Program Learning Outcomes

B.A. in English: English Education Option

British Literature: Students will demonstrate through class discussion and writing their ability to contextualize a given work of British literature historically. They will describe the development and change of this body of literature over time, from Anglo-Saxon literature to the present. Students will demonstrate an awareness of the social, historical, and cultural elements of these changes. Example: how would you explain how you know that this work of literature was written in Early Modern England? What literary qualities (such as type of text, diction, use of imagery, and cultural references) mark it as such?

American Literature: Students will demonstrate through class discussion and writing their ability to contextualize a given work of American literature historically. They will describe the development and change of this body of literature over time, from pre-colonial literature to the present. Students will demonstrate an awareness of the social, historical, literary historical, and cultural elements of these changes. Example: how would you explain how you know that this work of literature was written in post-colonial America? What literary qualities (such as type of text, diction, use of imagery, and cultural references) mark it as such?

World Literature: Students will demonstrate, through class discussion and writing, their knowledge of specific works of world literature over time from the ancient world to the present, and the relation of such works to the bodies of British and American literature.

Genres of Literature: Students will demonstrate, through class discussion and writing, their ability to identify the major genres of literature, to distinguish the features of each genre, and to explain the influence of genre on a given text. The genres shall include, but are not limited to: poetry (both narrative and lyric), epic, drama (tragedy, comedy, history and mixed genres such as dramatic romance), fiction (short and novel-length). Given a text, students will state its genre and identify the features that thus mark it, stating at least two ways in which the genre has shaped this particular text.

Literary Criticism: Students will demonstrate, through class discussion and writing, their ability to describe a number of contemporary and historical schools of literary criticism, such as Formalism, Deconstruction, Cultural, New Historical, and Gender/Feminist. Students will successfully apply one or more of these approaches to a given text, demonstrating what the approach can reveal about that text.

Specialized topics within a subfield of literature: Students will be able to discuss cogently, both orally and in writing: important concepts, themes, and traditions growing out of a specialized area of study. Students will conduct and write up (with appropriate documentation) research on a given topic within the literary subfield.

Study of a major author: Students will demonstrate knowledge of specific works by major authors such as Shakespeare, Chaucer and Milton and their significance in the canon of British and American literature. Students will demonstrate their ability to analyze these works in the context of the author’s complete works and as influential texts.

Literature of Ethnicity, Race, and Gender: Students will demonstrate their knowledge from a given group such as African American, Chicano/a or women writers. Students will demonstrate their ability to analyze these works not only in customary terms such as style and genre, but also in their cultural and historical contexts as texts produced by non-canonical or underrepresented writers.


B.A. in English: Language and Linguistics Option

Overview of Linguistics: Students will in class discussion and writing: correctly use current vocabulary in a variety of linguistics subfields such as semantics, language acquisition and neurolinguistics; summarize current understanding at a basic level; and explain important achievements and questions in these fields.

Phonology: Students will analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through their written responses, read and write the International Phonetic Alphabet, descript speech sounds in terms of articulatory and acoustic properties, analyze cross-linguistic samples of phonological phenomena, and explain the grammaticality or ungrammaticality of a given word in terms of its phonological properties.

Morphology: Students will analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through their written responses, analyze complex words in terms of derivation, inflection, and compounding, explain the grammaticality or ungrammaticality of words using correct technical vocabulary, and explain cross-linguistic varieties of word-building strategies.

Syntax: Students will analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through their written responses, diagram sentences within a contemporary theoretical framework, explain the (un)grammaticality of sentences using correct technical vocabulary, and contrast English syntax with that of other languages.

Sociolinguistics: Students will analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through their written responses, report on observations of various factors of language that shape individual and group identities in society, evaluate contemporary theories attempting to explain such factors, and write a case study focusing on one particular linguistic community.

Language History and Development: Students will analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through their written responses, analyze examples of language change over time, analyze examples of different dialects, and explain language and dialect change.

