Master of Arts in English

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The MA in English, Creative Writing and Literature tracks, introduces graduate students to advanced study in the art of language. Courses provide an opportunity for deep and sustained analysis of a variety of literary texts, emphasizing advanced critical and theoretical approaches. The program encourages students to work closely with faculty mentors and culminates in a substantial (and potentially publishable) independent project focusing on an area of the student’s interest and emerging expertise. Graduate students additionally have the opportunity to meet with nationally and internationally recognized authors through Brockport's visiting writers series, The Writers Forum.

For accepted students exhibiting superior promise, the department has a limited number of assistantships available that provide a stipend and a tuition scholarship for up to nine graduate credits per semester. They are awarded on a competitive basis with an April 15 application deadline. Further information on assistantships may be obtained from The Center for Graduate Studies.

Admission to the Program

Applicants for matriculation in the Master of Arts in English program must submit a completed application. Application materials are available online. The application includes the following:

  1. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and prior graduate work.
  2. Three letters of recommendation from persons in a position to assess the potential for significant academic achievement.
  3. Applicants for the Creative Writing track must submit a sample of their poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction of no more than 20 pages in length. Applicants for the Literature track must submit a nonfiction writing sample of no more than 8-10 pages in length.

Normally, an undergraduate major in English with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 "B" is required. For further information, contact the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English.

Program Requirements

Students must meet the College's standards for graduate study.

Students choose one of two tracks for the Master of Arts in English: Literature or Creative Writing. Each is a 36-credit program with distribution of some literature courses.

Note: no course may meet more than one requirement.

Literature Track (36 credits)

  • ENG 600 Introduction to Graduate Study
  • ENG 690 Advanced Writing in the Discipline*
  • ENG 697 Advanced Project in Literature**

*Students must have completed at least 12 credits before enrolling in ENG 690.

**A GPA of 3.0 and grade of "B-" or higher in ENG 690 is required to enroll in ENG 697.

***Up to 6 graduate credits may be taken outside the English department with approval of department.

All Literature track candidates must complete ENG 690 Advanced Writing in the Discipline, followed by ENG 697 Advanced Project. In these two courses, a seminar paper will be substantially revised. The advanced project is typically an article-length study (30-40 pages), expertly researched and sufficiently complex, that demonstrates mastery of the relevant primary and secondary literature as well as an ability to write in accordance with professional disciplinary standards. The outcome of ENG 697 will be an article-quality paper, approved by a director, a second reader, and the Graduate Committee.

Creative Writing Track (36 credits)

  • ENG 603 Seminar in Creative Writing
  • ENG 595 Writer's Craft
  • Literature Electives (9 credits)
  • English Electives (6 credits)
  • ENG 698 Creative Thesis

The track culminates in a creative thesis of 50-60 pages -- typically a collection of poems or short prose pieces accompanied by a critical introduction. The thesis should include the best of the work that has come through the workshops, revised, and brought to a finished state. A thesis proposal must be approved by a director who has agreed to work with the student, and by two readers selected in consultation with the director. The thesis is then written under the guidance of the director, approved by the readers, and recommended to the Graduate Committee.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, all students will be able to:

  1. Construct an advanced scholarly argument about a subject situated within at least one period of English Literature
  2. Construct an advanced scholarly argument about a subject situated within at least one period of American literature
  3. Construct an advanced scholarly argument about a subject situated within at least one area of World literature

Literature Track students will be able to:

  1. Participate in the literary-critical conversation
  2. Practice standards and techniques of advanced academic research and writing
  3. Discuss and respond appropriately to questions about their advanced project argument.

Creative Writing Track students will be able to:

  1. Employ professional standards in constructive critical commentary on peer writing and in revising their own work in required workshop courses
  2. Practice forms and techniques in the genres of poetry and prose.
  3. Articulate the place of their own work in contemporary literary practices