The English department emphasizes preparation for the Ph.D.; for other advanced degrees (such as the M.LS. or J.D.); for careers which would benefit from the advanced study of research, critical analysis, and writing; and for careers in secondary education.
The minimum requirement for the M.A. in English is 33 hours of
graduate credit in English. All students must take Eng 600: Research Methods in their first semester, and one course
that is dedicated to literature pre-1800. At least 24 hours of a student’s
graduate credit must be earned in courses at the 600 level or
above, exclusive of Eng 501: Professional Seminar in College Composition. Nine hours constitute a full-time graduate course load.
The 33-hour requirement is the minimum for the degree. Students
may, whenever possible, take courses
in addition to the 33-hour minimum. The Graduate Studies Committee
of the English Department reviews applications for admission and makes
recommendations to the Graduate School under three classifications:
unconditional, conditional, and provisional admission. (Admission to non-degree
status is not a matter for departmental review.) The English M.A. Program requirements are summarized on this checklist.
The university grading system for graduate courses is:
A Excellent 4.0
B Good 3.0
C Poor 2.0
F Failure 0.0
[Thesis and selected courses]
Additionally, the following bear upon grading policy:
• Plus and minus grading is optional for faculty. Grading policies are stated on seminar syllabi.
• Graduate students may register for graduate courses using
the “audit” option for elective courses only. These
courses will not count as part of the student’s program of
Under no circumstances may the credit option be changed
from “audit” to “credit” or
" credit” to “audit”.
Students are required to pay for audited courses. Audited
courses cannot be paid for
using any university source of funding.
• A grade of “S” (Satisfactory) or “U” (Unsatisfactory) will be given to
a student for each semester he or she is registered for thesis work before the thesis is completed. A grade of “I” (Incomplete) will be given if, for some reason, the student was unable to achieve the degree of progress anticipated.
• A grade of “NC” (no credit) will be given for comprehensive
continuance and thesis
• Courses in which a student receives an “I” (incomplete)
must be completed before the end of the next regular semester, or the grade
is reported permanently as an “F”.
• Please see the Graduate Catalog for additional details.
All graduate students are required to watch a web-video containing information about the JMU Honor Code and then take a web-based test on the material. This must be completed by the end of the student’s first semester at JMU, or a hold will be placed on the student’s registration. The Honor Code test is administered by the Honor Council.
A graduate student will receive notice of academic warning upon
receiving a grade of “C” in any two graduate courses
or if the student’s grade point average falls below 3.0. This
academic warning will be noted on the student’s transcript. A
student will be dismissed from the degree program, or provisional
status will be revoked, if the student receives an “F” or “U” in
any graduate course or a total of three “C” grades
in his or her graduate program. A student cannot graduate
with a GPA below 3.0.
Changes in the Catalog
A graduate student may elect to follow the catalog in effect at
the time of first registration through to graduation or may request
to change to any new catalog issued prior to the completion of
studies. However, it is The Graduate School
policy that published descriptions of degrees establish only minimum
requirements and that it is the prerogative of each school or department
to make changes in programs at any time. A student is expected
to satisfy any additional departmental regulations approved by
the University’s Commission on Graduate Studies (if required)
and put in effect prior to graduation, regardless of current or
previous catalog content.
The Director of Graduate Studies acts as advisor for all M.A. students
on all academic and administrative matters. Students are
required to meet with the Director toward the middle of their
first semester in the program for discussion of the student’s
progress and performance. Students are also strongly encouraged
to meet with the Director each semester to plan their coursework
for the following semester. Those contemplating
further study at the doctoral level should seek the advice and support
of the Director and of those members of the graduate faculty
whose fields align with the student’s own interests well
in advance of application deadlines. Students who choose
the thesis option will select a thesis
director and two readers from among the graduate faculty. Students should consult
the thesis director for advice about committee selection and
about the thesis generally.
Continuous Graduate Enrollment
All students enrolled in graduate degree programs must enroll each
regular semester for a minimum of one graduate credit hour. This
registration must continue with no breaks from enrollment in
the first graduate program course to graduation. This policy
does not include summer sessions. Students should enroll
in courses relevant to their graduate program to facilitate timely
completion. If it is not possible to do so, however, The
Graduate School has established
a one-credit Continuous Enrollment course, GRAD 597. The
tuition for this course is $50.00. No grade will be assigned
for this course. For more information, please refer to
the Graduate Catalog and the Director of Graduate Studies.