Research and Documentation: Students will develop appropriate research topics, select appropriate research materials, and write a well-developed piece of original research following discipline-specific writing conventions.


B.A. in English: Literature Option

British Literature: Students will demonstrate through class discussion and writing their ability to contextualize a given work of British literature historically. They will describe the development and change of this body of literature over time, from Anglo-Saxon literature to the present. Students will demonstrate an awareness of the social, historical, and cultural elements of these changes. Example: how would you explain how you know that this work of literature was written in Early Modern England? What literary qualities (such as type of text, diction, use of imagery, and cultural references) mark it as such?

American Literature: Students will demonstrate through class discussion and writing their ability to contextualize a given work of American literature historically. They will describe the development and change of this body of literature over time, from pre-colonial literature to the present. Students will demonstrate an awareness of the social, historical, literary historical, and cultural elements of these changes. Example: how would you explain how you know that this work of literature was written in post-colonial America? What literary qualities (such as type of text, diction, use of imagery, and cultural references) mark it as such?

World Literature: Students will demonstrate, through class discussion and writing, their knowledge of specific works of world literature over time from the ancient world to the present, and the relation of such works to the bodies of British and American literature.

Genres of Literature: Students will demonstrate, through class discussion and writing, their ability to identify the major genres of literature, to distinguish the features of each genre, and to explain the influence of genre on a given text. The genres shall include, but are not limited to: poetry (both narrative and lyric), epic, drama(tragedy, comedy, history and mixed genres such as dramatic romance), fiction (short and novel-length). Given a text, students will state its genre and identify the features that thus mark it, stating at least two ways in which the genre has shaped this particular text.

Literary Criticism: Students will demonstrate, through class discussion and writing, their ability to describe a number of contemporary and historical schools of literary criticism, such as Formalism, Deconstruction, Cultural, New Historical, and Gender/Feminist. Students will successfully apply one or more of these approaches to a given text, demonstrating what the approach can reveal about that text.

Specialized topics: Students will be able to discuss cogently, both orally and in writing: important concepts, themes, and traditions growing out of a specialized area of study. Students will conduct and write up (with appropriate documentation) research on a given topic within the literary subfield.

Major Authors: Students will demonstrate knowledge of specific works by major authors such as Shakespeare, Chaucer and Milton and their significance in the canon of British and American literature. Students will demonstrate their ability to analyze these works in the context of the author’s complete works and as influential texts.

Literature of Ethnicity, Race, and Gender: Students will demonstrate their knowledge from a given group such as African American, Chicano/a or women writers. Students will demonstrate their ability to analyze these works not only in customary terms such as style and genre, but also in their cultural and historical contexts as texts produced by non-canonical or underrepresented writers.

Structure of English: Students will demonstrate through class discussions and writing their knowledge of the structure and meaning of English sentences, utilizing either traditional models of grammar or the generative-transformational model.

Reading: Students will demonstrate their ability to read literary texts on a number of different levels, such as literal comprehension, aesthetic responsiveness, and informed awareness of the literary traditions and varied critical perspectives within which it may be read. Given a specific text, students will demonstrate in class discussion and writing their ability to describe that text’s formal qualities such as plot or genre, at least one critical lens through which it may be interpreted, and the context—historical, cultural, and literary tradition—which informs it.

Writing: Students will demonstrate through formal (essays, extended documented essays, exams) and informal writing their ability to analyze and respond to literature in a variety of written forms. They will demonstrate an ability to observe the conventions of each type of writing, as well as the conventions of standard written English. Students will be able to formulate a thesis about a given text, support that thesis with appropriate evidence, and structure a piece of writing with introduction, body, and conclusion as appropriate.

Research, Written Argumentation, and Documentation: Students will demonstrate in writing their ability to locate appropriate sources, both print and electronic, and both primary and secondary, for the study of a given text. They will be able to evaluate the authority of a given source. In writing, students will demonstrate their ability to formulate an argument about a text using these sources as support for their points. They will demonstrate their ability to document these sources using MLA style for such documentation.


