College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Master of Arts in English

(Emphasis in Literary Studies )

This broad program provides a solid foundation for more specialized doctoral study in English or American literature, American studies, comparative literature, or postcolonial anglophone literatures, as well as for professional training in such areas as law, information technology, divinity, journalism, and business. Students pursuing an M.A. in literature may choose either to write a thesis or to prepare a final portfolio.

I. Program and Course Requirements (30-38 credit hours)

  1. Candidates may choose either a thesis or a non-thesis (portfolio) program. The thesis program requires a minimum of 24 semester hours of graded courses work. At least 21 hours will normally be taken in 500-level seminars in English; no more than 3 hours of non-graduate coursework (300- and 400-level courses) may be included. Preparation of the thesis will require at least 4 hours of ENGL 700, under the direction of a faculty member serving as the chair of the advisory committee. (At the end of the second semester of the program, the student will choose a committee of three faculty members to serve on this committee.) Early in the third semester, the student must submit a Program of Study to the WSU Graduate School; the English Department's Academic Coordinator normally helps students prepare these forms.

  • Candidates must demonstrate competence in at least one foreign language (see Foreign Language Proficiency Requirements) before proceeding to the submission and defense of the thesis.
  • Students holding Teaching Assistantships are also required to take 3 credits of ENGL 598 (normally 1 credit during each of their first three semesters), as well as 1 credit of ENGL 600 during each of their four semesters of employment. The usual sequence of English 598 is as follows:
    • First Semester: Directed Study in the Writing Center (English 102);
      arrangements will be made by the Director of the Writing Center
    • Second Semester: Weekly Colloquium on Freshman Composition, to be
      attended by all first-time Teaching Assistants.
    • Third or Fourth Semester: Mentored Teaching arranged between student
      and faculty member.
    B.      The portfolio (non-thesis) program requires at least 27 hours of graded
    coursework. At least 24 of these hours will normally be taken in the 500-level series of seminars; no more than 3 hours on non-graduate coursework (300- and 400-level courses) may be included. Students must also enroll in at least 4 hours of ENGL 702.
    • Candidates must demonstrate competence in at least one foreign language (see Foreign Language Proficiency Requirements) before proceeding to the
      submission and defense of the portfolio.
    • Students holding Teaching Assistantships are required to take 3 credits of ENGL 598 (normally 1 credit during each of their first three semesters), as well as 1 credit of ENGL 600 during each of their four semesters of employment.

    • In the non-thesis program, students are required to submit a portfolio of professional writing. At the end of the second semester of the program, the student will choose a group of three or four faculty members to serve as the advisory committee; one of these faculty members will be designated by the student as the committee chair. During the third semester, the student must submit a Program of Study to the WSU Graduate School (see the Academic Coordinator for help with this). During the fourth and final semester, the student will provide a copy of the revised portfolio to the members of his or her advisory committee. Under the guidance of the chair of this committee, the faculty members will work with the student to develop, evaluate, and approve a professional portfolio. Once the portfolio is revised to the
      satisfaction of all committee members, the student will complete a portfolio cover form with committee signatures and provide a copy of the revised portfolio to all committee members and to the Academic Coordinator. The portfolio will consist of the following components:

      1. One revised, publishable seminar paper (with a cover letter addressed to the editor of a suitable journal; and with a list of other potential journals for submission);
      2. One conference paper, usually a ten-page revision and condensation of a different seminar paper (with a cover letter addressed to the organizers of a suitable conference; and with a list of other potential conferences at which the paper might be presented);
      3. A statement of intent that articulates an intellectual rationale for the selection of these two papers, describes the processes of revision, provides a retrospective commentary on the portfolio and its intellectual coherence, and indicates future directions for scholarship and writing. Usually this statement is expected to be about 4-5 pages in length.

    C.   The programs of both thesis and non-thesis candidates must feature at least one graduate literature seminar in each of the following five categories:

    • (1) Medieval literature up to roughly 1485
      (2) English literature from 1485 to 1600, including Shakespeare
      (3) Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British or American literature
      (4) Nineteenth-century British or American literature
      (5) Twentieth-century British, American, or postcolonial literature
    • Both highly specialized and broadly focused courses may be used to satisfy these period requirements. Ambiguous cases should be resolved through discussion with the Director of Graduate Studies.

    D.  All M.A. students holding Teaching Assistantships must take ENGL 501
    (Methodology of Composition) during their first semester in the M.A. program.

    E.   Students in both the thesis and non-thesis programs are required to present a 15-20 minute paper at the annual M.A. Conference sponsored by the English Department near the end of Spring Semester.

II. Oral Examinations

  1.  The final oral examination for the thesis candidate will deal principally
    (though not necessarily exclusively) with the thesis. For the non-thesis candidate, the final oral examination will deal principally with the portfolio. Oral examinations are normally administered by all members of the student's M.A. advisory committee.
  2. The English Department requires that the thesis or portfolio be submitted in final typed form no later than December 14 for completion of the degree in
    Fall Semester, no later than May 2 for completion of the degree in Spring Semester, and no later than August 1 for completion during the Summer. The candidate is expected to deposit the thesis or portfolio in the Department at least five working days before the oral examination. If the candidate passes the examination, the thesis, in final form as approved by the committee, is to be deposited at the WSU Graduate School within five working days.
  3. Final oral examinations may not be scheduled during Finals Week; the last
    eligible day is the Friday of the previous week ("Dead Week").

Literature Emphasis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Department of English, PO Box 645020, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5020, 509-335-2581, Contact Us