Graduate Admissions

"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." - Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817)

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Admission to the Graduate Program

The USA English M.A. Program welcomes applications for its concentrations in the areas of creative writing and literature. For information about the graduate program or for graduate advising, prospective students are encouraged to contact the Graduate Coordinator, Ellen Burton Harrington, or the English Department. Information about M.A. Program funding is available here.

Students are admitted to the M.A. program in English each semester. Applications are due to Admissions on July 15 for Fall entry, December 1 for Spring entry, and May 1 for Summer entry. The University of South Alabama Graduate Application Form is available here. The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria (see Categories of Admission):

Regular Admission

  1. For the Literature Concentration, an undergraduate major in English or at least 30 semester hours of course work in English beyond the freshman level. For the Creative Writing Concentration, at least 15 semester hours of course work in English beyond the freshman level.*

  2. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in junior- and senior-level courses presented in fulfillment of requirement 1.

  3. A score of at least 500 or 153 on the new score scale on the Verbal sub test of the GRE General Test taken within the past seven years.

  4. For all applicants, a personal statement of no more than 500 words, a writing sample of 5-15 pages in the area of concentration (creative writing or literature) and three letters of recommendation. Note that the Admissions office accepts these documents by email.

  5. For applicants for whom English is a second language, a TOEFL IBT score of at least 79 or IELTS score of at least 6.5. (Note that ESL applicants must apply through the International Admissions Office at USA.)

Provisional Admission

  1. For the Literature Concentration, a minor in English or at least 21 semester hours of course work in English beyond the freshman level, at least 12 of these hours in upper-division literature courses. Students lacking the literature component can qualify by completing additional upper-division courses in literature. For the Creative Writing Concentration, 15 semester hours of course work in English beyond the freshman level.* Provisional Admission with fewer semester hours than those stipulated requires specific approval of the Department’s Graduate Committee.

  2. A minimum GPA of 2.50 in junior- and senior- level courses presented in fulfillment of requirement 1.

  3. To be admitted provisionally, applicants should have taken the GRE General Test in the past seven years. Applicants presenting a score of less than 500 or 153 on the new score scale on the Verbal sub test of the GRE General Test must enter in the Provisional category. In rare cases applicants may be admitted provisionally without submitting a score, but one must be submitted before the student can advance to Regular Status.

  4. Same as requirements 4 and 5 for Regular Admission.

*Students must specify their concentration at the time of application and may not thereafter change concentrations without the specific approval of the English Department’s Graduate Committee. Students admitted provisionally may be required to make up deficiencies in their undergraduate course work in addition to the normal degree requirements listed below.

Non-Degree Admission

Applicants for non-degree status in English will normally be admitted only if they meet regular admission standards for provisional admission. That is, they must have a 2.5 GPA overall and in junior- and senior-level courses presented to meet the 21-hour (15 hours for creative writing) course work in English requirement. Following admission, non-degree students must have the permission of the English department chair and the graduate director of the College of Arts and Sciences for each course in which they wish to enroll. Enrollment will be on a space available basis with preference being given to degree students. Non-degree students must satisfy the same prerequisites as degree students to enroll in a course. Non-degree students may not enroll in directed studies courses.

 

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