The Department of English offers an M.A. that can serve as a stepping stone to the Ph.D. and a career in teaching or simply as an extension of the liberal arts education beyond the bachelor’s level. All students, no matter what their intended trajectory, satisfy a common set of core requirements, but also can give their studies a particular emphasis through one of the five program concentrations. Completing the program generally requires two years, though full-time students who are not teaching assistants may complete it more quickly.
Admission. Applications must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies along with scores for the GRE (general test only) and transcripts of all undergraduate work. Your transcripts should show at least 27 quarter hours (18 semester hours) of superior work in English language and literature on the undergraduate level. They also should provide evidence of your having completed the equivalent of two years of foreign language at the undergraduate college level. If you do not meet the language requirement but otherwise have outstanding qualifications for graduate study, you may apply and plan to complete your foreign language requirement while you are earning your M.A. Intensive graduate reading courses are offered in French and Spanish in alternate summers which may be used to fulfill your requirement.
To apply, you should collect letters of recommendation from three professors with whom you have studied on the undergraduate level, and send them to the Graduate Director in English, along with a statement of purpose and a writing sample. At the top of the statement of purpose indicate which concentration you are applying for (literature, creative writing, or rhetoric and composition), and creative writers should further specify a genre: poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. For creative writing applicants, the writing sample should be a portfolio of poems, a manuscript of short fiction or a selection of creative nonfiction of 10-15 pages. All other applicants should submit a critical essay of the same length.
Admission deadline is January 15 for the following fall quarter, and this is the only annual admissions period. The English Department does not admit student in the winter or spring quarters.
M.A. Requirements. To complete the Master of Arts in English, you must satisfy the following requirements:
1. Bibliography and Methods. ENG 593 Bibliography and Methods deals with enumerative and descriptive bibliography and methods of scholarship. It also provides a general introduction to graduate study and research in English language and literature.
2. English Language. The English language requirement is met by ENG 503 English Language.
3. The Teaching of English. ENG 591 Teaching College English I, ordinarily taken in your first quarter of residence, is designed to offer various kinds of practical and theoretical information and discussions about teaching. ENG 591A, Teaching College English II, provides further training and pedagogical assistance for TAs. It is offered in the winter quarter.
4. Literary Theory. You will take at least one course that has as its primary focus critical theory.
5. Master’s essay or thesis. The master’s essay is a scholarly essay of publishable quality, substance, and length, written as an extension of work done in a seminar but researched and reshaped to meet professional standards of scholarly publication. The master’s essay prospectus and the essay are submitted during the winter and spring quarters of your second year.
Like the master’s essay, the master’s thesis is expected to show originality, rigor of argument, and thoroughness of research and documentation. It should, however, include more extensive research than a master’s essay, particularly more detailed analysis of the theoretical approach being used, a wider and deeper survey of research and scholarship, and a more thorough contextualization of the central argument. The creative writing thesis is a piece or collection of original creative writing.
6. Area distribution. You are required to take seminars in at least three of the following six periods:
Restoration and Eighteenth Century
Nineteenth Century British
Of these three seminars, one must focus primarily on British literature before 1700, one on British literature after 1700, and one on American literature.
7. Departmental concentration. You are required to take a sequence of three courses from one of the following concentrations:
Rhetoric and Composition
8. Foreign language. If you have not met the foreign language prerequisite for admission, you must complete it before graduation.