Literature Specialization Coursework & Program of Study

IMG_0543This two-year master of arts program balances coverage with flexibility, providing high quality, personalized instruction for graduate students interested in teaching at the secondary, beginning college and university levels, and/or in pursuing further graduate study in literature. Graduate students take courses that focus on pedagogy, theory & criticism, and literary analysis to develop their knowledge of major literary trends and discipline-specific research skills. In developing courses, faculty devote particular attention to literature and film’s cultural and historical contexts, often with reference to race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and linguistic difference as cultural phenomena.

The study of literature is central to the humanities, offering us experience in assessing human behavior and motivation. Through literary study we come to understand the power of language and literature to convey and construct individual and cultural values. The study of literature makes new things familiar and familiar things new; it invites us to explore ideas, identities, times and places we do not know, and to reexamine the traditions of our literary heritage.

This program focuses on four primary concerns:

  1. Literary traditions. As an English major with a specialization in literature, you are introduced to various literary traditions and the changing nature of those traditions. Course offerings which explore a range of periods, genres, and literary movements will enable you to experience literature in some depth. In addition, you will be able to study the presence, or absence, of women and minorities in literary texts.
  2. Literature in its cultural and historical contexts. Your study of literature will inspire appreciation of the interactions between literature and culture, illustrating how literature reflects humanity’s many facets and how, in various ways, it may support, conflict with, or fragment dominant cultural values.
  3. Critical reading. Your classes will provide an introduction to literary criticism and theory, giving you insight into your own reading practices and the practices of both authors and literary critics.
  4. Critical writing. A variety of assignments in expository, analytic, and creative writing will enhance your ability to express yourself in writing as well as foster your understanding of literature.

MA in English (Specialization in Literature) requires a total of 30 credits of coursework.

Specified coursework = 18 credits

One graduate literature course in Teaching/Criticism/Bibliography (3 cr. total)

  • ENGL 521: Teaching of Literature and the Literature Curriculum
  • ENGL 522: Literary Theory and Criticism
  • ENGL 546: Issues in the Study of Literature

The course used to satisfy the Teaching/Criticism/Bibliography requirement may not also be used to satisfy other program requirements.

Five other graduate literature courses (15 cr. total), including

  • One course in American Literature (3 cr.)
    ENGL 532, 534; when material is appropriate, 531, 538, 539, 540, 541, 543, 545, 546
  • One course in British Literature (3 cr.)
    ENGL 523*, 533, 535; when material is appropriate, 531, 538, 539, 540, 541, 545, 546
  • One course in literature written before 1865 (3 cr.)
    ENGL 523*, 532, 533; when material is appropriate, 531, 538, 539, 540, 541, 543, 545. 546
    This requirement may be satisfied with the same course that satisfies a British or American Literature requirement above.
  • Two additional graduate literature courses (6 cr. total)

Literature electives = minimum 9 credits

Students may choose from English Department graduate offerings in any of the graduate majors. Students taking courses in Curriculum and Instruction (CI) may, with the approval of their program adviser/major professor and the DOGE, use 3 crs. of appropriate graduate CI coursework to satisfy part of the elective requirement.

Strongly recommended for students planning to teach

  • ENGL 503: Composition Theory
  • ENGL 521: Teaching of Literature and the Literature Curriculum

Teaching assistants may count English 500 or 3 cr. of Speech Communication 513 as one of their electives in the POS.

Independent research = 3 credits (only 3 credits count towards the degree)

  •  ENGL 699: Thesis or ENGL 599: Creative Component

Language Requirement

Satisfying the language requirement may require additional coursework.

*English 523 can be used to satisfy either the Language Requirement or a literature course requirement (e.g., pre-1865 British literature), but NOT BOTH.