2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
    
    Aug 20, 2019  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

English (M.A.)


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Program Coordinator/Contact

Jason McEntee, Department Head
Sharon Smith, Assistant Professor/Graduate Coordinator
Department of English
Pugsley Continuing Education Center 301, Box 2218
605-688-5191

Program Information

SDSU’s English department offers the M.A. degree in English. There are two emphases available to students:

  • Studies in Literature
  • Studies in Writing and Rhetoric

Within these two areas of study, the department offers three options for completing the degree:

  • Option A requires twenty-four credit hours of coursework, six credit hours of thesis, a thesis project, and an oral examination. Within this option, the student may write a critical or a creative thesis.
  • Option B requires thirty credit hours of coursework, two credit hours of research, a research/design project, and an oral examination.
  • Option C requires thirty-six credit hours of coursework, a comprehensive written examination, and an oral examination.

Either option will support a variety of educational or professional goals. Students generally complete the program in two to three years.

Student Learning Outcomes

The English department’s M.A program prepares students for professional careers or further graduate study by developing their capacities for textual analysis, research, theory, and creative and critical writing.

Upon completing the English M.A. program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced ability to analyze and interpret literary and cultural texts.
  • Examine significant texts, authors, periods, movements, genres, theories, and/or modes from literary history, interpreting the relationship between texts and their historical, aesthetic, cultural, and/or ideological contexts.
  • Compose sophisticated argumentative, creative, and/or reflective texts that demonstrate focus, content, structure, evidence, style, and grammar appropriate to their rhetorical contexts.
  • Demonstrate an advanced ability to apply theoretical concepts to the writing and analysis of texts. 
  • Produce original research that advances knowledge within the discipline; generates questions for scholarly inquiry; identifies its methodological and theoretical foundations; employs library resources and discipline-specific databases; evaluates and integrates secondary criticism; and documents sources using MLA style.
  • Explain how literature both reflects and enriches the diversity of human experience through its exploration of the ways in which race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, ability, and/or class shape identity and influence perception.
  • Deliver instruction that demonstrates a growing mastery of course content (cultural analysis, rhetoric, grammar, and research) and increasing skill in helping students of varying abilities improve their cultural awareness, critical acumen, reading comprehension, and writing competence. (Graduate teaching assistants only.)

Course Delivery Format

Graduate courses are delivered face-to-face in small, seminar settings.

Student Support and Engagement Opportunities

The department offers a number of graduate teaching assistantships for the nine-month academic year. Teaching assistants take two graduate classes each semester and teach either two sections of composition or one section of composition with duties in the Writing Center. The assistantship is renewable each year, providing the student is making good academic progress and receives satisfactory teaching evaluations. Graduate teaching assistants receive a stipend, office space, faculty library status, and a full tuition waiver. Applicants who wish to be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship should indicate their interest in the statement of purpose submitted to the Graduate School as part of their online application.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees


Master of Arts   Option A - Thesis 30 Credit Hours
  Option B - Research/Design Paper 32 Credit Hours
  Option C - Coursework Only 36 Credit Hours

Core Requirements


Select one of the following options


Option A - Thesis


Option B - Research/Design Paper


Option C - Coursework Only


  • Electives Credits: 30

Total Required Credits: 30 (Option A), 32 (Option B), 36 (Option C)


Additional Admission Requirements


To be considered for admission into the M.A. Program in English, the applicant should have a minimum of 24 semester hours of undergraduate credit in English or receive the consent of the Department Head.

To be considered for unconditional acceptance and to be eligible for a graduate teaching assistantship, applicants must have at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and a 3.25 GPA in their undergraduate English courses.

GRE: Not required
TOEFL: Department requirement of 600 paper-based, 100 Internet-based
IELTS: Department requirement of 7.0

In addition to the materials required by the Graduate School, the English department requires the following application materials:

  • A one-page statement of purpose explaining the applicant’s interest in and goals for graduate study. The statement of purpose should indicate whether or not the applicant would like to be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship. The applicant may upload this statement while completing the Graduate School’s online application.
  • An eight- to ten-page critical writing sample. This sample must engage in critical research and include a works cited page. The applicant may upload this writing sample while completing the Graduate School’s online application.
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty at the applicant’s undergraduate institution. Letters should come from faculty who are directly familiar with the applicant’s academic work. They must address the applicant’s scholarly potential and may also speak to the applicant’s potential as a graduate teaching assistant. Letters should come directly from the recommenders, who may submit their letters electronically along with the personal recommendation form provided by the Graduate School. The Graduate School will email recommenders detailed instructions for submitting their recommendations using the contact information provided by the applicant.

General Requirements


Graduate students should consult with their advisor before registering for graduate work.

For additional information refer to the Master’s Degree Requirements .

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