Concentration in Literature

The MA in literature focuses on literary history and methods and theories of literary study. This degree does not require an area of specialization, but many students find that the generous opportunity to take electives (12 credits/four courses) enables them to concentrate their studies in a particular area if they so choose. Students wishing to concentrate on composition may be interested in our Concentration in Writing Studies and Rhetoric.

Course Requirements

The MA in literature requires 30 hours of graduate work. All students must meet the following requirements:

1. English 601, Literary Research and Critical Contexts, or English 602, Critical Theory and Literary Criticism (3 credits)

2. One course in Critical Theory, Genre, or Rhetoric (3 credits)

3. One course in each of the following (12 credits):

a) Medieval and/or Early Modern
b) The Long Eighteenth Century
c) The Long Nineteenth Century
d) Modern and Contemporary

The distribution of the remaining 12 hours depends upon the student's selection of the MA Thesis or MA Writing Project option (see below). All students, however, must take at least 9 of their 30 credits in 700-level seminars or their equivalent. Students may take up six credits of independent-study courses to fulfill 600-level electives requirement. Students may also, in place of three credits of an independent-study class, take one 400 level course to fulfill the elective requirement. Students interested in taking an independent-study course for 600-level course credit should collaborate with their professor in writing up an intended course of study and file it with the Graduate Office for approval by the DGS before the first day of classes each semester (please see Independent Study Form here). Students may also make special arrangements to do additional work in their 600-level courses to have those courses count as a seminar/700 level course. Students wishing to take a 600-level class as a seminar must provide the Graduate Studies Office with a proposal and syllabus detailing the additional work that will be undertaken in order for the course to be counted as a 700-level seminar. The proposal and syllabus must be signed by both student and instructor and submitted to the Graduate Studies Office for approval by the DGS at the beginning of the semester. Please see form for taking a course for seminar credit here. Students may not take an independent study for seminar/700 level credit except in extreme circumstances and only after receiving permission from the DGS.

Please note that students can't retake courses for credit; only one course number can count towards their degree requirements. Courses that end in a letter can count towards their degree requirements, given that the ending letter is different for both courses.

The student who chooses to complete the MA Writing Project will complete 30 credits of course work. The student who chooses the thesis option will take a total of eight courses (24 credits) and will register for six credits of thesis research (English 799).

Faculty Mentor

Each MA student will be assigned one faculty member as a mentor with whom you should meet at least once a semester. The purpose of these meetings will not be a discussion of your progress in the fulfillment of the program requirements (for which you should continue to meet with the Graduate Director or Graduate Coordinator); rather, the purpose will be to discuss your intellectual experience and progress in the program relevant to your particular field(s) of interest, your participation in the department's intellectual life as relevant to your field(s) of interest, as well as your professional plans for the remainder of the program and beyond. For the purpose of these meetings, the Graduate Studies Office has a short self-evaluation form with a few prompts for you to complete and email to your mentor before the meeting. During the meeting, you should discuss the form, obtain your mentor's signature, and return it to the Graduate Studies Office. The purpose of this form is simply to give you some points of discussion for your meetings with your mentor and to ensure that you are in touch with a faculty member in the department. This person will be there for you to talk to if you have any questions or concerns with regard to your professional and intellectual development. We intend this program to be a service to you, not as an additional requirement. While it is preferred that you meet with your mentor in person, we recognize that some of you are in the program as part-time students and have jobs outside the department that may make it difficult for you to meet with your mentor in person. As such, you have the option of conducting these meetings by phone or Skype. After the conversation, your mentor can simply forward your self-evaluation form to the Graduate Studies Office, in lieu of you submitting a hard copy with his or her signature.