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MA PROGRAMCOORDINATOR: Dr. Robert Carlisle, Department of English/Communications; (661) 654-2127/2144: E-mail address: Dr. Robert Carlisle
The Master of Arts in English provides a carefully planned and integrated program ensuring a foundation of professional skills through a common core of courses; some uniform degree of coverage in the areas of English and American literature; intensive training in reading, critical analysis research, and writing; and breadth through an emphasis on the fields of literature, language, and composition. The MA qualifies students to teach in the California community college system or secondary schools as well as prepares them for careers in editing, advertising, and public information.
To meet its objectives, the MA has been designed primarily to provide: (1) a well-balanced selection of classes for those who wish to terminate their studies at the master’s level and whose primary aim is to teach in a community college; (2) advanced training for teachers who wish to improve their professional skills and status; (3) a variety of courses for students who plan to continue towards the Ph.D. degree at another institution, and (4) continuing education for those who wish to extend their knowledge as an end in itself through an interesting and stimulating series of classes in literature, criticism, language, as well as the teaching of composition.
Application and Admission
Persons seeking graduate study in English must first apply for the University Office of Admissions. Applications are available in the English Department office, as well as the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Admission to graduate study by the university does not constitute acceptance into the English MA Program. It does, however, permit students to take courses as unclassified post-baccalaureate students and to begin the process leading to classification (see “Classification of Graduate Students” below).
Upon admission to the university, students must immediately notify the English Department’s Graduate Program Coordinator of their intention to pursue the MA degree. The Graduate Coordinator will familiarize the student with the requirements and timetable of the MA Program. Students wishing to pursue graduate studies culminating in a master’s degree in English file an application with the Department of English. To obtain this application, students may write to the graduate coordinator of the Department of English, or they may click here for an electronic version. Though the application asks for scores for the Graduate Record Examination, students do not fill out that section.
Admissions Requirements –Admission to the graduate program leading to the Master of Arts in English requires the following:
1. A baccalaureate degree in English from an accredited college or university, including two period courses and the equivalents of
ENGL 300, ENGL/LING 319 and ENGL/LING 414 (previously ENGL/LING 318);
2. A 3.0 GPA (A = 4.0) for the last 90 quarter units (60 semester units) attempted;
3. A combined score of 1000 on both the verbal measure of the Graduate Record Exam General Test and the Literature in English
Subject Exam, with a minimum of 500 on the verbal measure or an overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0
scale) with 3.0 in the major;
4. Submission of the department’s application form.
5. For international students of those whose first language is not English, a TOEFL score of 550 or higher (or 213 on the new
conversation scale for the computer-based TOEFL). Documentation must be provided in original form by the testing
institution; copies submitted by the applicant are not acceptable.
Students who have a baccalaureate degree in a subject other than English must complete the eight-course (40 unit) undergraduate core requirements for English with a GPA of 3.00 before being considered for admission to the master’s degree program in English. The undergraduate core requirements are described below. All courses are to be selected in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator for English.
1. ENGL 300 Approaches to Literature
2. One course in a major figure or group: ENGL 325, 335, 336, 337, or 375
3. ENGL/LING 319 The Structure of English
4. ENG/LING 414 (previously 318) History of the Language
5. One course from the period 450-1785: ENGL 320, 330, or 340
6. One course from the period 1785 to the present: ENGL 350, 351, 360, 361, 380, 381, or 382
7. One genre course: ENGL 475
8. Any other upper division literature course
Classification of Graduate Students
There are four classifications for students in the English graduate program:
Post-Baccalaureate/Unclassified – Students accepted by the university for post-baccalaureate study may take English courses with approval from the instructor. These courses may be taken solely for personal pleasure, for professional development, or as a means of establishing a record in the English Department that will lead to classified standing. However, it is important to note that a Post-Baccalaureate Unclassified Student may take no more than two courses that count towards the requirements for the MA in English. However, if students wish to obtain the Certificate in Writing, they may take all four classes necessary to achieve that goal.
Classified – A student who meets all the requirements for admission to the master’s degree program in English will be admitted as a Classified Graduate Student. A Classified Graduate Student may take any graduate-level course meeting the requirements of his or her plan of study as long as the appropriate prerequisites have been met.
Conditionally Classified – A student who meets most but not all of the requirements for admission as a Classified Graduate Student may be admitted as a Conditionally Classified Graduate Student. The Graduate Committee for English will determine the conditions which the student must meet in order to be advanced to Classified Graduate Student status. A Conditionally Classified Graduate Student may take no more than two five-unit courses that count towards the requirements for the MA in English while meeting the specified conditions.
Candidacy – Classified students who have maintained a 3.25 GPA will be advanced to candidacy in the term in which they intend to graduate.
It is essential that MA students stay in contact with the Graduate Coordinator for advising so that they department can advance expeditiously through the program. It is the students’ responsibility, in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator, to choose appropriate courses and to organize a thesis or examination committee. Meeting with the Graduate Coordinator is an important first step in the MA program. The Graduate Coordinator advises and guides students during the period of graduate study and responds to any misgivings students may have while in the program. Students have a responsibility to schedule regular meeting with the Graduate Coordinator.
