Master of Arts in English
The MA in English at WestConn has three options: the Literature Option, the Writing Option, and the TESOL Option. The program is housed in the English Department, which coordinates the Literature Option, whereas the Department of Writing, Linguistics, and the Creative Process coordinates the Writing and TESOL Options (For more information about the Writing and TESOL Options, please contact the WLCP department.)
Program Mission, Goals, and Objectives
The MA in English offers courses of study that students can apply toward advanced degrees or toward careers as writers or as teachers at the primary and secondary levels. All students graduating with the MA in English are expected to have developed advanced knowledge of authors, literary genres, and literary periods, and advanced ability to analyze texts, contexts, and important literary issues using current critical approaches. Research, critical thinking, and writing skills are integral components of all course work.
Applicants for the MA in English must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education. In general, students who have completed a substantial number of credits in English at the undergraduate level will receive preference for admission to the program. However, the MA program welcomes applicants from diverse educational backgrounds. Applicants with other undergraduate concentrations or majors will be considered. In all cases, a record of strong undergraduate academic achievement will merit preference over any other criterion for admission.
Prospective students for the Literature Option must include the following in their application:
- a 500-word statement of purpose explaining why they want to pursue graduate studies in English
- a writing sample, i.e., a substantial research essay on a literary topic (approximately 10 pages, typed, double spaced, printed on 8 1/2″ by 11″ white bond)
All applicants must have an entrance interview with the appropriate graduate coordinator. After the entrance interview, the graduate coordinator recommends whether or not to accept the applicant, or whether to accept the applicant conditionally (i.e., students may be asked to make up academic deficiencies), and forwards this recommendation to the graduate office. See the website of the Division of Graduate Studies for general admission requirements (http://www.wcsu.edu/graduate/)
At the successful completion of the program, students will be able to
- Demonstrate advanced knowledge of authors, literary genres, periods, and critical theories;
- Critique literary texts with rigor and depth in their proper historical, cultural as well as literary contexts, using current critical approaches;
- Evaluate and synthesize resources for researching significant scholarly topics;
- Write papers that construct logical, informed, valid arguments appropriate to English-related professions.
Graduate Courses (every year)
Representative sampling of research papers (collected every semester)
Assessment of all Learning Outcomes
Using department approved rubric and scoring sheet..
- All English Department faculty members will participate in assessment sessions.
- Each sampled research paper will be assessed by two faculty members.
- Assessment session will be held as part of the May department faculty meeting.
- Assessment results will be reported annually.
Provisional Early Admission for Advanced Undergraduate Students
Undergraduate students of advanced standing are eligible to apply for provisional early admission so that they can obtain the master’s degree in an expedited fashion. Through this provisional early admission, an advanced student can design a plan of study to accelerate the progress toward achieving his or her career and educational goals.
Undergraduates of advanced standing in their third or fourth year of studies in programs offered by the Department of English or the Department of Writing, Linguistics, and Creative Process.
- Submit the “MA in English Application for Provisional Early Admission.”
- Submit a personal statement, and/or a writing sample as required by the Literature Option and the Writing Option respectively.
- Schedule an entrance interview with the appropriate graduate coordinator who recommends to the Office of Graduate Studies whether or not to accept the applicant for provisional admission.
Submit the “Graduate Studies Application for Admission” form required of all applicants for graduate studies at WCSU at the end of the senior year so the provisional admission becomes official admission. (See the Graduate Catalog for admissions details)
Students whose applications have been accepted must satisfy all requirements for their bachelor’s degrees before being formally admitted into the master’s program. Students will need to complete the required 30 credits in order to be granted a master’s degree. Credits taken can only count once (towards one degree); there is no double counting of credits. (click here to access the application form)
Degree Requirements (Literature Option)
The Literature Option students have two paths to fulfill the degree requirements: Thesis or Comprehensive Examination.
Literature Option students electing to take the comprehensive examination to complete their graduate studies in English will be tested on a reading list prepared by the English department. The three-hour comprehensive is a closed-book exam administered in November and April of each year. Students should indicate in writing to the graduate coordinator of the English Department their intention to take the comprehensive at least one full month in advance of either the November or April examination. The graduate coordinator will announce the specific time and place for each examination. “Comprehensive Examination Guidelines” is available from the graduate coordinator.