Foreign Language Requirement
Completion of the second year of a college foreign language course or passing an examination demonstrating intermediate competency in a foreign language is required for all students of the Master of Arts degree.
Course Descriptions and Offerings
ENG 501. Professional Seminar in College Composition. 3 credits.
Practical examination of the content and methodology of freshman English (GWRIT 103) for the training of beginning teaching assistants. Required for all beginning teaching assistants.
ENG 512. Special Topics Seminar. 3 credits.
Cross-listed with 400-level courses, for graduate credit. Additional academic work required of graduate students. Registration requires a proposal and permission of the Director of Graduate Studies and the faculty member teaching the course. May be repeated twice for credit when content varies.
ENG 595. Graduate Internship in English. 1 credit.
English graduate student internships. Graduate students identify a prospective employer and work as an intern during the summer, fall or spring semester. Prerequisite: Graduate student status. Credit may not be applied to program requirements.
ENG 600. Research Methods. 3 credits.
Introduction to research and writing in the discipline for beginning graduate students. Advanced training in research methods and citation, in critical analysis and scholarly writing, and in disciplinary history and the workings of the academy. Required for all Master of Arts students in their first semester.
ENG 601. History of Literary Criticism. 3 credits.
Advanced readings in the nature, function and development of literary criticism, from the classics to modernism (from Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus to Marx and Freud).
ENG 602. Contemporary Critical Theory. 3 credits.
Advanced study of the major debates in current critical discourse, covering such topics as formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, Marxism, new historicism, cultural studies, feminist and queer studies, postcolonial and race studies, and post-humanism.
ENG 603. Studies in the History of the English Language. 3 credits.
Social, cultural, political, and grammatical history of the English language, with attention to changing forms of spoken and written language in terms of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics.
ENG 604. Contemporary Linguistics. 3 credits.
Survey of linguistics, with some emphasis on the English language, and of contemporary issues in the application of linguistic theory.
ENG 608. Textuality. 3 credits
A study of material textuality and literary production. Topics may include manuscript and print culture, the History of the Book, bibliography, the history of commercial publishing, periodical studies, graphic novels, historical lexicography, and post-print textual practices. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 610. Studies in Gender and Sexuality. 3 credits.
An examination of literature through the lens of contemporary theories of gender and sexuality. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 612. Topics in Theory and Cultural Studies. 3 credits.
Advanced readings in contemporary critical or linguistic theory or in cultural studies that are focused by topic, period, culture, or theme. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 615. Studies in Medieval Literature. 3 credits.
Medieval literatures in the original or in translation produced between ca. 500-1475 in England, Ireland, Iceland, Scandinavia, the European Continent, and the Middle East. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 620. Studies in Renaissance and Early Modern Literature. 3 credits.
British literature of the Renaissance and Early Modern Periods (1476-1660). Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 630. Studies in Restoration and 18th-Century British Literature. 3 credits.
British literature from ca. 1660 to 1800. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 640. Studies in 19th-Century British Literature. 3 credits.
British literature of the 19th century. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 645. Studies in 20th- and 21st-Century British Literature. 3 credits
British literature of the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 650. Studies in Early American Literature. 3 credits.
American literatures of the colonial and early national periods (16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, through ca. 1820). Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 651. Studies in 19th-Century American Literature. 3 credits.
American literature of the 19th century. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 656. Studies in Latin American Literature. 3 credits.
Works by Latin American writers in translation. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. Although the majority of these writers will be Spanish-speakers, there may also be some coverage of Brazilian literature. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 662. Studies in 20th- and 21st-Century Literature of the United States. 3 credits.
American literature of the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 664. Studies in Drama. 3 credits.
Dramatic literature and performance, broadly construed. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 666. Studies in Film and Media. 3 credits.
Advanced study of mass media, such as film, broadcast television and radio, and digital media. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 668. Studies in African Literature. 3 credits.
Literatures of Africa in translation. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 671. Studies in South Asian Literature. 3 credits.
Non-U.S., non-British literature in English or in translation. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 672. Studies in African-American Literature. 3 credits.
African-American literature of the 20th and 21st century in the context of the cultural and intellectual currents of the period. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 673. Studies in Caribbean Literature. 3 credits.
Advanced study of the literary achievement of novelists, poets and dramatists of the Caribbean, with emphasis on diverse theoretical and historical approaches. Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.
ENG 675. Reading and Research. 3 credits.