Committee Selection –– Each MA student in English must have a committee, either to provide examinations or to read and guide the thesis. The Graduate Coordinator can provide assistance in forming an MA committee.
Note: Students who wish to pursue the doctorate in English are strongly encouraged to begin or continue the study of one or more foreign languages. Courses in French and Spanish are available at CSUB in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.
Each master’s candidate must complete a minimum of ten English graduate courses of five units each plus two three-unit courses (ENGL 500 Methods of Scholarly Research and either ENGL 690 Comprehensive Examination or ENGL 691 Thesis). Students must earn a GPA of 3.0 (B) or better. (No course in which the student receives less than a “B-“ will count toward the degree.) The ten courses will include:
A. Required courses:
1. ENGL 500 Methods of Scholarly Research. (Must be taken as one of the student’s first three graduate English courses.)
2. ENGL 515 Theories of English Grammar or
ENGL 518 History of the English Language
3. ENGL 570 Criticism
B. One course from each of the seven groups listed below :
Field 1 Medieval ENGL 525 Chaucer
Field 2 Renaissance ENGL 533 Seventeenth-Century British Literature or
ENGL 535 Shakespeare
Group II Field 3 Restoration/18th Century British ENGL 541 Eighteenth-Century British Literature or
ENGL 576 Development of the English Novel
Field 4 19th Century British ENGL 552 Nineteenth-Century British Literature
Field 5 20th Century British ENGL 564 Twentieth-Century Poetry or
ENGL 565 Postcolonial Literature or
ENGL 568 Modern British Novel
Field 6 Early American ENGL 582 Early American Literature or
ENGL 583 Later Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Field 7 Later American ENGL 580 Ethnic Literature or
ENGL 584 Modern American Literature or
ENGL 585 Contemporary American Literature
Field 8 Textual Analysis ENGL 504 Approaches to the Analysis of Writing
Field 9 Theory of Composition ENGL 505 Rhetorical Theory
Field 10 Instruction in Comp./Lit ENGL 506 Composition Theory and Practice or
ENGL 578 Special Methods in the Instruction of Literature
Field 11 Basic Writing/ESL ENGL 507 Writing in a Second Language or
ENGL 508 Teaching Basic Writers
Group VII Field 12 Ethnic Literature ENGL 565 Postcolonial Literature
ENGL 580 Ethnic Literature
Students who intend to write a thesis take a course from each Group. Students who wish to take a comprehensive examination receive questions from the fields in which they have not had courses. Please see ENGL 690 Comprehensive Examination for further details. Students should also also review the M.A. Reading List (English 690).
C. Other courses. Normally, students will select their ten courses from the groups above; however, students may also take English 572 Poetry and Poetics to fulfill one of the areas depending upon the specific focus of the class. In addition, students may substitute as many as two 300/400-level classes (supplemented by additional graduate-level work) for graduate classes above with the permission of the instructor and the Graduate Coordinator. If students take 300/400-level classes, the instructor of the class must provide a written statement on the additional requirements and the specific graduate requirement the 300/400-level class fulfills. Finally, with the approval of the instructor and the Graduate Coordinator, students my take up to two courses by independent study; however, ENGL 500, 515, 518, and 570 are not available through independent study.
D. ENGL 690 Comprehensive Examination or ENGL 691 Thesis.
Upon completion of all course work, students enroll in ENGL 690 (3 units) or ENGL 691 (3 units).
ENGL 690 - Comprehensive Examination is an independent reading that culminates in a written comprehensive examination based on the department’s standardized reading list. The examination must be passed with a grade of “B-“ or better, and it may be taken no more than two times. For more information, see ENGL 690 Comprehensive Examination.
ENGL 691 - Thesis requires students to complete a carefully designed study of a selected topic or area in British Literature, American Literature, or Linguistics. Emphasis is placed on original insights as contributors to graduate scholarship. The English Department requires that the thesis be between 50 and 70 pages in length. For more information, see ENGL 691 Thesis.
E. Additional Requirements
Writing Competency Requirement – All graduate students must satisfy the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement as soon as possible, unless they have already done so as undergraduates or graduates at CSUB or at another California State University. This requirement may be met by passing the regularly scheduled examination or by successfully completing ENGL 304, 305 or 310; this requirement must be satisfied before the student may take the final comprehensive examination.
Time Limitation on Course Requirements – State law mandates a seven-year limitation on course credits.
Students who fail to complete their degree program within the seven-year limit must retake any courses that have
Teaching Assistant Program in Writing – The Teaching Assistant Program begins with a one-quarter apprenticeship in a composition course or courses in the department. If the faculty mentor’s evaluations are positive and enrollment is sufficient, the student will be assigned to his or her own class for a maximum of three quarters. Students are required to take ENGL 600: English Practicum (3 units) in conjunction with their apprenticeship. Prerequisites for the Teaching Assistant Program are: (1) completion of ENGL 506 with a grade of “B+” or better, and (2) completion of 20 hours of tutoring.