The M.A. program in English equips students with the skills to engage with, interpret, and analyze multiple forms of texts as they create original forms of scholarship, theory, pedagogy, and creative and professional writing. The graduate faculty in English prepare graduate students whose knowledge of texts and their languages informs their intellectual and ethical understanding, and whose critical thinking and communication skills (in digital as well as print formats) allow them to contribute to their regional, national, and international communities in a variety of careers and positions.
For regular admission to the program, a student must present an undergraduate major in English or equivalent coursework in English (3.20 GPA) from an accredited institution, three letters of recommendation from sources qualified to address the candidate’s specific disciplinary strengths, and a persuasive narrative statement that articulates the candidate’s reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in English. Applicants should also demonstrate proficiency by achieving a minimum score of 153 on the verbal portion of the GRE and 4.5 on the GRE analytical writing test. Applicants to the M.A. in English with an overall or major GPA of 3.5 and above in a B.A. program in English (completed in the last 10 years) are exempt from the GRE requirement. All decisions on admission will be made by the Head of Graduate Studies in consultation, as needed, with members of the graduate program committee, subject to final administrative approval.
Students accepted into the program may choose from among the following three degree options:
Plan I (Thesis Option) consists of 30 credit hours, of which 27 are course work and 3 are thesis (ENGL 6399). Within the 27 hours of course work (9 courses), a minimum of 7 courses (21 hours) or 80% of the coursework must be at the 6000-level. The 3 hours of thesis work cannot be used to satisfy this requirement for work at the 6000 level. Students on the thesis track must register for thesis hours (ENGL 6399) in the semester(s) they prepare and submit the thesis project. A minimum of 24 hours of the coursework must be in English, and students wishing to use courses from other disciplines for credit toward the degree must get approval from the Head of Graduate Studies in English. Students may meet the thesis requirement by either writing a scholarly work (a minimum of 65 pages in length) or a creative writing work (a collection of poems, creative nonfiction, or prose that includes a critical and/or theoretical introduction). The thesis must be approved by the student’s thesis committee, composed of the student’s major professor and two other graduate faculty readers.
Plan II (Non-Thesis Option) consists of 36 credit hours (12 courses), of which a minimum of 30 hours must be in English. Students in this plan must also get approval from the Head of Graduate Studies in English to take courses outside the department. Within the 36 hours of coursework, a minimum of 9 courses (27 hours) or 80% of the coursework must be at the 6000 level.
Plan III (Capstone Option) consists of 30 hours of coursework (10 courses). A minimum of 27 hours (9 courses) must be in English, and 21 credit hours (7 courses) or 80% of the coursework must be at the 6000 level. In addition, students will complete a capstone project over the course of one of their final two semesters of study. Critical Projects should be approximately 20-35 pages, engage in original scholarly research, and demonstrate advanced mastery of pertinent critical assumptions, methodologies, and practices in the discipline. The parameters of creative projects are comparable to those of the critical project but are determined by the student’s project director in accordance with the genre in which the student is writing. Critical and creative projects must be defended and approved by the student’s capstone committee, composed of the student’s major professor and two other graduate faculty readers.
Upon completion of all course work, the candidate for the M.A. under all options listed above must pass a comprehensive oral exam based on three reading lists in the areas of British literature, American literature, and a Specialty. All reading lists must be agreed upon by the candidate and faculty examiner for each area. This oral examination may be retaken once. For students completing the thesis and capstone options, a separate oral defense of the thesis or capstone is also required. See the Head of Graduate Studies in English for details about the comprehensive oral examination required for all three options and for the oral defense required for the thesis and capstone options.
Under all three plans, students must get the approval of the Head of Graduate Studies for their course selections. See the Head of Graduate Studies for required advisement before registering for classes each term.
Under all three plans, a reading knowledge of one foreign language (ordinarily Latin, French, German, or Spanish) is required. One may meet this requirement by one of the following: 1) completing a language course numbered 2002 with a grade of B or better during the course of study (no course or courses in a foreign language will count toward the required number of hours for the degree); 2) presenting an undergraduate transcript that indicates completion of a language course numbered 2002 (or its equivalent) with a grade of B or better within five years of the time the student enters the program; or 3) passing a standardized test administered by the testing office and the International Languages and Cultures Program. The M.A. in English does not accept any Computer Science and Sociology courses and/or tests to complete the foreign language requirement.
Students who have taken an ENGL 4XXX course as an undergraduate at West Georgia cannot receive credit toward the M.A. degree in English for the concurrent ENGL 5XXX course unless the student and/or instructor can provide evidence that the content of the course (readings, topics, etc.) is significantly different than when he/she took it as an ENGL 4XXX course.
Students may repeat specific 5000 and 6000-level courses for credit, if the course covers a different subject or period (e.g. ENGL 6105: Seminar in British Literature I, Medieval Literature and ENGL 6105: Seminar in British Literature I). Course repeats do not erase previous grades under the same course number; both grades enter into the calculation of the overall GPA.