Our Master of Arts, or MA, in English will advance your writing and research skills while providing you with an experience as university-level writing teacher. You’ll be well prepared for careers in writing, editing, business, secondary and community college teaching, and other professions seeking broadly educated individuals with excellent analytic and communication skills. Many of our MA graduates pursue teaching and research careers and go on to attend doctoral programs in English, while others use their training to develop their craft as creative writers.
We offer three graduate tracks:
MA Curriculum and Degree Requirements
All master’s students are required to complete 30 hours of coursework, meet the foreign language requirement, and compile a portfolio. See below for more details.
Foreign Language Requirement
Master’s students in all concentrations must demonstrate reading proficiency in one foreign language. Students may satisfy this requirement in French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, Spanish, or any other language approved by the director of graduate studies. A student whose first language is not English may ask to have this requirement waived. Students may demonstrate reading proficiency of a foreign language in one of three ways:
- By earning, within the last five years, at least a B in two undergraduate literature courses taught in a foreign language.
- By taking the foreign language proficiency exam given each term.
- By taking a 3-hour pass/fail reading proficiency course in a foreign language taught by the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures and earning a final grade of “S.” This course does not carry graduate credit.
In the final semester of the program, master’s students complete an ePortfolio, a website for presenting their work to the faculty and to external audiences including potential employers and doctoral or professional admissions committees.
The ePortfolio provides evidence not only of substantive work in the graduate program but of intellectual growth, represented in carefully selected artifacts (such as scholarly and creative work, professional documents, web pages, and teaching materials), purposeful arrangement and presentation of these, and reflective writing which works to connect, contextualize, and integrate them into a coherent, if still emerging, professional identity.
Students can choose a faculty advisor either at the end of their first year or early in their second year, along with two committee members to guide their work on the ePortfolio. The English faculty and the University’s ePortfolio Project staff provide good resources to support students working on ePortfolios, including regular workshops, individual mentoring, and technical assistance.
Toward the end of their first year, MA students should identify which of the three tracks they want to pursue and their major professor. Together the student and the major professor will identify one other committee member to develop the student’s portfolio; the third and final committee member will be the graduate coordinator, who will sign the plan of study and all graduate school forms, and collect the portfolio materials for the department.
Submission of ePortfolio and Oral Exam
Early in the semester of graduation, the student and major professor meet to discuss the contents of the ePortfolio and plan a timetable for when to submit the ePortfolio and conduct the oral exam. Students graduating in the spring should take the exam no later than the first week of April in order to meet the Graduate School deadline for submitting Form 8, which indicates they have passed the exam. The exam will be coordinated by the chair and should include at least one other member of the advisory committee.