Students initially admitted to the MA degree complete 27 hours of course work and a written examination. Students take three courses in the first semester and two per semester for the balance of the degree. All MA students take English 510: Research Methods; English 400: Composition and the Teaching of Writing; and English 487: Literary and Critical Theory (or an equivalent course in theory). Students must also take at least one and no more than four from each of the following areas:
In normal circumstances, students take the MA Comprehensive Examination in their third semester (fall of the second year). The examination is a week-long take-home exam covering a reading list of approximately 15 works ranging across genres, historical periods, and national traditions.
In exceptional cases, students may be able to write a Master’s thesis. Students pursuing the Thesis Option complete 21 hours of course work and write a thesis over the course of the second year that reflects 6 credits of writing and research. While there is no comprehensive examination for students pursuing the Thesis Option, students must nevertheless earn a unanimous “pass” on the thesis and the thesis defense from a supervisory committee.
Beginning in 2015-16, the Department expects to offer a three-semester MA for students admitted directly from the BA to the PhD degree. Requirements remain the same, though the timetable for course completion is slightly accelerated.