University General Course Catalog 2022-2023 
    Jun 14, 2024  

English, M.A.

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The M.A. program is designed for students who plan to continue work toward the Ph.D., for potential community college teachers, for individuals who want to acquire overall background in the study of language and literature, and for those interested in writing and editing careers.

Four specializations are offered within the degree program:

  • literature,
  • writing,
  • public engagement, and
  • language.

Both a thesis plan and a non-­thesis plan are available. Proficiency in one foreign language (the equivalent of four semesters of college­-level coursework) or equivalent interdisciplinary literacy (MAPE) is required.

Contact Information

Dr. Catherine Chaput, Graduate Program Director
(775) 784-6689

Graduate Handbook *

Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Declarative Knowledge: broad knowledge of several of the historical fields in, literary genres of, and major critical approaches to British, American, and World Literatures in English; or, broad knowledge of writing studies issues and methodologies; or broad knowledge in literary and rhetorical public engagement and its methodologies; or broad knowledge of linguistics issues and methodologies.
  2. Students will demonstrate specialized competence in the primary and secondary literature of an appropriate specialized sub-field of literature or writing or public engagement or language.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the M.A. program must hold a bachelor’s degree with an undergraduate major or minor in English and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Potential applicants without an undergraduate major or minor should talk with the Director of Graduate Studies to determine which undergraduate English courses they should take to prepare to apply.

I. Program Requirements

General requirements: In the non-thesis plan, a minimum of 23 units must be earned in residence; in the thesis plan, the minimum is 21 units. All M.A. students are required to take a substantial portion of the coursework at the 700-level or above. In the literature emphasis thesis plan, 18 credits must be completed in courses numbered 700 or above, while in the non-thesis plan, 15 credits must be completed at the 700-level or above. In the M.A. in Public Engagement, students must complete 23 units in courses at the 700-level or above.  In the Writing and Language emphases, 19 units must be numbered 700 or above in the thesis plan, or 16 units in the non-thesis plan. The M.A. program requires a comprehensive exam as part of the degree requirements. In general the exam includes three parts: 

  1. a professional paper or a writing portfolio
  2. a written examination over a set reading list or over coursework
  3. an oral exam of about an hour and a half, covering the professional paper or portfolio and the written exam. Students must register for 1 unit of ENG 795 - Comprehensive Examination  the semester they will be completing their exams.

A. Requirements for Literature Emphasis

In consultation with their M.A. committee chair, each student will complete a professional paper.

1. Research Methods

2. Distribution Requirements

The student must take at least one course in eight of the following 8 categories:

  • Poetry
  • Fiction
  • Drama
  • Linguistics
  • Nonfiction/Intellectual Prose
  • Rhetoric
  • Literary Criticism
  • American Literature
  • British Literature after 1800

Five of the distribution requirements may be met by courses taken at the advanced undergraduate level (the equivalent of our department’s 400-level courses) in which the student earned a “B” or above. The Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the faculty, determines which distribution requirement(s) specific courses may meet. Please review the list of possible Distribution/Literature Topic courses .

3. Literature Topic or Field

The student must take at least two courses in a particular field of interest, determined in consultation with his or her M.A. committee chair. Fields or topics might, for instance, include the Renaissance, nineteenth-century British poetry, or the American novel. 

B. Requirements for Language Emphasis

At the completion of all coursework, the student must submit a professional paper (non­-thesis option) and pass written examinations administered by his or her advisory committee (thesis and non-­thesis option).

1. Research Methods

2. Language Courses

3. Language Electives

For the non-thesis option, these should include nine additional credits. For the thesis option, these should include six additional credits. Below is a list of possible courses. Other courses not listed (including those from outside the English department) may also be selected in consultation with student’s committee or with the approval of linguistics faculty.

4. Other Electives

Other courses should be selected in consultation with the student’s advisory committee to complement the student’s interest in language. Courses may include graduate courses in English, or in other disciplines such as Anthropology, Psychology, Computer Science, World Languages, Basque Studies, Speech Pathology, Philosophy or in the College of Education.

C. Requirements for the Rhetoric and Writing Studies Emphasis

Working closely with the advisory committee, the student will prepare a reading list of approximately 15 important works in the field of Rhetoric and Writing Studies. For the comprehensive examination, the student writes a synthesizing paper on a topic approved by the committee. Additionally, the student takes a one-day written examination, prepared by the committee, over ideas and concepts represented by the student’s selected reading list.

1. Research Methods

3. Other Electives

In consultation with the advisory committee, the student will choose at least 2 courses for the thesis plan or 3 courses for the non-thesis plan, to complement his or her interests. No more than three courses may be taken outside the Department of English. 

4. Language Studies

The student’s undergraduate or graduate course work must include an advanced course in English language studies, as approved by the advisory committee. The following are acceptable courses.

D. Requirements for the Public Engagement Emphasis

In consultation with the M.A. committee chair, each student will complete a professional portfolio. The portfolio will include an historical and critical framework for understanding and engaging a particular issue through literary and rhetorical texts as well as professional materials that display knowledge of the framework.

1. Research Methods

2. Public Engagement Requirements

3. Power Place and Publics Electives

Students will be required to take two English graduate courses that match the focus on power, place and publics through consultation with the instructor as well as their advisor.

4. Other Electives

In consultation with the advisory committee, choose 2 English courses, one in rhetoric and one in literature. Please review the list of elective courses .

5. Interdisciplinary Literacy Requirement

The interdisciplinary literacy requirement mandates that students have competency in a foreign language or cognate discipline. Because this program is designed to be academic as well as instrumental, there may be students for whom a secondary content area is more beneficial that a foreign language competency. Thus, students can decide if they wish to fulfill this requirement through foreign language coursework (or examination), two graduate-level courses in a single discipline outside the English department, or three advanced courses in linguistics. No more than three courses total may be taken outside the English department.

VI. Total Units (30-33 units)

The M.A. program is 30-33 units with 1 credit required for the comprehensive examination (ENG 795 ). The comprehensive examination can be used to fulfill the required units of 700-level coursework.

VII. Notes

The literature emphasis includes a variety of courses dealing with different genres and periods in English and American literatures; it focuses on the ability to think and write critically about literary texts. The Rhetoric and Writing Studies emphasis focuses on the craft of writing and offers a choice of coursework in expository and imaginative writing, composition theory and practice, language, and literature. The public engagement emphasis combines the literature and writing emphasis and adds an emphasis on public engagement. The language specialization includes courses in linguistics, the structure and history of the English language, and literature.

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