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Graduate Program in English

Contact and Program Information

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Dr. Robert Carlisle, 

 Faculty Towers 201E

 Phone: (661) 654-2127

 Fax: (661) 654-2063     


Mailing Address:

Department of English

CSU, Bakersfield

9001 Stockdale Hwy.

Bakersfield, CA 93311

Program Information





















The Master's in English Program at CSUB: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply? There is a two-step application process. A CSU system-wide application form is available from the Admissions Office. You may also file your application on-line at When your application is accepted by CSUB, it is forwarded to the Department of English. You must also fill out and submit the department's application form.

What are the admissions requirements? Students are admitted to the university with a 2.5 average in the last ninety units of work at an accredited college or university. If you have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and the same in the major, the English Department will admit you as a Classified Graduate Student and you will be exempt from the Graduate Record Exam requirement. Students without a GPA of at least 3.0 will need to score a total of 1,000 points on the GRE verbal measure and the Literature in English examinations.

What if I didn't major in English in college? Before beginning graduate classes, you will be asked to complete the equivalent of an undergraduate major in English, including one course each in criticism and linguistics. Generally, upper-division courses in English that you have taken elsewhere count towards this equivalent.

Do you offer graduate courses in the evening after work? Yes. Graduate classes are offered only in the evening, on Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday. Our class times are 6:00 to 8:00 and 8:00 tp 10:00 PM.

What is the normal course load for graduate students? Ten quarter units or two courses per quarter.

Do you have a summer program? Summer classes operate independently of the regular academic program; since courses "make" only with sufficient enrollment, summer offerings in graduate courses in English have been infrequent.

How long will it take me to get my M.A.? Ten graduate courses are required to complete the MA: two classes per quarter completes the job in five quarters. Students usually devote one quarter to the final requirement--a thesis or a comprehensive examination. So that totals six quarters or two years.

How large are classes? Most graduate classes enroll from 12-20 students; the ratio of faculty to students is high, allowing students to get individual attention and help on their classes and research interests.

Do you offer graduate work in creative writing? Unfortunately, our department is not large enough to offer separate tracks such as creative writing, linguistics, or writing. However, we do offer a Certificate in Writing designed to help students in the teaching of composition and thus make them more marketable for jobs.

Do I have to take a comprehensive examination? After finishing their course work, students either write a thesis, a prospectus of which must be approved by the Graduate Committee or take a written comprehensive exam.

Is there financial aid for graduate students? Federally backed loans are available from the Office of Financial Aid (654-3016).

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Graduate Courses

ENGL 500. Methods of Scholarly Research (3)
The study of the nature and function of imaginative, expository, and argumentative writing. The resources for scholarship in composition and in literature and the problems of method in the major areas of research in English. Must be taken as one of the student's first three graduate English courses.

ENGL 504. Approaches to the Analysis of Writing (5)
A study of various linguistics approaches for analyzing the structure of written texts.

ENGL 505. Rhetorical Theory (5)
An introduction to recent research on written composition, the most current theories of rhetoric, and the implications of these theories for the teaching of writing.

ENGL 506. Problems in the Instruction of Composition Skills (5)
Emphasis on the understanding of grammar, syntax, structure, and form, in principle, as well as of the problems in communicating effective and acceptable language usage in a classroom situation.

ENGL 507. Writing in a Second Language (5)
The writing process and the written products of people composing in English as a foreign language. Topics of discussion include contrastive rhetoric, error analysis, and evaluation. Special attention will be given to the writing problems of international students learning English and to appropriate instructional procedures helpful to such students.

ENGL 508. Teaching Basic Writers(5)
This course includes both the traditional underpinnings and the practical applications for teaching developmental writers and addresses the diverse cultural, emotional, and academic needs of these students.

ENGL 515. Theories of English Grammar (5)
Study of the assumptions, systems, and applications of one or more modern approaches to the English language.

ENGL 518. History of the English Language (5)
Studies in the development of English phonology, morphology, and syntax from the Old English period to the present.

ENGL 525. Chaucer (5)
Studies in The Canterbury Tales and/or Troilus and Criseyde, and a selection of Chaucer's shorter poems.

