Specific Requirements for the Emphasis in Literature, Language, and Culture

English Master of Arts Program


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The M.A. in English with Emphasis in Literature, Language, and Culture provides coverage and development in diverse fields of literary, language and cultural studies, with an emphasis on comparative analysis of diverse discourses.

One Seminar

Students in the Literature, Language, and Culture Emphasis will complete one 8000-level seminar (ENGL 8171, ENGL 8181, ENGL 8191, WRIT 8500), which are normally offered only in spring semesters.

Three Clusters

In addition to the course requirements common to all English M.A. Degree Emphases and the seminar, the Emphasis in Literature, Language, and Culture requires that 12 of the 32 total credits be distributed among three clusters of courses:

  • Cluster One: English/Writing Studies - at least 6 credits in literature, writing, or writing studies courses with ENGL or WRIT designators)
  • Cluster Two: Language - at least 6 credits in linguistics, studies in media, rhetoric, and/or a language other than English
  • Cluster Three: Culture - two or more courses (6+ credits) in a related field such as Cultural Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, History, Philosophy, or other humanities or social-science discipline.

Language Requirement

Candidates for the English M.A. Degree with an Emphasis in Literature, Language, and Culture have the option of either satisfying the language requirement or taking 6 credits of graduate work in the major beyond the minimum of 32 credits.

Under certain circumstances the requirement may be waived for foreign students.

Comprehensive Exam

Under the supervision of an examining committee, the candidate will be given a 2-day, 6-hour written examination focusing on the individual student's course work and required supplementary readings. The candidate will write the following:

I. Close analysis of a text from a work of literature (in English or another language), non-fiction prose or linguistics, with 5-8 secondary or critical works related to the primary text, selected and approved at least four weeks before the examination (2 hours).

II. Responses to questions based on a list of readings in a) literature, b) linguistics or literature in a language other than English and c) the related field represented by coursework to be chosen and approved at least four weeks before the examination (3 hours).

III. Comparative analysis of readings chosen from each of the three lists above, to be chosen and approved at least four weeks before the examination (1 hour).

On the fourth working day after completion of the written exam portions, the candidate will meet with the examining committee for the oral portion of the comprehensive examination (1 hour).

For details, see The Comprehensive Exam for the M.A. in English: the Literature, Language, and Culture Emphasis.