When completing the Master of Arts in English, Master of Arts in Writing and Master of Science in Education in English you will perform guided and independent work both inside and outside the classroom.
Your core English courses include literature, writing, linguistics and theory, but you will be able to customize your degree by choosing a specific track to pursue.
In addition to coursework, you must also do the following:
- Demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language
- Complete a research component, either a thesis or degree paper(s)
- Participate in academic conferences
- Take a comprehensive examination
Core degree requirements
These courses come from a variety of English disciplines and provide a solid background for your program.
Master of Arts, English
Rhonda Stanton, Graduate Director
Siceluff Hall, Room 209
The MA in English seeks to impart advanced skills in writing, critical reading, and the analysis of language, as well as a broad, general knowledge of literature. Varying with students' interests, the MA prepares graduates for doctoral study and for careers in writing, teaching, and other professions.
Students complete a core of 18 hours and specialize in one of three tracks: (1) literature, (2) creative writing, or (3) TESOL.
Due Dates: Admission applications are reviewed year-round, but applicants who are also applying for Graduate Assistantship positions in the English Department should make sure to submit all required application materials, for both admission and an assistantship, by March 1. (Review of English Department assistantship applications typically takes place in March, and the assistantship awards themselves typically begin during the following August.)
Admission to the program is based on the following components and Application Requirements/Deadlines:
- A bachelor's degree with undergraduate preparation in English or, in the case of applicants interested in TESOL, course work in language and linguistics;
- A minimum GPA of 3.00 overall;
- A completed Missouri State University Graduate Application; and
- The following materials must be submitted:
- A personal statement (a 200- to 250-word description of the reasons and goals behind your interest in English graduate studies);
- At least two letters of recommendation from individuals able to speak of the applicant's academic achievements and potential;
- A 10-15 page writing sample or a set of writing samples totaling 10 to 15 pages;
- Graduate Assistantship Application if the prospective student would like to be considered for this award (submitted directly to the English Department).
Applicants will be notified by mail once their application is complete. Students who do not meet 1 and 2, above, but show high promise, may be admitted conditionally. As conditions of admission, they may be required to take extra courses to address deficiencies (including weaknesses in writing) or they may have other requirements stipulated.
Accelerated Master's requirements (Accelerated Master's option available only for the Literature Track)
- Junior standing, with an overall GPA of 3.00 or higher;
- Undergraduate major in B.A./B.S.-English, Literature Track;
- A minimum of 9 hours in Literature with no grade below B in these courses;
- Letters of recommendation from two Literature faculty members.
Once accepted, students may take up to 12 credit hours at the 600 level that will apply to both their B.A./B.S.-English, Literature Track and their M.A.-English, Literature Track. Before enrolling in a course to be counted as both undergraduate and graduate credit, undergraduate students must be accepted into the accelerated Master's program and complete a Mixed Credit Form. Acceptance into the program and all approvals must be completed before the end of the Change of Schedule Period for the course(s) to apply to the accelerated degree.
Core requirements (18 hours)
All students in the MA program in English must complete the following 18-hour core:
- 3 hours - ENG 700 Introduction to Research Methods in English
- 3 hours - Early English Literature (ENG 613, 615, 641, 643, 698, 744)
- 3 hours - Linguistics (ENG 688, 689, 690, 691, 695, 698, 792, 793)
- 6 hours - Seminar (ENG 710, 711, 712, 720, 721, 722, 725, 735, 744, 748, 757, 758, 780, 785, 786, 792, 793, 796)
- 3 hours - Theory Component (ENG 627, 628, 688, 689, 690, 691, 695, 720, 721, 722, 725, 781, 785, 786, 792, 793)
- 18 hours - Total
Additional degree requirements (minimum of 15 hours)
- Track Options & Requirements. The different tracks described below outline 15 additional hours of graduate-level course work. Students should choose electives with an awareness that at least half the credit hours applied toward the 33 hour requirement must be in courses numbered 700 or above.
