OVERVIEW OF MASTERS DEGREE IN ENGLISH
The Master of Arts program in English is designed for the graduate student who has had substantial undergraduate preparation in English. There are three plans of study in the English MA, identified as Plan A, B, and C; in addition, the Department of English offers an MA concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL).
In consultation with a faculty advisor, each student plans a program of graduate study which both meets the requirements of one of the three basic plans, or of the TESOL program, and also is in keeping with his/her background and objectives. The graduate program in English is of special value to students who expect to work toward the doctorate, who wish to further develop their creative writing talent, who plan to teach English in a community college, or who plan to teach English to non-native speakers in community colleges, in adult education programs, or abroad.
Students planning further graduate study leading to the Ph.D. are encouraged to follow Plan A or Plan C. Under Plan A, a required seminar provides students an opportunity to become familiar with literary research techniques and facilitates completion of a master's thesis as a culminating requirement. Students opting for the thesis option must achieve a 3.7 GPA in 21 units of graduate study. All literature students (except those exempted for the thesis) will pursue Plan C, which provides an intensive study of a range of selected works of literature and culminates in a comprehensive written examination as a culminating requirement. Plan C is patterned after programs offered at many universities granting the Ph.D. The purpose of the examination is to test the student's mastery of his/her special field of study in English. In addition to their work in English, students planning further graduate study are also strongly advised to study French, German, or Latin, since proficiency in two of these is usually required in doctoral programs and to have completed a course in contemporary critical theory.
A creative writing program is offered under Plan B. In this program, students take a series of creative writing courses taught by the English Department's several published novelists, poets, TV and screen writers. Students focusing their studies in creative writing are also required to take at least four literature courses. Students complete their degree programs by writing a novel, a collection of short stories or poems, a full-length teleplay or filmscript, or other similar project.
The MA concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) requires extensive study of linguistics and pedagogy, as well as actual teaching and/or tutoring experience with second-language students. The only culminating experience of the TESOL MA concentration is the comprehensive examination.
Because many graduate students work during the days, most graduate courses are scheduled during the late afternoon and evening hours. A booklet describing in detail upcoming undergraduate and graduate course offerings is available at the English department office several months prior to each semester. Graduate students are expected to consult this course description booklet, which also contains detailed information on course offerings and other details about the graduate program.