Literature Option students electing to write a thesis must register for ENG 592, Independent Thesis Research in English. A student electing to write a thesis must do so under the guidance of an English Department faculty member who agrees to direct the student’s work. The English department’s Graduate Committee must approve all thesis proposals. Students choosing the thesis path should therefore consult with the graduate coordinator as well as the thesis director and follow the department’s “Thesis Guidelines” closely.
Master of Arts in English – Literature Option (30 SH)
Completion of the Following
ENG 502 Critical Theory (3 SH)
ENG 506 History of the Language and Linguistics (3 SH)
One course in English literature (ENG 509, 513, 532, 534, or 541) (3 SH)
One Course in American Literature (ENG 552, 567, or 568) (3 SH)
One Course in Topic/Genre Studies (ENG 544, 570, 572, or 574) (3 SH)
Path A: Thesis
One more literature course in the MA program (3 SH)
ENG 592: Independent Thesis Research in English (6 SH)
Path B: Comprehensive Exam
Three more literature courses in the MA program (9 SH)
Completion of the Comprehensive Exam
Any other two courses in the MA program (6 SH)
The English Department has established the following awards for the graduate students:
Best Research Paper of the Year
Recognizes the best research paper by a graduate student submitted to the English Department during the academic year. Eligibility: recommendation of the professor teaching the course for which the research paper was written. Award: Certificate. Criteria: Academic excellence.
Most Promising Scholar
Recognizes the most promising graduate student in the M. A. in English program. Eligibility: the student having taken at least six courses in the graduate program at the time of nomination. Award: Certificate. Criteria: Academic excellence
Recognizes the best master’s thesis submitted to the English Department during the academic year. Eligibility: the thesis project having been accepted; recommendation of the thesis advisors. Award: Certificate. Criteria: Academic excellence
Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year
Recognizes the best graduate teaching assistant of the academic year. Eligibility: recommendation of the professor teaching the Megasection and supervising the graduate teaching assistants. Award: Certificate. Criteria: Teaching excellence
It contains, among other things, the following:
- Provisional Early Admission for Advanced Undergraduate Students (Brand new!)
- Thesis Guidelines
- Comprehensive Exam Guidelines
- Comprehensive Exam Reading List (Fall 2013-Spring 2015)
- Program Sheet
- Faculty Areas of Expertise
(Click to download for your reference.)
For more information about the graduate program, please contact:
Dr. Heather Levy, Graduate Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org /203/837-3272)
Graduate Courses (English Department)
ENG 502 Critical Theory – 3 SH
This course is an in-depth examination of major schools of contemporary critical theory, from Structuralism to Post-Colonialism. The goal of the course is to provide students a varied repertoire of current approaches to texts and to facilitate their understanding of the ideological stances inherent in each scholarly perspective. Students are encouraged to examine the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and to develop their own critical scholarly voice by applying aspects of theories to their own readings of texts
ENG 509 Medieval Literature (post-colon) – 3 SH
This course will be an intensive, in–depth study of medieval literary authors and topics including Chaucer. This literature will be examined in the context of its historical, cultural, philosophic and literary setting, specifically, in the ways in which linguistics and rhetorical traditions have shaped individual authors and works and how scholars and literary critics have sought to explain this body of literature. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is different.
ENG 513 English Renaissance Literature (post-colon) – 3 SH
This course will focus on major writers of the English Renaissance, usually emphasizing either the poetry or prose of writers such as Sidney, Bacon, Spencer, Donne, and Browne, and/or the drama of writers such as Marlowe, Jonson, Webster, Chapman, and Middleton. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is verifiably different.
ENG 532 Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature (post-colon) – 3 SH
Intensive and in-depth study of selected authors and/or topics from Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is different.
ENG 534 Nineteenth Century British Literature (post-colon) – 3 SH
Intensive and in-depth study of selected authors and/or topics from Nineteenth Century British Literature such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, the Bronts, Dickens, George Eliot, Carlyle, Mill, Arnold, and Hardy. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is different.
ENG 541 Twentieth Century British and Irish Literature (post-colon) – 3 SH
Intensive examination of prominent authors of ex-colonies as well a thorough study of Britain and Ireland’s most visionary authors. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is different.
