MA/MS in English Requirements
Applicants will be admitted to the English degree for one of two specializations: Literature and Writing (30-33 credits) or Technical Writing (33 credits).
Literature and Writing
The graduate specialization in Literature and Writing offers an MA or MS in English to students who wish to do advanced work in the fields of literary criticism, composition, rhetoric, and creative writing. The aim is to professionalize students, helping them to become scholars and teachers of English. While any student having a strong undergraduate education in English, along with a desire to pursue that education further, is welcome to pursue the Literature and Writing specialization, the specialization does cater most directly to future PhD students in English, future two-year college instructors, and secondary educators. Under the guidance of a faculty committee, students are encouraged to write a thesis as the culmination of their studies. With approval, this thesis may consist of a creative writing work with a critical reflective essay. Students not wishing to write a thesis may complete the Plan C option by taking 33 credits of coursework.
In both seminars and independent study with faculty, Literature and Writing students consider literary and nonliterary texts, learning not only how to interpret such texts, but also how to produce them. The course of study thus includes both theory and practice: students take part in the reading and the writing of literature, criticism, essays, and arguments.
Although most of their courses will be completed within the Literature and Writing curriculum, students may also pursue their interests by taking some courses in the department’s other master’s programs (American Studies, Folklore, and Technical Writing), as well as doctoral courses in the Theory and Practice of Professional Communication PhD program. Permission of the Director of Graduate Studies in English is required. Coursework may include some online courses; however, Literature and Writing is an on-campus specialization and may not be completed by taking only online classes.
Technical Writing (online)
The graduate specialization in Technical Writing is designed for students who already have some training and/or experience as practitioners of technical writing. It is taught entirely online, via the Internet, and aims to prepare students to enter or reenter nonacademic workplaces, not just as practitioners, but also as developers and managers of technical documents. When they graduate, students will be qualified to determine and defend writing policy and practices in their workplaces.
To prepare students for these leadership roles, the Technical Writing specialization provides them with a strong theoretical understanding of their profession. In their online graduate seminars, students will read widely in research and theory relating to workplace writing practices. They will critically examine both the theories and the practices, and they will explore ways in which each can enhance the other. They will also learn how to manage teams of writers, and they will explore ethical issues in the profession. The specialization balances the theoretical training with opportunities for students to improve their own practical skills as technical writers, learning how to apply theory and current technology to the production of a variety of technical documents. This practical training will include multimedia presentations and graphic design.
The Technical Writing specialization is designed primarily for nontraditional students—working professional writers who want to enhance their credentials and build a strong theoretical understanding of their profession. However, it may also accept some traditional students who have just finished their undergraduate studies, provided they have some practical experience.
Students in Technical Writing must complete 33 credits under the Plan C option. Courses may be taken in any sequence. Students in this specialization pursue the MS degree.