M.A. in Literature and Writing

The M.A. in English offers students broad learning in English Studies while providing concentrated study in one area.

The program achieves this goal with distribution requirements, electives, and a required concentration in either Rhetoric & Composition (Division I), Literary Traditions (Division II), or Theory (Division III). The degree prepares students for further graduate study in English and related fields, for professional training in such fields as library and information science, and for careers in teaching.

Applicants are usually expected to have a 3.00 GPA, and at least 16 hours of undergraduate work in English or related subjects beyond the freshman level. Applicants are required to present transcripts of previous degree work, three letters of recommendation, a brief (1-2 page) statement of purpose, and an 8-20 page writing sample, usually drawn from an advanced undergraduate literature or rhetoric course.

General Requirements

Thirty-three hours of graduate course work are required. Students who concentrate in Division II or Division III may elect to complete 27 hours of coursework and a thesis, which will be counted as 6 hours of graded coursework (see "Thesis Option" below).

All students must complete English 61000 (Introduction to Research and Pedagogy in Critical Reading). Graduate Assistants must also complete English 61094 (Introduction to Research in the Teaching of College Writing).

Distribution Requirement: All students must take a minimum of 1 course in Division I, two courses in Division II, and 1 course in Division III.

Concentration Requirements: All students must take 12 hours of course work in a single Division. Additional requirements are available for each concentration:

  • Division I: Rhetoric & Composition Concentration
  • Division II: Literary Traditions Concentration 
  • Division III: Theory Concentration

Other Course Work

As part of the 33 graded hours for the degree, students will take 12 hours of electives; elective courses must first be used to satisfy distribution requirements outside the area of concentration. Students may present up to 6 hours of graded Individual Investigations as part of the required 33 hours.

Thesis Option

The thesis option is limited to students concentrating in Divisions II or III. Students concentrating in Division II or Division III who wish to present an MA thesis must seek a recommendation from a graduate faculty member who will direct the thesis and then petition the Graduate Studies Coordinator for approval. If the thesis is approved, the coordinator and the director will permit the substitution of 6 hours of Thesis I for 6 hours of graded course work. The student and thesis adviser will form a thesis committee comprised of the student, the adviser, and two additional members of the graduate faculty. The finished thesis is defended in an oral examination conducted by the thesis committee.