Master of Arts in English and Writing Studies

The Master of Arts in English and Writing Studies is designed for students interested in pursuing advanced studies in the related fields of applied linguistics and teaching English as a second language, literature, composition and rhetoric, as well as English pedagogy and public and professional writing.

With its firm grounding in theory, research, and pedagogy, the M. A. in English and Writing Studies prepares students to excel both as professional writers and teachers of writing, literature, and English as a second language. The mission of the graduate program is to engage students in an exploration of how written and spoken texts work rhetorically and stylistically, as well as how historical, cultural, and social conditions affect the ways in which speakers, writers, and readers construct meaning. In addition, the program provides students with a strong foundation for a Ph.D. degree. The M. A. enables students, whatever their career path, to become socially committed, rhetorically flexible scholars, teachers and writers, well-prepared to make significant contributions in their chosen fields and communities, both local and global.  

The Graduate Committee, under the leadership of the coordinator, has general supervision of the program and the work of students. Students are required to consult regularly with the Graduate Coordinator for advising. Petitions for waiver of requirements must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator and the Dean of Graduate Studies when appropriate.

Admission to the Program

The Graduate Committee cannot act on applications until they have been reviewed by the Office of Admissions and Student Recruitment and have met university admissions requirements. Please check the MA in English and Writing Studies website and/or the office of Graduate Studies for the specific schedule of application due dates for each year. The program admits students in both Fall and Spring semesters.

A student who meets all entrance requirements except one or more course prerequisites or the minimum grade requirements may be admitted to the program as a conditionally classified graduate student. Conditionally classified students must fulfill certain conditions (such as taking or retaking prerequisite courses) within a specified period of time. Prerequisite courses cannot be counted toward the units required for the master's degree.

The specific requirements for admission as a classified graduate student in the English Department are:

  1. A grade point average of 3.0 ("B") in all undergraduate upper-division courses;
  2. Applicants who do not possess a bachelor’s degree from a postsecondary institution in a country where English is the principal language of instruction must receive a minimum score of 575 (computer-based score of 233 or internet-based score of 90) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); or receive a minimum score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS);
  3. Three letters of recommendation supporting the student's application. Letters should be from people able to make relevant comments on the student's likely success in English and Writing Studies with a Concentration in Composition and Rhetoric; Literature;  Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language; Pedagogy; or Public and Professional Writing, and on the student's competence in speaking and writing English;
  4. A one-page, typed statement of purpose briefly explaining the student's reasons (i.e. career objectives and research interests) for pursuing a graduate degree in English and Writing Studies with a Concentration in Composition and Rhetoric; Literature;  Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language; Pedagogy; or Public and Professional Writing;
  5. One writing sample (5-10 pages) that reflects the student's ability to write in edited English a balanced, well-reasoned argument or a clear, coherent presentation of information, such as a college term paper or a work-related report. 
  6. The M.A. in English and Writing Studies welcomes all applicants regardless of previous field of study or work. To ensure students are prepared for the rigor of graduate work in English and Writing Studies, students may be admitted "conditionally." Students with a B.A. in English, but a major GPA below 3.0, or those who do not have an undergraduate degree in a relevant field—Linguistics, Literature, Rhetoric/Composition, TESOL, Writing Studies—may take prerequisite coursework to prepare them for the program.

Prerequisites

Only those students who are admitted conditionally classified need to take prerequisites. We determine needed prerequisite courses on an individual basis in light of prior academic and professional experience. The following chart lists those courses typically expected of incoming graduate students according to their prospective concentration:

Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language: B.A. in Linguistics/English or coursework relevant to the field, such as coursework in introductory linguistics, grammar, and language acquisition.

Composition and Rhetoric: B.A. in Rhetoric/English, or Writing Studies, or coursework relevant to the field, such as coursework in rhetoric, composition & writing studies (including writing tutoring), and literary theory.

Literature: B.A. in English/Literature or coursework relevant to the field, such as coursework in literary analysis, literary history, and literary theory.

Pedagogy: B.A. in English/Literature, Linguistics/English, Rhetoric/English, or Writing Studies, or coursework relevant to the field, such as coursework in introductory linguistics, grammar, and language acquisition, literary analysis, literary history, literary theory, rhetoric and composition & writing studies (including writing tutoring).

