May 18, 2024  
2020-21 Graduate Catalog 
2020-21 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, M.A.

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Rhonda L. McDaniel, Program Director
(615) 898-5285

The Department of English  offers the Master of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy.

Graduate study in English is primarily an engagement in the deep and intense study of literature and language, theory, and writing, undertaken for the special pleasure in knowledge and understanding of the world and its semiotic systems that such studies bring. It also provides preparation and training for careers within and without the academy.

The Master of Arts in English curriculum allows students to explore standard areas of literary study (British, American, and Anglophone) as well as topics related to Composition and Rhetoric, Film Studies, Folklore, Linguistics, and Children’s and Young Adult Literature. The courses are designed as seminars, and graduate students may expect highly individualized mentoring from the graduate faculty.

Please see the undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Candidates will be expected to have earned 15 hours of coursework at the 2000 level or above in English or in related fields when that coursework includes a significant component of literature or writing.

Admissions decisions are based on the department’s judgment of the applicant’s capacity, suitability, and preparation for graduate study. Admission to graduate study is not automatically guaranteed by meeting minimum admission requirements.

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Those seeking teaching assistantships must apply by February 1 for the following Fall semester. All other applications for Summer/Fall admission must be complete by March 1. Applications for Spring admission must be complete by October 1. All application materials, including the assistantship application, should be submitted directly to the College of Graduate Studies through

Applicant must

  1. submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at Once this initial application has been accepted, the applicant will receive directions on how to enter the graduate portal to be able to submit other materials.
  2. submit three letters of recommendation from professors or professionals that address the applicant’s potential to successfully complete an M.A. program in English;
  3. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (English subject test optional);
  4. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  5. submit a writing example of 2,000 to 5,000 words;
  6. submit a 500-word statement of purpose outlining academic interests and professional goals.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in English requires completion of a minimum of 30 semester hours (thesis) or 33 semester hours (directed portfolio).

Candidate must

  1. successfully complete a directed portfolio (ENGL 6913 ) if in the non-thesis option;
  2. successfully complete and defend a thesis (ENGL 6640 ) if in the thesis option.

Curriculum: English

All students are required to take ENGL 6001 . Depending on interests, students may choose guided course recommendations in literary studies, language and writing studies, teaching writing and literature, or popular culture/culture studies, or pursue a self-directed selection of courses. Students should consult with the graduate program advisor to select courses suitable for their interests.

The following illustrates the minimum coursework requirements.

Thesis Option (30 hours)

Non-thesis Option (33 hours)

Graduate Assistant Requirements

Graduate teaching assistants are required to take ENGL 6821 - Seminar in Teaching Composition  in their first year of the program.

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