MA English Literature Option

M.A. English: Literature Program

Information for Graduate Students in Literature and Composition:

Admission Requirements for MA Literature, or MA Literature, Rhet/Comp Programs

All applicants to the M.A. in English must follow all application and admission procedures outlined in the university graduate application booklet. To be admitted to the program, the applicant must have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college and a grade point average of 3.00 or better in the last 60 semester units of upper division course work attempted (not including extension units). Applicants with majors other than English may be accepted into the program, but should expect to do additional work to gain the background necessary for success in their graduate courses.

If you are slightly below a 3.0 GPA, you may still apply, but you must send a personal statement and recommendation letters to the English Department Chair: Dr. Ed Zoerner,

M.A. Thesis

Students who have earned a 3.75 GPA may elect to undertake a thesis, provided that they can form a thesis committee with the relevant specialization and have their proposal approved by the graduate committee. Students with less than a 3.75 GPA may on rare occasions write a thesis if they have permission of a thesis mentor and the graduate coordinator, as well as the graduate committee; such students should already have a promising project based upon a seminar paper or other work done with the thesis mentor.

In order to facilitate a timely completion of the thesis, students are encouraged to expand promising seminar papers into their thesis whenever possible. The thesis prospectus should be signed by the thesis mentor and the second readers and submitted to the graduate coordinator by the last day of classes in the semester prior to writing the thesis. The completed and signed thesis is due in the graduate studies office by November 1 for fall graduation, April 1 for spring graduation, and June 10 for summer graduation. In order to meet these deadlines, students should allow 1 month for revisions with their mentor, and 1 month of revisions with the second and third readers. This means that thesis students planning to graduate in the spring should, if at all possible, have their first draft to their mentor by February 1. Students planning to graduate in the fall should, if at all possible, have their first draft to their mentor by September 1.

General Information about Thesis

Comprehensive Exams

The schedule for the Fall 2020 Exams will be as follows:

All Fall 2019 Comp Exams will be held in our conference room, LCH A348
Part :(Set Text and Literary Theory OR Rhet/Comp Theory): Monday, November 2, 10am - 2pm
Part 2 (Comprehensive Literary Analysis) Wednesday, November 4, 10am - 2pm

Due to COVID-19, the Fall 2020 exams will be conducted on-line. For additional information specific to the Fall exams, please consult the the MA Exam Guide Addendum

Information about the comprehensive exam can be found in the Exam Preparation Booklet.

Graduate Colloquium

The gradaute colloquium is a presentation of theses submitted.
The 2020-2021 presentation is TBA, in late April or early May 2020. Please check back for updates.

MA Reading List

Click here to view the current M.A. Reading List

The set texts are as follows:

Literature Set Texts and Theory Modules Spring 2021
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Marxism/Materialist Criticisms

The Good Soldier
Feminist and Gender Studies/Queer Theory

Rhetoric/Composition Theory Modules Spring 2021
Foundational Theories of Composition and Composition Pedagogy
Language, Race, and Identity in Composition and Rhetoric

Graduate Courses for M.A. in English Literature/ Rhet Comp

Courses are offered in the following rotation:

501: fall only, and should be taken in your first semester if at all possible
545: spring only, and should be taken in your second semester if at all possible
570, 576, *577: Fall only.
*576 should NOT be taken in your first semester.
571, 575: Spring only.
570 and 577 are repeatable for credit if the topic has changed.
Literature courses also rotate, but there should be one available from each category each semester.

Advisement Information

Please consult the M.A. in English Literature/ Rhet Comp Advising Worksheet
You may contact Dr. Best for advising. Dr. Best can be emailed at

Advancement to Candidacy

The Advancement to Candidacy form should be completed before your last semester of coursework. You will not be allowed to take the comprehensive exams or do a thesis until this form is filled out. Please see Dr. Best in LCH E309 for advising.