Master of Arts in English

The graduate program in English develops skills in critical thinking, writing, and research, encourages intellectual curiosity, and provides training for careers and professional advancement in related fields such as teaching, editorial work, journalism, publishing, writing, and research.

Students pursuing the MA in English choose between two degree concentrations, Literature or Composition. The two-track curriculum provides two separate fields of study within English, offering multiple career opportunities as well as preparing students for doctoral work.

Requirements for Admission to the Program:

Note: Applications for this program are accepted three times a year.

  • Fall admission – July 1
  • Summer admission – April 1
  • Fall admission – November 1

Students must fulfill the general requirements for admission to the College of Graduate Studies and Research. In addition:

  1. Applications must indicate a degree concentration: Literature or Composition.

  2. In their personal Statement of Goals and Objectives, applicants to the Program in English should specify their reasons for pursuing graduate-level studies in Literature or Composition, and they should identify the background, strengths, and academic skills that they feel will ensure their success as an MA student.

  3. All applicants must submit a representative sample of academic or professional writing that demonstrates their critical thinking and/or research strengths and indicates their ability to do well in advanced study in English Literature or Composition. The writing sample should not exceed 15 pages in length, and should preferably be work completed for an upper-division undergraduate course in English or for a graduate-level English course. (Those who cannot meet this requirement may petition the Graduate Coordinator for admission in a written statement.)

  4. GRE scores are not required for admission, but they may be submitted to supplement an application.

Literature Concentration:

As the Master’s degree is understood to build upon an already solid foundation of literary study, applicants seeking admission to the MA program in English, Literature concentration, must have a BA in English (or a minimum of 30 credit hours of undergraduate work in literature and composition), including reasonable coverage of British and American literature and at least one course in Literary Criticism. Students who do not meet these requirements may be offered a provisional admission and allowed to complete their undergraduate training at NEIU prior to taking courses toward the MA degree.

Composition Concentration:

As the Master’s degree is understood to build upon an already solid foundation of study, applicants seeking admission to the MA program in English, Composition concentration, must have a BA in English, English Education, or a related field subject to the approval of the Graduate Committee in Composition. Students who do not meet these requirements may be offered a provisional admission and allowed to complete their undergraduate training at NEIU prior to taking courses toward the MA degree.

NOTE: All petitions to transfer between degree concentrations are subject to the admissions requirements of the track into which a student is transferring.

Requirements for the Degree:

All graduate credits must be at the 400 level, except for a maximum of two 300-level courses specifically approved for graduate degree credits in English (see list below). Be sure to consult with your program advisor before registering for any 300-level course.

ENGL-300Russian Literature: From Gogol To Chekhov3
ENGL-307Medieval Studies- The Development Of The Arthurian Legend3
ENGL-308English Literature From Beowulf To Malory3
ENGL-314Chaucer And His Age3
ENGL-316Forms Of Poetry3
ENGL-368American Realism3
ENGL-376Advanced Composition3
ENGL-377Argumentative Prose3
ENGL-381African-American Literature3

The graduate program requires 33 credit hours of coursework in literature (principally British and American), or 33 hours with a concentration in composition. (The specifics of each program are defined below.) Both programs require a final written examination.

Good Standing in the Program:

  1. All students must maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average in the program.
  2. Regardless of overall grade point average, grades of C or below at the master’s level indicate a need for increased academic application. If more than one grade of C is received, a student must petition the departmental Graduate Committee in writing for permission to continue.

Thesis Option:

An optional scholarly thesis is open to degree candidates enrolled in either degree track, and may be written in place of two 400-level electives. This option is subject to departmental approval. The student, in consultation with a thesis advisor and the Graduate Coordinator, will submit a thesis proposal that must be approved before they can register for the Thesis Hours (ENGL-5901, ENGL-5902 or ENGL-5903) . Students completing the thesis option will give an oral defense of their thesis before a departmental committee prior to filing the project with the Graduate College.

Examination:

In contrast to traditional Master’s programs in which graduate students are handed several literary fields that they are supposed to “master,” in our program, students will be at the helm of producing three literary fields that will be the basis of their take-home exams. Each field will be accompanied by a rationale and a combination of primary texts (8-15 works); secondary texts (3-10 works); and theoretical works (3-10 works). These lists will be created with the assistance of the Graduate Coordinator and other faculty. For more information, please contact the Graduate Coordinator.

Literature Concentration:

A student’s coursework should be planned with a view to achieving adequate and substantial preparation in British and American literature, with some work in world literature. In addition to coursework, students must maintain good academic standing in the program and pass a comprehensive examination in English Literature. The program includes the following course work:

Required Courses
ENGL-410Literary Methods And Practice3
ENGL-430Studies In Literary Criticism3
Two American literature courses at the 400 level6
Three British literature courses at the 400 level9
Two electives chosen from 300-level (only those approved for graduate degree credit) and/or 400-level courses6
Thesis Hours - (or Two additional 400-level courses)6
Total Hours33

Composition Concentration:

Students must complete the 6 hours of Core Requirements, 18 hours of Core Electives and 9 hours of Free Electives. In addition, students must maintain good academic standing in the program and pass a three part comprehensive exam.

Core Requirements
ENGL-433Seminar In Composition Theory3
ENGL-435Writing Assessment: Theory And Practice3
Core Electives 118
Select six of the following:
Literary Methods And Practice
Studies In Literary Criticism
Bibliography And Research In English
Alternative Literacies
Seminar In Basic Writing Theory
Rhetorics Of Composition
English Studies And Technology
Research In Composition
Stylistics
FREE Electives9
Literature: any 400-level or graduate approved 300-level course
Writing
Forms Of Poetry
Advanced Composition
Argumentative Prose
Contemporary Poetic Forms
Language
See advisor to choose TESL or LING courses relevant to your career goals.
Total Hours33
1

 New Composition Electives will be added to the list periodically.

Comprehensive Exam:

Students will be tested on three reading lists that they have developed in conjunction with faculty members on topics of particular interest to them. There will be three separate tests, one on each reading list, which students will schedule at times convenient for them, complete at home, and then email back to the advisor. See the advisor for more information. Note: You may get permission from the Graduate Advisor to take courses not included on this list to meet the elective requirement.