Public and Professional Writing: B.A. in Creative Writing, English/Literature, Linguistics/English, Rhetoric/English, or Writing Studies or coursework in creative writing, introductory linguistics, grammar, and language acquisition, literary analysis, literary history, literary theory, rhetoric and composition & writing studies (including writing tutoring).

Advancement to Candidacy

To be advanced to candidacy, the student must have:

  1. Achieved classified status;
  2. Completed at least 9 units of coursework required by the program with a grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B");
  3. Filed a program plan approved by the Graduate Coordinator.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. A minimum of 30 semester units of acceptable graduate-level work in the formal program, with no fewer than 22 units completed at this university and with at least 22 units gained from 6000-level courses in English. Students must gain approval in advance from the Graduate Coordinator to count 3000-, 4000- or 5000-level courses as electives;
  2. Advancement to candidacy;
  3. A grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B") in all graduate course work and research fulfilling the requirements of the student's concentration, and grades of "C" (2.0) or better in all courses in the program;
  4. For students in all concentrations, demonstrated minimal competence in a language other than English at the level of a foreign language 1112 course given by the Department of World Languages and Literatures. Can be fulfilled by one of the following, but note that courses taken to fulfill the language requirement cannot be applied toward any graduate degree unit requirements:
    1. One year of college course work (with a grade of A, B, C, or CR) studying a language other than English,
    2. Passage of a language competency exam in a language other than English at a level of Intermediate (ACTFL Stage 2) or above or equivalent,
  5. The graduation writing requirement is met upon successful completion of the thesis or comprehensive examination;
  6. The program must be completed within a seven-year period. No more than seven years may elapse between the time of registration for the earliest course listed on the program and the completion of all requirements for the degree. Students who have taken any required or elective course that expires because it exceeds this seven-year limitation will be required to retake the course or its equivalent as designated by the Graduate Coordinator, regardless of the grade originally earned. Petitions to waive this requirement will not be approved.

Note: Students interested in pursuing dual concentrations should contact the Graduate Coordinator about dual concentration requirements.

Degree Requirements (30 units)

Before enrolling in courses, students should consult the course descriptions for course prerequisites.

ENG 6000Critical Approaches to Literature3
ENG 6090Cultures of Research in English & Writing Studies3
ENG 6120Contemporary Composition and Discourse Theory3
ENG 6150Discourse, Cognition, and Society3
ENG 6620Sites of Praxis3
Culminating Experience (3)3
Concentration (12)
Students must satisfy the requirements of one of the concentrations listed below12
Total Units30

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Students select either the Thesis Option or the Comprehensive Examination Option. Successful completion of either option satisfies the graduation writing requirement.

Thesis Option (3 units)

ENG 6973Thesis3

Students electing the Thesis option must select from among two thesis project models (A or B) and are required to complete a thesis project appropriate to their concentration: applied linguistics and teaching English as a second language; composition and rhetoric; literature; pedagogy; or public and professional writing. Dual concentration students must devise a thesis project relevant to both concentrations. Students in the Public and Professional Writing Concentration must choose the thesis option.

A. Traditional Thesis

The first thesis model option is a traditional thesis: an independent project that demonstrates mastery of both the subject matter and the written discourse of the discipline and results in an original manuscript of approximately 60 pre-formatted pages plus bibliography.

To pursue this option, students develop an acceptable thesis project and prepare a proposal in accordance with program guidelines, consisting of a 1000-word proposal and an annotated bibliography.

To develop a thesis proposal for this project and obtain approval of it, students carry out the following steps:

  1. Gain the support of a committee of two English Department faculty members (the thesis reading committee) and acquire a letter of endorsement in support of the proposal;
  2. Submit the Thesis Proposal and letter of endorsement to the coordinator of the student's concentration(s) for approval.  Upon consultation with the sponsoring readers, the coordinator(s) will approve the proposal or refer it to the graduate committee for consideration.  Students are responsible for revisions when necessary.

The student will then be given a permit to add ENG 6973 to complete the thesis. After completion of the thesis the student will present their work at a department colloquium.

B. Professional Paper

The second thesis model option is a professional paper that demonstrates mastery of both the subject matter and the written discourse of the discipline and results in an original manuscript of approximately 30 pre-formatted pages plus bibliography. Depending on the student's chosen concentration and project, this professional paper will take the form of one of the following:

  1. Academic Journal Article
  2. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Article
  3. Policy Paper
  4. Creative or Performance Piece

To pursue this option, students develop an acceptable thesis project from work begun in one of the M.A. program seminar classes and prepare a 1000-word thesis proposal that: a) announces the article project and purpose and explains how the work contributes to the field; b) identifies an appropriate professional venue to which this work might be submitted.

