For important information on M.A. policies an procedures, please consult the Graduate Handbook 2018.
Students admitted into our MA program can pursue a general literary degree, or can specialize in a particular area of literary, cultural, or rhetorical study. We are not currently able to offer a concentration in Creative Writing, but students can write a creative thesis if they have faculty members willing to serve on the committee.
Master of Arts, Thesis Option: 24 hours of coursework and 6 hours of thesis research. This is a University requirement that does not take assistantships into account. Students on assistantship will take 27-30 hours of coursework for the thesis option.
Master of Arts, Non-Thesis Option: 36 hours of coursework
All M.A. students must take ENGL 603: Bibliography and Research Methods and fulfill 12 additional hours of distribution requirements. Distribution requirements are as follows:
- One course in any literature, pre-1800
- One course in any literature, 1800-the present
- One course organized around concepts, issues, or themes, rather than chronologically.
- One course in theory (any kind of theory, including composition/rhetoric and linguistics)
M.A. students must demonstrate competency in a minimum of one foreign language. Find out more about the Language Requirement.
M.A. students may take up to two 400-level undergraduate courses, but must first seek permission from the Director of Graduate Studies, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and the Instructor.
Students can only take 6 hours of coursework in another department, and 6 hours of ENGL 685.
Graduate Certificates: M.A. students can opt to earn Graduate Certificates in Women’s and Gender Studies, Africana Studies, Digital Humanities, and Film Studies. Interested students should consult their advisor and the director of the relevant program.
Other Program Requirements
Degree Plans: MA students should file a degree plan no later than the beginning of the second year. The degree plan can be accessed through the OGAPS Degree Plan System. Second-year MA students may pre-register for Fall 691 hours, but they must file a Thesis degree plan before the start of the second Fall semester.
Scheduling Final Exams: MA students must schedule final exams (for both thesis and non-thesis degrees) by filling out and printing the appropriate OGAPS forms, getting them signed by the Director of Graduate Studies (not the Department Head), and conferring with the English Graduate Office staff, who will reserve a room for the exam.
M.A. Thesis (Thesis Option Only): The MA thesis is a substantial work, written in close consultation with an advisor. It can be in any topic of literary, cultural, or rhetorical study. MA theses vary in length. Students pursing the Thesis Option should consult with their advisory committee about the expectations for their thesis.
M.A. Portfolio (Non-Thesis Option Only): In their final semester, non-thesis M.A. students will prepare and submit a portfolio including the following elements: 1) a seminar-length paper selected by the student from his or her coursework, polished and revised for presentation to the committee; 2) an unmarked copy of the original seminar paper; 3) a 500-word statement articulating the intellectual rationale for selecting this paper as representative of their interests and indicating how the paper might be developed or revised further 4) a list of five significant topics for which the student will be responsible for discussing at the oral examination, each with a list of five works drawn from coursework and research; and 5) a statement of approximately 1000 words outlining the ways in which the selected paper, topics, and list of significant texts fit together to create an intellectually coherent area of exploration or study.
Oral Examinations: Oral examinations are the “Final Exam” referred to in the Graduate Catalog. All oral exams are administered by the individual student’s Advisory Committee. In preparation for fulfilling all the requirements for the M.A., students should refer to OGAPS for semester deadlines or pick up a handout from the Graduate Office.
Thesis Option: The oral is a 1-hour thesis defense. The thesis must be in substantially final form with adequate time allowed for all members to review it. The oral may be waived for students whose GPR is 3.5 or better, with approval by the Advisory Committee, DGS, and OGAPS.
Assistantship eligibility ends in May of your second year. Note the 7-year limit on completing M.A. requirements.