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English MA Requirements

The M.A. degree in English is a 30 credit program which may be completed in either of two ways, depending on the student’s capstone choice. Students must have a 3.00 GPA in order to begin either capstone project.

Plan A (Thesis)
ENG 598 Research in English 3 credits
ENG 500 Seminar in American Literature 3 credits
ENG 501 Seminar in British Literature 3 credits
ENG 530 Topics in Literary Periods 3 credits
ENG 540 Topics in Literature and Theory 3 credits
ENG 599 Thesis 3 credits

12 credits of electives at the 400 and 500 levels, with no more than 9 credits at the 400 level, as approved by the faculty adviser.


Plan B (Comprehensive Examination)
ENG 598 Research in English 3 credits
ENG 500 Seminar in American Literature 3 credits
ENG 501 Seminar in British Literature 3 credits
ENG 530 Topics in Literary Periods 3 credits
ENG 540 Topics in Literature and Theory 3 credits

15 credits of electives at the 400 and 500 levels, with no more than 9 credits at the 400 level, as approved by the faculty adviser.


ENG 598 Research in English: English 598, typically taught every fall, is an intensive introduction to the principles and practice of literary theory and criticism. It is required of all English M.A. students, and should be taken as early as possible in the program—in the student’s first semester whenever possible—because of its emphasis on the research procedures and critical approaches expected in all other graduate work.

Seminars: ENG 500 (Seminar in American Literature) and ENG 501 (Seminar in British Literature) are both required courses for the M.A. degree. English 500 is usually offered in the fall, and English 501 in the spring; students should plan their schedules accordingly. Each seminar course may be taken twice, on different topics.

ENG 530 Topics in Literary Periods: English 530 is a required course for the M.A. degree, and is typically offered at least once each year. It is designed to familiarize students with a particular literary period, and with the concept of literary periodization. English 530 may be taken twice, on different topics.

ENG 540 Topics in Literature and Theory: English 540 is a required course for the M.A. degree, and is typically offered at least once each year. To be taken after ENG 598, it offers students in-depth exposure to a particular school or method of literary theory or criticism and teaches them to apply it to a given set of literary texts. English 540 may be taken twice, on different topics.

400-Level Courses: Graduate students may take a maximum of three 400-level courses. Not all 400-level courses in English may be counted towards the M.A. degree; students should consult this Handbook, the Graduate Catalogue, and/or their adviser to be sure that a course is appropriate. Graduate students enrolled in 400-level courses should identify themselves to the instructor on or before the first day of classes, and will be expected to do additional work.

Independent Studies: Students wishing to pursue an interest not covered in regularly available course work may do so through English 590 (Graduate Tutorial: Individual Guided Reading). Interested students should consult with their advisers and then must seek out a faculty member qualified and willing to direct the tutorial. Independent Study proposals must be approved by the supervising faculty member, the department chair, the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Dean of Graduate Studies, and that approval will not be given for a project that duplicates the scope of an existing course offered by the English Department. English 590 may be taken twice, on different topics.

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