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Department of English College of Arts & Letters

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Graduate Programs in English

English MA Program

The English MA program is designed for students who have had substantial undergraduate preparation in English, and is of special value to students who plan to teach English in a community college, who wish to further develop their creative writing talent, or who expect to pursue a Ph.D. in English. The program is divided into two concentrations: literature and creative writing.

The literature concentration covers a wide range of American, British, and world literary works. Students in this concentration will gain a familiarity with a wide variety of literary traditions, periods, and genres; an understanding of diverse critical perspectives available in the field of literary studies; and an interpretive engagement with the complexities of literary texts.

The creative writing concentration focuses on achieving clarity of imaginative expression. Students in this concentration develop an ability to understand and express ideas through or in dialogue with literary forms; to write with a tone of authority; and to critique their own or each other's works using the fundamental terminology of the craft.

MA in Composition, Rhetoric and Professional Writing Program

The MA in Composition, Rhetoric, and Professional Writing is recommended for students preparing to teach at the high school or community college level or advance as writers in professional, workplace contexts. The MA in Composition, Rhetoric, and Professional Writing offers preparation for careers in fields such as education, journalism, publishing, law, technical writing, advertising, arts administration, or civil service; or to pursue study at the doctoral level. Because many graduate students work during the day, most graduate courses are scheduled for late afternoon and evening hours. The course of study leads to an M.A. thesis project in rhetoric, composition, and professional writing in which the student undertakes original research or creates a professional writing portfolio under the supervision of a two-person faculty committee.

Sac State also offers the TESOL Master of Arts (MA) program.

Additional Information

For useful, general information about the English MA program, please review the English Graduate Student Handbook. If you have further questions, please contact the graduate program administrative staff at marianna.lilley@csus.edu or the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Rice at rice@csus.edu. For more information about the university application process, please contact the Office of Graduate Studies.

Certificates

Teaching Composition Certificate

This 15-18 unit, supplemental program of study provides advanced training in composition teaching. The Teaching Composition Certificate prepares graduate students who wish to teach English composition at the college level.

The Teaching Composition Certificate is not a degree program or teaching credential. The certificate represents formal recognition of completion of an organized, integrated, specialized program of study. In conjunction with a master's degree, it may be helpful in obtaining employment as a composition teacher at a community college or university.

Please review the Teaching Composition Certificate Requirements Worksheet for course requirements and more details. If you have further questions, please contact the English department Writing Programs Coordinator, Dr. Angela Clark-Oates.

Learning Outcomes

English MA Program

  • an ability to critically analyze and question knowledge claims in the specialized discipline;
  • an ability to write clearly, effectively, and imaginatively, and to adjust writing style appropriately to the content and nature of the subject;
  • an ability to conduct research projects and to articulate them within appropriate conceptual and methodological frameworks, and to locate, evaluate, organize, and incorporate information effectively;
  • an ability to conduct advanced research and documentation in the discipline, including print and electronic forms of information retrieval;
  • an ability to engage in the oral exchange of ideas with faculty and fellow students.

MA in Composition, Rhetoric, and Professional Writing

  • A working knowledge of praxis—the ways rhetoric and composition theory and practice inform one another
  • An ability to write clearly, effectively, and multimodally; to use rhetorical knowledge to inform writing process; to locate, evaluate, organize, and incorporate evidence effectively; and to examine explicitly writing and thinking processes
  • An ability to engage, evaluate, and critique a variety of pedagogies, research, and professional writing methods
  • An ability to conduct research in rhetoric, composition, and professional writing using appropriate methods and methodological frameworks
  • An ability to join an on-going scholarly and professional conversation and contextualize an original contribution through primary and secondary research
  • An ability to articulate the sociopolitical and sociocultural implications of researching rhetoric, teaching composition, and professional writing.

Admission Requirements

The Graduate Coordinator will screen all MA applicants according to the requirements listed below and a ranking system devised by the department. Applicants who have deficiencies in these admission requirements which can be removed by specified additional preparation will be ranked accordingly, but may be admitted with conditionally classified graduate status. Any deficiencies will be noted on a writted response from the Graduate Coordinator to the student's admission application.

Please note: GRE scores are not required for admission to the English MA program. None of the requirements listed below are subject to waiver.

English MA Literature and Creative Writing Concentrations

  • a baccalaureate degree;
  • a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 units of all university level coursework OR a 3.0 GPA in courses in the English major on the transcript from your degree-graduating institution;
  • at least 27 units of upper division coursework in English;
  • a minimum of 15 units of upper-division coursework in literature, including;
    • at least 1 British literature course
    • at least 1 American literature course
  • TOEFL score (for foreign student admissions only--see below)

MA in Composition, Rhetoric, and Professional Writing

  • a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 units of all university level coursework OR a 3.0 GPA in courses in Communication Studies, Education, English, Philosophy, Political Science or related major on the transcript from your degree-granting institution (effective beginning with Spring 2015 admissions)
  • Statement of purpose and writing sample
  • Students from foreign universities must take the TOEFL test, which is administered in different formats; students need take only one format of the exam. Required scores for each format are as follows:
    • paper based TOEFL: 600, with a score of 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE)
    • computer based TOEFL: 250, with a score of 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE)
    • internet based TOEFL (IBT): 100, with a minimum of 25 on the writing section

Foreign Student Admissions

Students from foreign universities must take the TOEFL test, which is administered in different formats; students need take only one format of the exam. Required scores for each format are as follows:

  • Paper-based TOEFL: 600, with a score of 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE)
  • Computer-based TOEFL: 250, with a score of 5 on the Test of Written English (TWE)
  • Internet-based TOEFL (IBT): 100, with a minimum of 25 on the writing section

How to Apply

We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2021 admissions.

Application to our graduate programs is a two-step process. Both steps must be completed in full by the application deadline to be considered for admission to the program.

Step 1: University Application

Thoroughly read both Step 1 and Step 2 before beginning the application process.

Applicants who meet admission requirements (listed above) should submit a university application to the Office of Graduate Studies via the Cal State Apply online application system, pay the application fee, and submit official transcripts for all undergraduate coursework completed.

Cal State Apply

Note: Do not upload materials to Cal State Apply. Uploaded materials will not be included in your application.

Step 2: English Department Application

Applicants should then submit a completed English Department Supplemental Application packet, along with all requested supplementary materials, directly to the English department. Please review the application packet for complete details. Your personal statment and your supplemental application can be mailed or they can be emailed to marianna.lilley@csus.edu.

Supplemental Application Packet

Applicants are also required to submit three letters of recommendation using our Letter of Recommendation Form. The English Department does not utilize the online letter of recommendation system in Cal State Apply.

We will accept letters of recommendation submitted in person if they are in a sealed envelope with the seal signed, by mail, or a recommendor may email their completed letter of recommendation form to marianna.lilley@csus.edu directly.

Letter of Recommendation Form


For questions about the English MA program application process, please contact marianna.lilley@csus.edu.

Application Deadline

To be considered, all application materials for Fall 2021 admission are due March 1, 2021.

English MA Exam Reading Lists

The next exam — for the Literature concentration — is set for November 15th.

For other upcoming dates and preparation for the English MA Literature and Creative Writing comprehensive exams (culminating experience), please review the English MA Comprehensive Exam Reading Lists:

Creative Writing

Literature

Comprehensive Exam Rubric