Master of Arts in English

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The Master of Arts in English program provides a comprehensive program of graduate study in English, including core courses in literature and a rich array of electives covering the large area of academic study under the umbrella term English. The master’s in English program is ideal for teachers who desire a content M.A. beyond the credential. It is also excellent preparation for doctoral studies in English, teaching in the two-year college, or other careers requiring a high degree of literacy.

The program's core requirements include five seminars--theory, research, and three core literature courses: a literary period course, a major author course, and a theme course. Students have the opportunity to select their course content from a variety of available topics. For example, for the major author seminar, we offer courses in Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Steinbeck, Hemingway, James Baldwin, among others. Students are allowed four elective courses. Those wanting a deeper study of English or American literature can select additional seminars in literary periods, major authors, or themes as their electives.

Courses in film studies, creative writing, and rhetoric are also offered as electives for students with interests in those areas. In the MA English program, we study film as literature, and we share a rich selection of film studies courses with the MA Film Studies program. Students wanting a specific specialization in either Rhetoric or Gothic Studies should refer to the catalog description of those specializations.

The curriculum covers major approaches to literature, including theoretical, historical, comparative, thematic, multicultural, and genre studies. The program provides students with the critical vocabulary, tools, and research ability to produce literary scholarship of professional quality and to participate in the ongoing scholarly discussions of issues in the field of literary study. In their capstone project, students write a scholarly paper to the standards of a scholarly journal of their choice, and a number of our graduates have succeeded in publishing their capstone projects.

NOTE: The program includes a number of variable-content courses under the same course number. Variable content course topics will be found in SOAR and will also appear on student transcripts. For example, our ENG 620A and ENG 620B offerings include seminars in Medieval English literature, 17 th -Century English Poetry, English Romanticism, Victorian Literature, American Romanticism, Literary Realism, Modernism, Harlem Renaissance, Lost Generation, Greatest Generation, Beat Generation, and Postmodernism, among others. Variable content courses can be taken more than once, with different content, to fulfill degree requirements.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Research and apply relevant criticism in sustained analyses and interpretations of specific works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
  • Evaluate the relevance and validity of different theoretical approaches (e.g., historicist, biographical, etc.) to the understanding of specific works of literature.
  • Engage in informed critical discussion, both oral and written, of theoretical issues pertaining to the study of literature.
  • Engage in informed critical discussion, both oral and written, of the works and criticism of a specific literary period or movement.
  • Participate in rigorous critiques of the scholarly works of others.
  • Revise and expand a scholarly paper to submit for publication in a scholarly or literary journal.


To receive the Master of Arts in English, students must complete at least 45 quarter units. A total of 4.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree and provided the units were not used in earning another advanced degree. Students should refer to the General Catalog section on graduate admission requirements for specific information regarding admission and evaluation.
Core Requirements (6 courses; 27 quarter units)
Core Requisite(s):
Specialization Requirements (4 courses; 18 quarter units)