Supervised reading and research in a particular topic or field. Admission by permission of the Director of Graduate Studies. May not be repeated.
ENG 698. Comprehensive Continuance. 1 credit.
Continued preparation for the comprehensive examinations. May be repeated as needed.
ENG 699. Thesis Continuance. 2 credits.
Continued study, research and writing for the thesis. May be repeated as needed.
ENG 700. Thesis Research. 6 credits.
Six credits taken over two consecutive semesters. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis.
The Department of English offers limited travel funding
to graduate students who have had a paper accepted for presentation
at an academic conference. Availability of funding and
amount, however, depend upon the budget in any given year. Interested
students should first see the Director of Graduate Studies. If funds
are available, a travel authorization must be completed prior
to travel. See the Administrative Assistant for
the Department of English for assistance with travel authorizations.
Center for Instructional Technology (CIT)
JMU Computing Helpdesk
JMU Computing Support
JMU LIbraries Media Resources
(from the late classical period to ca. 1500) -- Literatures: Anglo-Saxon
(Old English); Old Norse/Icelandic (Viking romances, sagas, Eddic
poetry); Old Irish; Arthurian & Middle English romance; Late
Medieval literature (Chaucer, Langland, the Pearl-Poet, etc.);
Apocryphal Biblical narrative and patristic commentary; Medieval conversion narratives and theories of
religious conversion; Bibliographical and Textual Criticism: Manuscript
studies, especially the editing of manuscripts; History of the
Book; editorial theory, practice and method; History of British
Current Research: Anglo-Saxon lexicography and the recovery of the Anglo-Saxon language and literature in 19th century England.
Cash, Jean W. (Emerita Faculty)
Generalist in literature of the United states, with
special emphasis on the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Canonical
Literatures: 19th century: Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne,
Emerson and Thoreau, Whitman, and Dickinson; Late 19th century
and early 20th: Henry James; 20th century: Hemingway and Fitzgerald,
Ralph Ellison and Zora Neal Hurston, Sylvia Plath; Southern
Literature: Early 20th century writers: William Faulkner, The Fugitives and
Agrarians (John Crowe Ransom, Donald Davidson, Allen Tate, Robert
Penn Warren, Andrew Lytle); Mid-20th century
O’Connor, William Styron, Walker Percy, Harry Crews, Ellen
Douglas, Ernest Gaines; Contemporary Southern writers: Larry Brown,
Lee Smith, Gail Godwin, Josephine Humphreys, Dorothy Allison, Tim
Gautreaux, Chris Offutt, Tim McLaurin, Steve Yarbrough; Theory:
Thoroughly grounded in Formalist criticism and have a “smattering”of
knowledge in the new historicism, psychoanalytic, and feminist
criticism; Writing: The teaching of expository writing and traditional
Current Research: Researching and writing
a biography of Mississippi writer, Larry Brown
British Romantic Literature with emphasis on poetry and political philosophy. Secondary Fields include Environmental and Animal Studies, Gothic Literature, Critical Theory, and Ethics and Moral Philosophy.
Cote, Sharon A.
Linguistics and Speculative Fiction
Research: Discourse Modeling; Interrelationships between Sentential
Syntax/Semantics and Discourse; Differences Between Written and
Spoken Language; Use of cue words in discourse of normal and aphasic
speakers; Pragmatics; Functions of Syntax
Facknitz, Mark A.R.
Twentieth-century British and American, Creative non-fiction,
Fiction, Mixed media creative work, History of the novel (English,
American, or comp lit.), American short story, Modernism, Literary
Theory, Aesthetics, Interdisciplinary work, Literature and war,
esp. WWI and Vietnam, Trauma studies, Commemoration; Major Authors:
British: William Blake, William Butler Yates, Shelley, Carlyle,
Joseph Conrad, Ford, Rebecca West; WWI poets, novelists, and memoirists;
W.H. Auden, Anthony Powell, Henry Green, Zadie Smith; Americans:
Henry Adams, John Dos Passos, Wallace Stevens, Willa Cather, Eugene
O’Neill, Arthur Miller, Ray Carver, and Annie Dillard
20th Century U.S.-Mexico Border Literature, Latina/o Literature, Contemporary American Literature, Book History and Textuality Studies
Shakespeare, Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama, film, psychoanalytic
theory, Modern Drama; Bibliography and Research Methods; Directing
work: public readings at the Blackfriars Theatre, Staunton, VA.
Other: Currently serving as Second Vice President of the College
English Association and on the Education and Research Committee
at the American Shakespeare Center.
