Gothic Film
NoDr.Jodey CastricanoGothic

University of Windsor
Windsor ON

No relevant courses   Dr. Carol Margaret Davison Gothic

University of Winnipeg
Winnipeg MB

English 17.2612/3
Science Fiction
unknown unknown;
research interests not indicated

York University
North York ON

AS/EN 2240:
Apocalyptic science Fiction
No Dr. Allan Weisssf, Canadian sf
  James Carley Arthurian



This table probably under-represents the number of sf-related courses taught in Canada because
  • some campuses did not list courses if they happened not be be offered this term;
  • some sf courses may be listed under non-descriptive generic titles such as "Special Topics" courses or "honour seminars" even though particular sections may be routinely devoted to sf
  • the analysis focused on departments of English literature, film studies, and comparative literature and consequently may have missed courses offered in other departments (e.g., the anthropology course offered at Carleton); and
  • some community colleges and technical schools are not members of the AUCC and so were not included in this study.

Similarly, the table probably understimates the amount of sf content in university level courses, as many non-sf courses may include one or more sf readings; e.g., Childrens literature courses often include reference to Harry Potter and courses on Canadian, American, British, etc. literature may include some sf.

This table definitely under-represents the number of sf-related scholars in Canada because

  • academic calendars generally do not list faculty research interests and this information was not always made available on-line;
  • some faculty may not want to include their interest in sf in their list of specializations, preferring instead to highlight their more respectable research related to literary cannon (e.g., Shakespeare);
  • the focus on English departments in this study may have overlooked considerable expertise in other faculties (e.g., Dave Switzer in Computer Science at Waterloo);
  • there are likely others teaching at community colleges and technical schools which not members of the AUCC and so not included here; and
  • considerable scholarship in sf has been undertaken by those outside of academia (John Clute and Elisabeth Vonnarburg come immediately to mind) and who therefore do not show up in this table, but whose contributions are nonetheless highly significant.

This table also probably underestimates the amount of Canadian sf included in university-level courses, as examples of the genre may turn up in Canadian literature classes, women studies courses (e.g., Atwood's Handmaid's Tale), children's literature, etc.

That said, it is interesting to note that there are now over 65 English language, university-level sf related courses offered on 35 campuses in Canada. Similarly, there are over 65 Canadian academics self-identifying as specializing (at least to some degree) in sf. This strongly suggests that sf is now regarded as at least worthy of some academic attention. Considering that it must compete with the recent proliferation of many other equally worthy specializations (mystery, women's studies, African and Carbiban literature, gay and lesbian literature, hypertext, etc.) as well as the traditional cannon (Shakespeare et al), sf scholarship and teaching is doing quite well.

There are, for example, far more sf-related courses than mystery genre courses, even though both are evenly matched in terms of readership. My strong impression, upon speaking with various instructors and in examining prerequiaites and exclusion lists (i.e., which courses students cannot take together for credit) is that the sf course is generally targetted to science and engineering students as their "arts option", rather than to English majors. In other words, the greater popularity of sf courses with departments of English is that they are likely to attract larger enrolments, and does not indicate greater academic prestige or interest.

One unexpected finding of this study was that specializing in sf no longer appears as an impediment to an academic career. Not only were many of the academics identified in this study full professors, but two had achieved Department Chair status, and one was the (past) President of his university.

[This contrasts sharply with the attitude of my own former Dean who appeared to consider my announced interest in sf akin to advocating child pornography; and who dismissed my efforts as co-editor of Tesseracts5 with the abrupt comment that he was "only interesting in reading good books".]

On the other hand, Canadian sf gets rather less attention than one might hope. There are only a handful of scholars who have published or are about to publish on Canadian sf. Given that "science fiction" or even "Canadian fiction" are themselves only recent upstarts as specializations, and that there is a lot of ground to be covered in such courses, hoping for a focus on Canadian sf is perhaps unrealistic. Where Canadian content is included, it tends to come down to Gibson's ground breaking Neuromancer and Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, with occasional mentions of Robert Sawyer and Spider Robinson. Of course, individual students may do projects or class presentations on some topic in Canadian sf, but this is not the same as being part of the assigned course reading.

What seems called for, then, is a resource, or set of resources, on Canadian sf that can be made available to both instructors and students. Students are more likely to pick, and instructors more likely to assign, paper topics on which there are materials readily available. Hopefully the NCF Guide can become part of that solution, but a book of readings (such as Edo Van Belkom's Aurora Winners) and a book or two of collected criticism, are also required.

Robert Runté
Associate Professor
Faculty of Education
University of Lethbridge

This page last updated June 7, 2001.



"University" is defined here as a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

"sf " is defined as speculative or imaginative fiction, including the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. "sf course" is defined as one in which explicit reference to sf is made in the course title. (Other courses may include examples of, or references to sf, and not be noted here. For example, Canadian literature courses were not examined to see if they included examples of Canadian sf.) Where web links are indicated, clicking on the link should take you to the course outline. (On some campuses, several course outlines are included in the same web page; you may have to scroll down or use your browser's page-search function to find the specific course cited here.)

"Canadian content" refers to any course that includes at least one piece of assigned Canadian fiction or criticism of Canadian fiction.

"Instructor" is the professor teaching the course (if known), or a member of the English or Literature department whose announced specialties include science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Where web links are indicated, clicking on the link should take you to the instructor's home page.

"Research Interests" lists the relevant areas of that instructor's announced research specializations. Where web links are indicated, clicking on the link should take you to the relevant article, bibliography, web page, etc.

*Note: As I am not fluent in French, it is possible that I missed references to relevant courses when reviewing the websites of francophone campuses.

To add, update or comment on information in this table, email R. Runté.