- Language Proficiency. The language requirement may be met through one of the following options: (a) completion of 12 hours of undergraduate course work in a foreign language with at least a "C" average; (b) completion of the second intermediate foreign language college course with a grade of "C" or higher; (c) completion of 6 hours of undergraduate course work in one foreign language with at least a "C" average and completion of 6 hours of undergraduate course work in a second foreign language with at least a "C" average; (d) passing a reading competency test equivalent to the level of the second intermediate foreign language college course administered by the Department of World Languages and Cultures; or with advisor's permission; (e) completion of an additional 3 hours of graduate-level linguistics course work (raising the student's degree minimum to 36 hours). M.A., English student in the TESOL track must meet this requirement through a, b, c, or d above. Any M.A., English student whose native language is not English will be considered to have met the language requirement.
- Research Requirement.
Thesis: The thesis will ordinarily involve research on an original subject or an original approach to a subject. When appropriate, the thesis may be a creative work. Credit for the thesis (ENG 799), up to 6 hours, may apply to the minimum 33 hours required for the degree. A student must submit, and have approved, a formal thesis proposal before embarking on a thesis project and enrolling in ENG 799, Thesis.
Degree Papers: The paper may be a critical, interpretive, or investigative study of an original topic or an original treatment of a subject, based on primary sources. When appropriate, the paper may be creative work. The project must derive from a course taken to satisfy a degree requirement
- Colloquia. Students are expected to attend and participate in academic and professional activities. These may be scheduled by the department or may include university and community events (scholarly conferences, professional workshops, lectures, and presentations).
- Comprehensive Examination. The graduate student in English takes the comprehensive examination during the last
semester of course work or later.
The comprehensive examination for the MA in English is based on reading lists that reflect the student’s particular degree emphasis. Each student will prepare for two examination areas, and write two, two-hour essays. Students should begin preparing for the examination early in their graduate studies.
Creative Writing track
In addition to the core and degree requirements listed above, students choosing the graduate track in creative writing must complete the following courses:
In addition to the core and degree requirements listed above, students choosing the graduate track in literature must complete the following courses:
- 9 Hours - Electives in literature, linguistics, theory, writing
- 6 Hours - ENG 799 Thesis or alternative 700-level course work and a degree paper
Students choosing the graduate track in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) must satisfy the following course work as part of their core requirements: ENG 688, 691, 695, 793 and 796. In addition to the core and degree requirements listed above, these students must also complete the following courses:
- 9 Hours - Courses in linguistics and TESOL
- 6 Hours - ENG 799 Thesis or alternative 700-level course work and a degree paper
For descriptions of the TESOL graduate certificate program and the Missouri DESE ELL (English Language Learners) K-12 Endorsement requirements, see the TESOL Certificate website. Students may also consult with the Coordinator of the TESOL program, Dr. Yili Shi.
You will need to complete either a thesis or a degree paper.
You will typically research an original subject or take an original approach to a subject. You may also, if appropriate, submit a creative work.
Two faculty readers and a graduate faculty advisor must approve your thesis. If you are considering doctoral work, we typically recommend you write a thesis. It will give you extensive experience in independent research.
If you are working toward an MA in English in creative writing, you will usually write a creative thesis. This may be a collection of poetry, a collection of short fiction, a novel, a novella, a collection of personal essays, a memoir, a graphic narrative, or a work of mixed genre. The thesis should also include a critical introduction with a bibliography.
As a graduate student, you will typically write seminar papers for your 600-level courses. These papers can serve as the source material for your degree paper. When appropriate, they may also be creative works.
For more information about the specific research requirements, please contact the graduate program director.
You are expected and encouraged to participate in scholarly conferences, professional workshops, lectures and presentations.
You should plan to begin studying for your comprehensive exams as soon as you begin your graduate coursework. Exams for Master of Arts in English candidates contain two, two-hour essays. Exams for Master of Science in Education in English candidates contain two, one-hour essays. The exam for the Master of Arts in Writing candidates consists of two, 90-minute essays and an oral component.
Comprehensive exams are offered in October, March and June each year.
For more information about comprehensive exam requirements, please contact the graduate program director.