Requirements for the Master’s degree are designed to be completed within two years. The time limit for the completion of requirements for the Master’s degree is six calendar years from the date of enrollment in the first course included for degree certification. Should the degree requirements not be completed within the six-year period, the course work must be recertified. In addition to meeting the requirements of the University and the College of Arts & Letters, students must meet the Department requirements specified below. The Associate Chair of Graduate Studies acts as primary advisor to M.A. students. 

1. Core Courses: For students enrolling in Fall 2016 or later, complete ENG 802: Literary Criticism and Theory. This course in criticism, theory, and method is designed to introduce students to the stakes and practices of current literary and cultural scholarship. For students enrolling in Fall 2021 or later, also complete ENG 800: Race, Gender, and the Human. This course focuses on contemporary humanistic scholarship about the intersections of race and gender and reflects our department’s acknowledgement of the centrality of race and gender to historical understandings of the human in the U.S. and to the production of knowledge in the humanities in the U.S. Students completing the Graduate Certificate in Film Studies may substitute FLM 800 for ENG 802. Any substitution for these requirements must be approved by the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies.

2. Proseminars: In your first year, attend a series of 4 – 6 workshops programmed by the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies and led by members of the Graduate Committee. These proseminars may require reading or other preparation. They will introduce students to the profession, research methodologies, and practical strategies for succeeding in graduate school.

3. Course work: Complete an additional 21(for Plan A) or 24 (for Plan B) credits of graduate course work in English or related fields with attention to issues of criticism and theory, literary and cultural history, and multi-national or global literary traditions (for a total of 27 credits [Plan A] or 30 credits [Plan B]). No more than six credits of course work outside the department (excluding cross-listed courses, which count simply as ENG courses) may count towards the degree. Of these courses, students must complete one course that covers literature before 1800. Not more than four credits of ENG 890 Independent Study may be counted toward the requirements for the Master of Arts degree in Literature in English. ENG 890 may not be substituted for any required course.

3. Foreign-Language Requirement: Demonstrate second-year proficiency at the college level in a language other than English within the first year of enrollment in the program. This may be done by completing course work through the 200 level (transcriptable courses passed in the student’s undergraduate years shall count), passing an examination of reading comprehension, or completing a 400-level reading course for graduate students in a language other than English.

4. Thesis or Portfolio: Complete requirements for Plan A (thesis and four credits of English 899 Master’s Thesis Research for a total of 31 required credits) or Plan B (one additional graduate course and final certifying examination in the form of a portfolio for a total of 30 required credits).

Plan A: Master’s Thesis: The purpose of the M.A. thesis is to demonstrate the student’s ability to produce a publishable article that, as part of the thesis writing process, will be submitted to a journal. In consultation with a thesis director, the student will produce either an original thesis or a substantial revision of an earlier paper written for an M.A. course, approximately 30 – 40 pages in length.

Plan B: M.A. Certifying Examination: The purpose of the M.A. certifying examination is to demonstrate the student’s ability to reflect on and synthesize his or her graduate-level course work. The basis of the Certifying Examination will be a portfolio collected from the student in her last semester of study. The portfolio must contain five representative papers drawn from course work in the Master’s program. On the basis of the five papers selected for the portfolio, the student will write an integrative, reflective essay of a minimum of 10 pages.