To develop a thesis proposal for this project and obtain approval of it, students carry out the following steps:

  1. Gain the support of a committee of two English Department faculty members (the thesis reading committee) and acquire a letter of endorsement in support of the proposal;
  2. Submit the Thesis Proposal and letter of endorsement to the coordinator of the student's concentration(s) for approval.  Upon consultation with the sponsoring readers, the coordinator(s) will approve the proposal or refer it to the graduate committee for consideration.  Students are responsible for revisions when necessary.

The student will then be given a permit to add ENG 6973 to complete the thesis. After completion of the thesis the student will present his or her work at a department colloquium.

Comprehensive Examination Option (3 units)

ENG 6983Comprehensive Exam Preparation and Completion3
ENG 6980English Comprehensive Examination0

Students electing the Comprehensive Examination Option must take the examination no earlier than in the last quarter of program coursework. There is no comprehensive exam option for the Public and Professional Writing Concentration.

Students must declare their intent to take the examination at least one quarter in advance and register for ENG 6983. The comprehensive examination is offered once yearly, in spring semester.

The reading committees for the comprehensive examination in each concentration will be established annually by the graduate program, and will consist of two English Department faculty members and the graduate coordinator or associate coordinator responsible for each concentration.

The comprehensive examination addresses both the program's core curriculum and the student's concentration. The examination will be graded pass/fail. No student will be permitted to take the comprehensive examination more than twice. Candidates who re-take the examination must do so within one calendar year.

Concentrations (12 units)

Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Concentration (12 units) 

(Program Code: EWAL)

If Applied Linguistics and TESL concentration students have completed  ENG 5230  and ENG 5240  with grades of "C" or better in their B.A. degree, they must take six units of graduate-level English electives, approved in advance by the Graduate Coordinator, in lieu of ENG 5230 and ENG 5240 in the M.A. program.

Before enrolling in courses, students should consult the course descriptions for course prerequisites.

ENG 6190Multilingualism and Second Language Acquisition3
ENG 6260TESL Methods3
Choose three units from: 3
Grammar and Discourse
Sociolinguistics
English Phonetics and Phonology
Special Topics in Applied Linguistics & TESL
One 3-unit course from another concentration in the M.A. program.3
Total Units12

Composition and Rhetoric Concentration (12 units)

(Program Code: EWCR)

Before enrolling in courses, students should consult the course descriptions for course prerequisites.

ENG 6330Seminar in Rhetorics3
or ENG 6340 Seminar in Literacy Studies
ENG 6580Multimodal Writing and the Public Sphere3
Choose three units from:3
Writing Center Studies
Approaches to Teaching Writing
Seminar in Public and Professional Discourses
Seminar in Teaching Writing
One 3-unit course from another concentration in the M.A. program.3
Total Units12

Literature Concentration (12 units) 

(Program Code: EWLT)

Before enrolling in courses, students should consult the course descriptions for course prerequisites.

Choose six units from: 6
Seminar in a Literary Period
Seminar in a Literary Genre
Seminar in a Literary Theory
Seminar in a Literary Topic
Choose three units from: 3
Literary and Cultural Criticism in the Public Sphere
Approaches to Teaching College-Level English Literature
Approaches to Teaching Imaginative Writing
One 3-unit course from another concentration in the M.A. program.3
Total Units12

Pedagogy Concentration (12 units) 

(Program Code: EWPD)

Before enrolling in courses, students should consult the course descriptions for course prerequisites.

Choose 12 units from: 12
Approaches to Teaching Writing
Multilingualism and Second Language Acquisition
Approaches to Teaching College-Level English Literature
Writing Center Studies
TESL Methods
Approaches to Teaching Imaginative Writing
Total Units12

Public and Professional Writing Concentration (12 units) 

(Program Code: EWPP)

Before enrolling in courses, students should consult the course descriptions for course prerequisites.

ENG 6580Multimodal Writing and the Public Sphere3
Choose nine units from:9
Literary and Cultural Criticism in the Public Sphere
Grammar and Discourse
Sociolinguistics
Creative Nonfiction
Seminar in Public and Professional Discourses
Seminar in Rhetorics
Seminar in Literacy Studies
Total Units12