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English: Literature - Master of Arts
Our M.A. program offers you the opportunity to explore the formal, historical, cultural, and theoretical dimensions of diverse forms of the written word.
An M.A. candidate must pass nine four-credit courses, including at least three seminars, taken at the 900 level. Those courses designated "seminars" are for graduate students only and have a maximum of ten students. At least two courses must be in literature before 1800 and at least two after 1800. Of these at least one must be in British or Post-Colonial literature and at least one in American literature. Each M.A. candidate must pass the introductory course in the graduate study of literature (ENGL 925) and a course in literary theory (ENGL 812, 813, 814, 926, 927). Students should plan to take ENGL 925 in their first semester.
As a general rule, all courses counting toward the M.A. degree should be taken within the English department. In special circumstances, however, a student may be granted permission by the graduate committee to apply toward the degree up to two graduate courses offered by other departments. Requests to take courses outside the department should be submitted prior to the semester in which the student wishes to take the course. Before registering, candidates must plan their programs with the Director of Graduate Studies. Those students enrolled full-time normally take three courses per semester; those holding teaching assistantships normally take two courses. While the M.A. program allows students considerable freedom in course selection, it also encourages them to correct deficiencies in their undergraduate training. A schedule of courses is available on the Web and in the English department office a few weeks before the beginning of any given semester. It lists sections, instructors, times, and rooms for courses being offered for the upcoming semester.
Except in unusual circumstances, students are not to take independent study courses in their first year of graduate work. After completing 16 hours of coursework, students may, with the approval of an instructor and the Graduate Director pursue one independent study (ENGL 995). A student's proposal will be judged on its quality and its applicability to the student's program. Proposals should be submitted at the time for pre-registration, and all proposals are subject to the review of the Graduate Committee.
Foreign Language Requirement
M.A. Students are required to demonstrate competence in a foreign language, both for its intrinsic value and for its value as a tool for the humanistic scholar. Either of the following options may be chosen to demonstrate this competence:
- Passing a reading knowledge test administered by the English Department, in which one printed page is to be translated in an hour with the aid of a dictionary. Passages will be either from literature or criticism. In appropriate cases, exams can be set in certain historical periods of a language--in Renaissance rather than Classical Latin, for example. Exams will generally be held twice (November and March) in an academic year. Students should take the exam early in their graduate careers to allow time to retake it if necessary. No student will be allowed to repeat an exam in the same semester that he or she failed it.
- Passing a fourth-semester college-level course in one foreign language with at least the grade of B.
Foreign students whose native language is not English may be said to have passed the foreign language requirement in their native language.
Master's or Seminar Paper
In the final semester of coursework, Master's in Literature students must complete one of the following:
- A Master's Paper, a finished, polished scholarly paper approximately thirty-five pages in length. Students will receive four credits by registering for ENGL 998, The Master's Paper. The work required for ENGL 998 must be original and not merely rewriting a paper previously submitted in a course or seminar. The semester prior to registering for ENGL 998, students must submit a written proposal signed by the professor who will supervise the research and by another professor who will serve as a second reader. Each student should then plan a series of regular conferences with them and expect demands for revision and rewriting to be made. The paper will not be accepted until the two readers have signed a final approval cover sheet. The paper will not be accepted until both readers have signed a final approval cover sheet and a copy of the paper is submitted to the English Department office of graduate studies. The ENGL 998 course is graded on a credit-fail basis.
- An Extended Seminar Paper. This research paper should be of article quality and length (at least twenty-five pages); it is written in conjunction with a seminar in literature or theory taken in the final semester of coursework. Students must indicate at the time of pre-registration that they will be using the seminar to satisfy this requirement. Students should consult with the seminar professor within the first week of classes to work out how and when the extended seminar paper will be completed.