Nov 29, 2023  
2007-2008 Graduate Catalog 
2007-2008 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

English M.A.

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Applications for admission to the Master of Arts program in English should be filed in the Office of the Graduate School, which will then forward them to the Department of English for processing.

There are three main concentrations of study leading to the Master of Arts degree in English: (1) a concentration in the literature of Britain and the United States (MA-LIT); (2) a concentration in rhetoric and the teaching of writing (MA-RTW); and (3) a concentration in teaching English to speakers of other languages (MA-TESOL). Concentrations may be combined.


  1. For the MA-LIT and MA-RTW programs, a Bachelor of Arts degree, normally with a major in English. Students from other majors may be required to take the GRE General Examination and/or prerequisite courses to prepare for the program.
  2. An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from former college instructors, or appropriate equivalents, who can comment on the applicant’s ability to succeed in graduate studies.
  4. A 5-10 page critical or analytical paper. It may be one written in an undergraduate class.
  5. Upon acceptance to the program, students with a Bachelor of Arts in English with at least a 3.0 grade point average can be admitted as Fully Classified students. Applicants from other majors or with lower grade point averages may be required to take the GRE General Examination (earning a score of at least 500) and/or prerequisite courses.


  1. Complete at least 30 graduate units.
  2. Earn at least a grade of B– in each course.
  3. Complete comprehensive exams, thesis, or project as indicated by program.

The Literature Program

In addition to the requirements listed above, students electing the literature program must take ENGL 5000 Graduate Studies: Critical Theory and Research and complete 12 units of 5000 level literature seminars.

Students who maintain a grade point average of at least 3.5 may elect to write a thesis. Students electing to write a thesis may apply a maximum of six units of ENGL 5990 Thesis toward the Master of Arts coursework requirements. Students not eligible or not electing to write a thesis will instead complete six units of 5000 level literature seminars.

Students who plan to teach at the college or university level are strongly advised to take ENGL 5894 Teaching Composition and Literature.

Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing Program

Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing program will provide strong overviews of the history, research, methodologies, major emerging voices, and important questions in writing studies, rhetoric, and the teaching of writing. The program will provide a theory and research base for shaping a writing classroom and for further postgraduate work. This program consists of the following required courses:

The Program with a Concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

The student who elects to pursue the concentration in TESOL will develop a specialist’s knowledge of English grammar, second language acquisition theory, methodology, curriculum and materials development, and crosscultural issues related to the teaching of English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This concentration is particularly appropriate for those who want to teach in postsecondary settings such as community colleges, universities, adult education programs, and English language institutes in the U.S. and abroad.

Applicants with an undergraduate major in English should have coursework in both literature and language studies. Applicants without an undergraduate major in English may be admitted conditionally but must complete the following:

  1. ENGL 2210 American Literature after 1865, or its equivalent;
  2. ENGL 3920 Survey of World Literature, or its equivalent;
  3. ENGL 3009 Writing for Teachers (WP), or its equivalent.

Students for whom English is a second language will have to demonstrate fluency in English before the M.A. will be awarded. MA-TESOL graduates are required to have completed at least two years of foreign language study at college level, or to demonstrate a comparable proficiency in a foreign language. This concentration consists of the following required and elective courses. A graduate thesis/project (ENGL 5960) is optional. Graduation requirements consist of completion of 30 units, a comprehensive exam, and a graduate research paper.


1. Complete the following prerequisite:

(4 units)

  • ENGL 3700 Introduction to Language, 3 units, or equivalent courses,
  • ENGL 3750 Introduction to Linguistic Theory, 4 units

3. Select elective courses from the following three categories:

(21 units)

a. ESL Theory

  • ENGL 4800 Second Language Acquisition, 3 units,
  • COMM 4800 First and Second Language Acquisition, 3 units
  • ENGL 4850 English Grammar, 3 units
  • ENGL 4990 Senior Seminar, 4 units
c. Related courses

  • Psychological/Social Sciences or Humanities, as approved by adviser (6 units)

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