M.A. in English: Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Option

Phonology: Students will: analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through written responses read and write the International Phonetic Alphabet and explain pronunciation problems ESL students may face and how to overcome them.

Morphology: Students will: analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through their written responses; analyze complex words in terms of derivation, inflection and compounding; and explain word formation ESL students may face and how to overcome them.

Syntax: Students will: analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through their written responses; explain the grammaticality or ungrammaticality of English sentences using correct terminology; and explain syntactic problems that ESL students may face and how to overcome them.

Sociolinguistics: Students will: analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through their written responses; report on observations of various factors of language that shape individual and group identities in society; evaluate contemporary theories attempting to explain such factors; and write a case study focusing on one particular linguistic community.

Language History and Development: Students will: analyze assigned readings and demonstrate their comprehension through their written responses; analyze examples of language change over time; analyze examples of different dialects; and explain language and dialect change.

Language Acquisition: Students will: summarize and evaluate current theories of first and second language acquisition; analyze linguistic data within the framework of one or more of these theories; and develop.

Teaching Theories and Methods: Students will: describe and evaluate a variety of teaching methods and the theories behind them, from the methods of the 1970s to current practice; develop lesson plans to teach various aspects of English to an ESL audience; and develop and present curriculum cycles.

Research and Documentation: Students will: develop appropriate research topics; select appropriate research materials; and write a well-developed piece of original research following discipline-specific writing conventions.


M.A. in English: Literature Option (incorporating the emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition)

British Literature: Students will show the ability to discuss cogently, both orally and in writing: a wide variety of works by British authors over time; important concepts, themes and traditions in the history of British literature and contemporary British literature; and secondary sources on British literature.

American Literature: Students will show the ability to discuss cogently, both orally and in writing: a wide variety of works by American authors over time; important concepts, themes and traditions in the history of American literature and contemporary American literature; and secondary sources on American literature.

The Literary Canon: Student will discuss cogently, both orally and in writing, the traditional notion of the traditionally accepted literary canon, current shifts in the notion of canonicity, and reasons for such shifts.

Critical Perspectives: Students will discuss cogently, both orally and in writing: the principles that underlie a variety of perspectives in literary criticism, such as Formalist, New Historicist, Queer Theory, Reader Response, Post-Structuralist, Feminist, etc; evaluations of these principles; applications of these analytic paradigms to particular examples of literature.

Research Strategies and Skills: Students will find research sources from a variety of modes, including both textual and electronic; make appropriate selections of sources; and present the results of research in a matter consistent with professional practice, including the documentation of the chosen sources in ways that meet professional standards.

Written Analysis: Students will prepare a written analysis that situates literary texts within their contexts historically, theoretically, and socially and integrate that analysis with their research in a manner consistent with professional practices.

Oral Analysis: Students will present, explain, respond to and/or follow up on a given literary topic orally, and they will present research on a literary topic orally in a manner consistent with professional practice.

For the Rhetoric/Composition Emphasis

History and Theory of Rhetoric: Students will discuss cogently, both orally and in writing, a wide variety of rhetorical perspectives and theoretical standpoints from the classical period through the 20th century.

For the Rhetoric/Composition Emphasis

Current Rhetoric and Composition Theory: Students will discuss cogently, both orally and in writing, important issues and scholars in contemporary composition studies, and they will be able to present, explain, and analyze major positions within rhetorical theory.

For the Rhetoric/Composition Emphasis

Discourse Analysis: Students will discuss cogently, both orally and in writing, important issues and theories in the field of discourse analysis, identifying and analyzing a range of modes of discourse.

For the Rhetoric/Composition Emphasis

Composition Pedagogy: Students will discuss cogently, both orally and in writing, current theories and practices in the teaching of composition, presenting and explaining various aspects of composition theory and practice in a manner appropriate to an audience of high school or community college students.