ENG 544 Topics in Literature (post-colon) – 3 SH
A critical study of topics in literature, e.g., satire, gender roles, representation of “Other(s),” which typically cut across periods, genres, and cultures. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is verifiably different.
ENG 552 American Literature to 1860 (post-colon) – 3 SH
Intensive and in-depth study of selected authors and/ or topics from American Literature prior to 1865, such as Puritanism, Transcendentalism, Sentimentalism, Romanticism, Winthrop, Bradstreet, Taylor, Byrd, Edwards, Mather, Franklin, Irving, Fuller, Melville, Hawthorne, Stowe, Emerson, Thoreau, Southworth and Poe. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is verifiably different.
ENG 567 American Literature: 1860-1920 (post-colon) – 3 SH
Intensive and in-depth study of the most significant literary movements (realism, naturalism, local color, early modernism, psychological realism, etc.) in appropriate literary, critical and cultural contexts. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is verifiably different.
ENG 568 American Literature: 1920-present (post-colon) – 3 SH
Intensive and in-depth study of the most significant literary developments (modernism, agitprop, Harlem Renaissance, Beat, etc.) in appropriate literary, critical and cultural contexts. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is verifiably different.
ENG 570 Fiction Studies (post-colon) – 3 SH
Intensive and in-depth study of important works of fiction and fiction writers in pertinent literary, critical, and cultural contexts. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is verifiably different.
ENG 572 Drama Studies (post-colon) – 3 SH
Intensive and in-depth study of important plays and playwrights in pertinent literary, critical, and cultural contexts. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is verifiably different.
ENG 574 Poetry Studies (post-colon) – 3 SH
Intensive, in-depth study of significant poet(s), movements, or genre of poetry in relationship to their literary, critical and cultural contexts. This course may be repeated for credit provided the post-colon subject matter is verifiably different.
ENG/WRT 585 An Apprenticeship in Teaching College Writing – 1-3 SH
Restricted to graduate students in English, this course focuses on the theory and practice of teaching freshman composition. Students will be responsible for attending seminars in rhetorical theory with a workshop component in the practicalities of teaching composition, conducting writing and discussion sessions with students in freshman composition, and commenting on and evaluating essays. Written assignments based on the reading for the course will be required. This variable credit course may be taken for up to three credits.
ENG/WRT 586 Practicum in Teaching College Writing – 1-3 SH
Restricted to graduate assistants in English, this course is a workshop for discussion of problems encountered in teaching freshman composition. This course may be taken for one-to-three credits per semester for as long as the student is a graduate assistant. Prerequisite: ENG 585. Students may take a total of three credits towards the degree, three credits in ENG 585 or three credits in ENG 586, or a combination of three credits from the two courses (ENG 585 & ENG 586).
ENG 592 Independent Thesis Research in English – 3-6 SH
Designed for students fulfilling the thesis requirements for the Master of Arts in English. Students must follow the thesis guidelines and work independently on thesis research and writing. Individual conferences with the thesis advisor are scheduled as needed. Credit will be granted upon submission of the approved final draft of the thesis and thesis abstract. Permission of both the thesis advisor and the Graduate Coordinator.
Eng 598 Teaching College English – 1-3 SH
This course focuses on the theory and pedagogy of teaching first-year college English, i.e., introductory literature courses (writing intensive), to students of diverse backgrounds. Students are required to attend both the weekly seminar in theory and pedagogy of teaching first-year college English and the weekly teaching workshop. Required of graduate students teaching in the college English program for the first time. This course is also open to other graduate students. This variable credit course may be taken for up to three credits.
ENG 598 Faculty Developed Course – 1-3 SH
An experimental course offered by the English department as a means of determining its value to the total department program or in response to a particular request from a group of students.
ENG 599 Student Independent Study – 1-3 SH
A vehicle designed to provide the student with an opportunity to develop his or her own learning experience that lies outside the existing graduate course offerings of the English department. The student will design a project and secure a faculty sponsor who has the pertinent expertise. May be taken for a maximum of three credits toward the degree. Prerequisite: Written permission of the faculty sponsor and the English department. Registration through the Division of Graduate Studies office is required.