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

English Master of Arts Program


You are here

Weber Music Hall in snow

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.

Two Seminars (as of Fall 2018)

Students in the Literature, Language, and Culture Emphasis will complete two 8000-level seminars beyond the required ENGL 8906 (ENGL 8171, ENGL 8181, ENGL 8191, WRIT 8500, or others with approval), which are normally offered only in spring semesters.  (Only 1 Seminar is required for student entering the program before Fall 2018.)  For this emphasis, WRIT 8902 cannot be counted toward this requirement. 

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 at least 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.

Related Field

The emphasis in Literature, Language, and Culture requires that two courses (4000-level or above) be taken in a field outside of literature or writing. These related-field courses provide the opportunity for comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives, which are fundamental to the purpose of this emphasis. 

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.

Checklist for an English MA Graduate Degree Plan in the Writing Studies Emphasis

MA students submit a Graduate Degree Plan form in their second semester to record courses they have taken, will take, and plan on taking to ensure that they have a means to fulfill all requirements of both the English MA degree and their particular emphasis in their two years.  The following checklist summarizes these requirements for the Literature, Language, and Culture emphasis. 

  • Language specified for the language requirement
  • ENGL 8906
  • 1 Seminar in addition to ENGL 8906 (not including WRIT 8902, 8910, or 8094).  Starting Fall 2018, 2 seminars will be required. 
  • 2 hours of Plan B credit taken (ENGL 8094 or WRIT 8094)
  • 32 total credits minimum
  • 20 credits minimum in major
  • At least 12 credits of course work taken to provide both
  1. a comprehensive grounding and advanced study in English
  2. some advanced work in a related field outside English Studies which defines a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective on work in English. 

These courses will be organized in three broad areas with one of these areas emphasizing an interdisciplinary perspective from outside English Studies:

    • Literature (courses in Anglophone literature and literary contexts offered by the Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies, or upper-division literature courses from the Department of World Languages and Literatures)
    • Language (for example, courses in rhetoric, linguistics, digital or media studies, literature courses focusing explicitly on language, computer science, studies in other text- or language-focused disciplines)
    • Culture (print culture, book history, literary study focusing explicitly on material and historical contexts, digital and visual aesthetics, digital humanities, cultural studies as practiced in a field outside the area if English Studies).

How specific courses apply to these categories are determined by an agreement among the student's program advisor, the English Director of Graduate Studies, and the English MA student. 

Brief notes or labels can be included in the "Course Title" table cells of page 2 of the Graduate Degree Plan to make explicit how the courses meet the guidelines above

If it's not obvious, what courses represent the interdisciplinary, related field--and how that field is defined--can also be described such notes or labels in the "Course Title" cells as well as being marked as "Other" in the "Check one" column.  

(Note that in some cases--such as film, for example--courses from the Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies can be combined with courses from outside the department to constitute the interdisciplinary field.)

Do not list lower-division courses (such as world language classes taken to fulfill the language requirement) on the Graduate Degree Plan.