May 22, 2022
The master’s degree program in English offers students the opportunity to achieve a multifaceted understanding of literature and language. The degree is useful to those already teaching in high schools or interested in community college teaching, to those seeking careers in writing and publishing, and to those intending to pursue further graduate work.
Admission to Graduate Standing
Applicants are encouraged to make an appointment with the department graduate adviser. The adviser will review transcripts, advise applicants regarding prerequisites and determine if any courses apply to the degree program.
Applicants must meet the CSU requirements for admission to a master’s degree program. Please consult the Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for complete information. In addition:
- The department requires a bachelor’s degree in English or Comparative Literature from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 grade-point average in the upper-division major courses, provided that a minimum of 24 units of upper-division coursework is included. If the applicant holds a bachelor’s degree in another major, 24 units of upper-division coursework in English and/or Comparative Literature must be completed with at least a 3.0 grade-point average before beginning work in the master’s degree program.
- In the event that the applicant’s grade-point average in prerequisite courses is below 3.0, he or she may take additional upper-division English and/or Comparative Literature coursework and reapply to the program. The applicant should consult with the graduate adviser to determine appropriate coursework. Some courses taken to make up qualitative deficiencies may be credited toward the M.A., if completed with a “B” (3.0) or better, and if applicable to the student’s particular study plan. Courses taken to remove quantitative deficiencies may not be applied to the M.A. program.
- A writing sample will also be required of all applicants. The writing sample should demonstrate advanced skill in literary analysis or rhetorical and expository writing. A paper written for an upper-division literature course and analyzing one or more elements in one or more literary works is preferred. The writing sample should be approximately five to 10 pages long, and include secondary research. Applicants who do not have course papers available should contact the department graduate adviser for advice.
- Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from individuals best qualified to judge their potential for graduate study in English.
- All applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English, must demonstrate competence in English. Those who do not possess a bachelor’s degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must receive a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper) or 100 (Internet), or 7.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
The deadlines for completing online applications are provided on the department’s website. Applications are available online (Cal State Apply).
Foreign Language Requirement
Students must satisfy a foreign language requirement with one of the following options:
(1) two years of foreign language at the college or university level; (2) one 400-level course in a foreign language or in literature taught in a foreign language; (3) LING 406 or LING 412 ; or (4) another 400-level linguistics course approved by the graduate adviser. This requirement may be satisfied prior to or after admission to the M.A. program.
All courses in the graduate program must be approved by the graduate adviser.
A study plan must be developed and approved for admission to classified graduate standing within the student’s first nine units of graduate coursework. Courses taken by a student admitted to the program with conditionally classified status do not necessarily apply toward the degree. No more than nine units of postgraduate coursework may be applied to the master’s degree program. See the graduate adviser for further information.
The study plan allows three units of adviser-approved coursework outside the department and/or three units of graduate independent study. No more than six units are allowed at the 400 level. In addition, at least one proseminar or seminar must be in Comparative Literature or cross-listed in Comparative Literature. A project and portfolio are required of all students. Students are encouraged to take ENGL 500 in their first semester.
Graduate Seminars (9 units)
Three units each from three of the following four categories:
- Language, Composition and Rhetoric
- Creative Writing
- Cultural Studies/Theory
Electives (15 units), adviser-approved
Project and Portfolio (3 units)
Students are required to complete a project in the project writing course, ENGL 595 . Students who plan to complete a creative writing project must take a minimum of six units of creative writing workshops, one of which must be at the 500 level.
Project proposals are due the fifth week of the semester preceding enrollment in the project writing course and must be approved by the department Graduate Studies Committee. The semester before submitting their project/portfolio proposal, students must attend a mandatory workshop on writing and submitting a proposal. If the proposal is not approved when first submitted, students may resubmit in the same semester. Please consult the graduate adviser or department office for further details.
Based on their interests, and in conjunction with their adviser, students will choose one of three foci for their portfolio: academic professional development, pedagogical development or creative/professional writing development. The entire portfolio must be completed, reviewed and approved by a faculty review committee at least two months prior to the end of the student’s final semester in the graduate program. See the department website for further information.