Victorian literature; twentieth-century British literature; Scottish literature; the novel; women's literature; literature and death; feminist theory; gender studies.
Gabbin, Joanne V.
Director: Furious Flower
Eighteenth-Century British Drama and Fiction, Women's Fiction, Queer Studies, Gender Studies, Gender and sexuality issues; violence by and against women; widow-figures and other female outliers in 18th-century British literature.
American Fiction, 1865-1945; popular literary genres (esp. hard-boiled crime and detective fiction, dime novels, and westerns); American periodical culture; silent films and film history; popular film genres (western, detective/noir, horror, etc.); American language and slang; literature and the American Left; jazz and literature; early sound recording history and technology.
Colonial and nineteenth-century American literature,
American Studies, American women writers.
Research Areas: Coming
Into Communion: Pastoral Dialogues in Colonial New England; recent
articles on Harriet Beecher Stowe and historical fiction.
Johnson, Bruce A.
17th-century British, English Reformation and Renaissance,
and 20th-century German literatures
Creative writing/poetry, poetic craft and creativity,
literary nonfiction, contemporary poetry, literature and the environment
(or the ecological imagination in literature).
Creative writing, fiction
South Asian Literature—Ancient, Medieval, and Modern; Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures; Postcolonial Theory; Literature and Nationalism; Women’s Writing; Feminist Theory; Third World Feminisms; Gender Studies
Current Research: Literature and Partition; the British Raj and Women; Literature of Migration.
Osotsi, Ramenga M.
African literature, oral literature
British Romantic literature
English literature, 1475-1660, with emphasis on the English Renaissance and Reformation, Shakespeare, Tudor non-dramatic literature, and the History of the Book.
Secondary Fields include late-Medieval literature, manuscript studies, and iconography.
Current Research: Currently completing a monograph titled Henry VIII and the Language of Polemic in Early Modern England.
Rebhorn, Matthew E.
American Literature (Beginnings to 1930) and American
Drama; Melodrama; The Novel; Literary Theory and Criticism; Critical
Race Theory; Gender Theory; The Frontier/Borderlands Studies; American
Popular Culture; and Cultural History.
American Literature, Women's Literature, Feminist Theory,
and Theories of The Body
Areas of Research Interest: Abortion,
Reproductive Rights, and Motherhood; Cultural Studies and the Body
as applied to women's literature and to representations of women's
bodies in popular culture, including cosmetic surgery and abortion;
Feminist Theory, including activism, third wave feminism, masculinity
studies, and studies of the intersections of race/ethnicity, nationality,
class, gender and sexuality; Critical Race Studies, including constructions
of whiteness and anti-racist action.
Modern British and Irish Literature, Modernism, Irish Studies, Women's Literature, Intimacy Studies; Major Authors: Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, and Patrick Hamilton.
Areas of Secondary Expertise include Gender Studies, Feminist Theory, Film Studies, Narrative Theory, The Novel, Literary Theory and Criticism.
Degree Completion Requirements
Application for Graduation
You must be in "good standing" and maintain a grade point
average of at least 3.0 to graduate. During the term immediately prior to graduation, consult the degree requirements checklist and apply for graduation at The Graduate School's online forms page. Alternatively, you may pickup a Graduation Packet from The Graduate School.
You must submit your Application for a Graduate
Degree form by the dates indicated in the packet. No credit for
University work may be given for a diploma, teacher's license,
or transfer until all debts to JMU have been paid (excluding student
Students are responsible for notifying both the Director of Graduate Studies and The Graduate School
when they plan to graduate. Students
are also responsible for consulting their advisors or The Graduate School regarding deadlines for
graduation. The Application for Graduate Degree form must
be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Head. Students are
responsible for obtaining all necessary signatures to complete
the Application for Graduate Degree in a timely manner.
Note: Students must complete all the conditions
of the original admission in their degree program, e.g. conditional
admission, at least one semester before they are scheduled to graduate,
before they will be permitted to graduate. Only six hours
of 501 workshop courses approved for inclusion in a graduate program
may be applied toward a degree. If students plan to use transfer
credits to fulfill degree requirements, these credits, along with
official transcripts showing the credits and the transfer credit
form, must appear on the Application for a
Graduate Degree form
and be forwarded to The Graduate School.
Students are expected to attend graduation exercises. If you are
unable to attend, you must notify the Office of Registration
and Records at least 21 days before commencement.