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Degree Offered

Master of Arts (M.A.) in English

‘Certainly the Age of Writing is the most miraculous of all things man has devised.’

–Thomas Carlyle


The English department emphasizes preparation for Ph.D. work and advanced training both for secondary education teachers and those for whom an M.A. in English would enhance career options. We welcome students who, for whatever reasons, are eager to read literature on an advanced level, who enjoy research and writing, and who appreciate the responsibilities and pleasures of pursuing one's intellectual goals within an academic community.

The goals of the English M.A. program are to: 

  • To excite and maintain in students a permanent desire for an expanded knowledge and understanding of the world through the study of diverse authors and genres.
  • To help students to discover and appreciate the English language, and to learn how richly language clothes our responses to the world.
  • To actively promote, through formal study, both the self-examination and the imaginative understanding that are among the central values of advanced study in the humanities.
  • To encourage in post-baccalaureate students a broader, more formal inquiry into specific authors and movements in both western and non-western literatures, and to teach them by example the professional practices of reading and interpretation.
  • To cultivate the practical talents gained by the study of literature: the ability to recognize the functions of analysis and synthesis in one's professional life, to construct an argument, to think critically, to write efficiently, clearly, and gracefully, to develop confidence in the validity of one's judgments about many kinds of writing, and to learn to see the interstices as well as the architectural whole in widely different encounters with the written word.
  • To stimulate the kind of intellectual self-scrutiny and the passion for reading that will lead to successful work on the doctoral level, and to help students gain admittance into excellent Ph.D. programs throughout the country.
  • To provide an opportunity for qualified students who are considering teaching as a career to work with faculty in large sections of sophomore literature classes or to teach their own first-year composition class through the awarding of graduate and teaching assistantships.
  • To foster in those who are interested in pursuing careers in writing and editing, politics, business, nonprofit work or other less obviously English-related fields the kinds of attention and analysis that are concomitant with the formal study of vastly different kinds of writing fiction, poetry and drama, argumentation and analysis, opinion, review essays, and creative nonfiction.
  • To both broaden and deepen the needed practical knowledge of the fields of writing, literature and literary history for future English teachers in high schools, business schools and community colleges.
  • To offer career teachers of English a place to improve their knowledge of these fields and rejuvenate their commitment to the study and teaching of literature.
  • To enhance the professional opportunities of career teachers of English through advanced study.
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