English Department Graduate Capstone Requirements
Master's in English LiteratureMaster's in English Literature

ENG 595, Special Project (Capstone Option C):

Guidelines for Students and Faculty

Students who have completed a minimum of 18 credits in the English MA, Online-Hybrid Track for Teachers, may register for 595, “Special Project.”

In contrast to the capstone options available to the literary studies track—the broad comprehensive exam or the narrowly focused thesis—the special project is a case study that requires intense work on a single text, but combined with a broad overview of the scholarship on a relevant issue.  The case study should offer a clearly defined formal, thematic, theoretical, historical, or cultural issue that is the focus of a literature review as well as a close analysis of the text itself.  The overall length is less than a thesis, and the close reading of a primary source that the project demands can either be applied in support of an existing scholarly perspective or used to complicate existing scholarly perspectives in some way.

Students who wish to register for 595 must find a project adviser who is expert in the field of inquiry. The central text and the relevant issue to be explored should be chosen in consultation with the project advisor, who will approve a project proposal before the student can register for the course. The proposal must also be approved by the DGS before the student can register, which generally must happen before the end of the drop/add period, usually the first week of the semester.

Registration is completed through the Capstone Registration Form, which the student and project advisor will complete together and submit to the DGS.

Working with the faculty adviser, students will determine a regular schedule of contact and review of work in progress.

Students will create a substantial annotated bibliography.

Students will write a 25-page essay:

  1. presenting their research through the organization of multiple critical perspectives (the literature review) and,
  2. adopting, adapting, or providing an alternative to existing critical views through close and sophisticated literary analysis of the text itself,

Students will present their project publicly at an event organized by either the English Department or its graduate society.  The presentation will factor in the final grade.

The project should be completed in one semester. 

The case study should be written at the appropriate level, free of mechanical and usage errors, and written, formatted and documented in accordance with MLA style.