University Bulletin 2017-2018

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English (MA) - Literature Concentration

Requirements for Degree
A.  A minimum of thirty-six semester hours of credit is required beyond the bachelor’s degree with a grade of "A" or "B," to include the following two courses in the first year of course work.
EH 501 Intro to Literary Theory
EH 502 Graduate Writing in English
Two courses from literary periods pre-1800
Two courses from literary periods post-1800
No more than 18 hours of dual-listed courses (400 and 500 level listing for the same course) may be counted towards meeting the minimum hours required for a degree.
Graduate students will receive graduate credit only for the 500 level versions of dual-listed courses.
B. Before graduation, English M.A. students in the literature concentration must successfully meet their comprehensive examination requirement by completing either a literature thesis and oral thesis defense or by completing a capstone option.
Literature Thesis: The literature thesis is the preferred option for students who plan to enter a doctoral program in English. Students write a thesis, which may draw on a student's previous written work in courses, but which must also involve substantial further research under the supervision of a thesis director. Students take three to six semester hours of credit toward the graduation requirement, which will be granted upon successful completion and defense of the thesis, leaving a minimum of thirty hours of credit to be accomplished in course work. An oral exam or defense, which will situate the thesis in the comprehensive objectives of the literature concentration, will be required one to two weeks prior to the Thesis First Submission Deadline for the Graduate School. 
Literature Capstone: Students produce a capstone project, either the Research Essay or the Digital Humanities Teaching Option, which may draw on a student's previous written work in courses, but which must also involve significant further research, meeting the comprehensive objectives of the literature concentration under the supervision of a capstone mentor. In their last semester of graduate study, students take three semester hours of Directed Study credit toward the capstone requirement, leaving a minimum of thirty-three hours of credit to be accomplished in course work. Each capstone requires an annotated bibliography, a major researched essay or an essay/digital presentation, and a presentation in the department. In order to qualify for graduation, all capstone work must be completed by April 15 (spring) or November 15 (fall) and receive the approval of the capstone mentor and the Graduate Committee. 
Departmental presentations will be scheduled between the deadline and the end of semester.
C. Demonstrated proficiency in a foreign language is required.
Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement:
All students pursuing the M.A. in English must demonstrate a reading proficiency in Spanish, French, German, or Latin before registering for the comprehensive exam or for thesis hours. Foreign nationals for whom English is not native may offer their native language. Credit in reading courses in acceptable languages may not count toward the 36 hour credit requirement for the M.A. in English. 

Department of English web site

Through its focus on the interpretation, analysis, and production of literary and other texts, the English Department teaches students how those texts shape and are shaped by the world around them. In so doing, the Department helps students acquire the critical skills they need to analyze and participate in these interactions and contribute to the shaping of their worlds. The faculty's teaching and research in literature, creative writing, and composition/rhetoric combine to foster excellence in critical reading, creative thinking, and effective writing.

For all students, the Department provides the composition skills essential for success at the University and offers courses introducing the cultural diversity and historical breadth of British, American, and world literatures. For students majoring or minoring in English, the Department teaches critical strategies needed for intensive study in creative writing, professional writing, and in diverse literatures in English. For students pursuing graduate study in English, the Department provides advanced training in creative writing, literary analysis, rhetoric, methods of scholarly research, and critical theory. In all cases, by asking students to read, discuss, and write about a wide variety of texts, the Department promotes an inclusive and evolving understanding of English Studies.

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100, First Year Experience, as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry. EH 300 will fulfill the technology proficiency requirement.

Honors in English

To be awarded Departmental Honors in English a student must:

  1. Complete all the standard requirements for the major in English.
  2. Maintain a 3.5 overall GPA (University requirement) and a 3.5 GPA in all course work in English.
  3. Receive permission from the Department Chair and agreement from a Department member to serve as mentor.
  4. Complete a Senior Honors Thesis (EH 499), with a grade of "A" or "B" in addition to the standard requirements for the English major. EH 499, Senior Honors Thesis (six semester hours credit), may be counted toward three hours of the 36 hours required for the major and toward three hours of the nine 400-level hours required for the major. Thus, the student receiving honors in English will be required to take a total of 39 hours in English instead of 36. In EH 499 the student will normally take three hours in the Fall semester for research and three in the Spring for writing. A final committee of three or more faculty members, including a representative of the University Honors College, will conduct an oral defense. The thesis must be approved by the director of the University Honors College.

Graduate studies

The Master of Arts degree program in English is designed to meet the needs of students pursuing a terminal M.A. and of those planning to work toward the Ph.D. and a career in university teaching. The terminal M.A. serves such career tracks as junior college or secondary-school teaching and writing or editing in the business or corporate community. Creative writers find the degree meaningful in careers both in and out of the academic community.

Requirements for admission

Students are admitted each semester. 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 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.
  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.

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 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.

Non-degree admission

Applicants for non-degree status in English will normally be admitted only if they meet admission standards for provisional admission. That is, they must have a 2.5 GPA overall and in junior-level 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 Department Chair and the Director of Graduate Studies of the College 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. Non-degree students can change their status to Regular Admission by reapplying to the program after two semesters. Non-degree students can transfer up to 15 credit hours they earned as non-degree students.

Graduate assistantships

The English Department awards both teaching assistantships and research assistantships. Teaching assistantships involve responsibility for freshman composition classes. Graduate students holding research assistantships are usually assigned tasks involving tutoring, research, editing, or administrative/clerical tasks. Awards are normally made for the academic year; occasionally, assistantships become available for spring semester. Applications are taken continuously; competition for appointments begins in May for the following year. See Graduate Coordinator for information and application. (See also Bulletin section on Graduate School, "Assistantships and Fellowships.")