ENGL 533. Seventeenth Century British Literature (5)
Study of seventeenth century poetry, prose, and/or drama. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 535. Shakespeare (5)
Study of selected plays. Prerequisite: ENGL 335 or consent of the instructor.

ENGL 541. Eighteenth Century British Literature (5)
Study of eighteenth century poetry, prose, and/or drama. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 552. Nineteenth Century British Literature (5)
Study of nineteenth century poetry, non-fiction prose, fiction, and/or drama. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 564. Twentieth Century Poetry (5)
Survey of major British and American poets from about 1914 to the present. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 565. Postcolonial Literature (5)
Literature produced in colonial and post-colonial contexts. Course content will vary, in some cases focused on the literature and culture of a single area or era. Author selection will be diverse in terms of gender, race, and class, including authors belonging to both colonizing and colonized populations. A central course goal will be for students to develop a sense of the range and differences amonst colonial and postcolonial experiences and aesthetics. Authors might include Isabel Allende, Monica Ali, J.M. Coetzee, Kiran Desai, Brian Friel, Nadine Gordimer, Seamus Heaney, V.S. Naipaul, R.K. Narayan, Salman Rushdie, Jean Rhys, Wole Soyinka, among others.

ENGL 568. Modern British Novel (5)
Survey of major British novelists from 1900. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 570. Criticism (5)
Problems in the application of critical methods in both literature and language studies, with emphasis on the formation and development of major trends in critical theory.

ENGL 572. Poetry and Poetics (5)
Study of selected poets, their works, and their poetics. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 576. Development of the English Novel (5)
Study of continuity and change in the structure and style of the English novel and novella.

ENGL 578. Special Methods in the Instruction of Literature (5)
An introduction for graduate students intending to teach high school or community college English, this course explores the implications of modern literary theory for classroom instruction of the literary text.

ENGL 580. Ethnic Literature (5)
Study of American ethnic writers, their viewpoints and their aesthetics. The social and cultural contexts of the literature will also be studied. May be repeated with permission of advisor when course content changes, as in African-American Literature, Chicano Literature, Asian-American Literature, etc.

ENGL 582. Early American Literature (5)
Studies in American literature from the Colonial Period to the Civil War. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 583. Later 19th Century American Literature (5)
Studies in American Literature from the Civil War to 1900. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 584. Modern American Literature (5)
Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature to WWII. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 585. Contemporary American Literature (5)
American Literature since WWII. (Note: May be repeated with permission of advisor if different course content.)

ENGL 591. Theories of Second Language Acquisition (5)
This class examines and compares the most recent and influential theories of second language acquisition including the monitor model, interlanguage theory, linguistic universals, cognitive theory, and acculturation/pidginization theory. The class applies towards the TESL Certificate, not towards the MA in English. Prerequisites: ENGL/LING 319 or  415 or 420 or ENGL 514.

ENGL 600. English Practicum (3) 
A requirement for participation in the Teaching Assistant Program in English, this course allows students to observe and participate in the design and daily work of a college-level writing class (at BC or at CSUB). Students will work with a master teacher in and outside of class (inasmuch as we can accommodate specific requests) and be responsible for some independent work outside of class that is directly relevant to the assigned course. (Can be repeated for different course content.)

ENGL 690. Comprehensive Examination (3) 
A comprehensive written examination on a reading list covering major works of English and American Literature. Readings selected in consultation with the student's graduate committee. The examination must be passed with a grade of "B-" or better, and it may be taken no more than two times. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the graduate course work.

ENGL 691. Thesis (3) 
A carefully designed study of a selected topic or area in English or American literature. Emphasis placed on original insights as contributions to graduate scholarship. Prerequisite: Classified Status and approval of the department's Graduate Committee.

ENGL 698. Directed Study in the Instruction of English (variable units)  
A class in the theory and methods in undergraduate and graduate instruction in English. Weekly meetings with faculty sponsor and supervised experience which may include developing, administering, and scoring examinations; leading small group discussions; tutoring; and directing students in researching term papers. Offered on a credit, no-credit basis only. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor who will serve as the sponsor and approval by chair of the Department of English.

ENGL 699. Individual Study (variable units)  
Admission with consent of department chair.

Prospectus Cover Sheet

Prospectus Coversheet