Requirements for Concentrations
Composition: At least four seminars related to composition; completion of a final project in composition.
Literature: At least five courses emphasizing literature, including at least one literature course in which the majority of the texts studied were written before 1850; completion of a final project in literature.
Creative writing: At least four courses emphasizing creative writing and at least three additional courses emphasizing only literature; completion of a final project in creative writing. (The literature course requirement may be modified—with the permission of the director of creative writing and the director of the graduate program—for students with strong backgrounds in literature who have an interest in preparing themselves to teach composition as well as creative writing.)
By petition, up to 6 graduate credits taken at another university and up to 6 taken at UMass Boston as a non-degree student may be transferred into the program. For further details and restrictions, see the “General Academic Regulations: Transfer Credit” section of this publication.
As a required final project, students typically complete the 3-credit final essay or exam; with permission from the program director, a student may complete the 6-credit Master’s Thesis.
The 3-credit final project is intended to provide culminating evidence of the graduate student’s mastery of subject matter and methodology, taking the form of an article-length paper, a pedagogy and curriculum project, or a comprehensive written examination of at least three hours. Concentrators in composition undertake an appropriate research and writing project or prepare for an exam through ENGL 691 . Concentrators in creative writing prepare a creative project through ENGL 692 . Concentrators in literature may undertake a final paper or examination through ENGL 693 . In all cases, students must propose their project in detail and have it approved by their faculty project supervisor and by the graduate program director the semester before the project is due.
The literature or composition concentrator may choose either the final project or the examination option. Under the first option, the student submits a paper (critical, interpretive, or pedagogical) of approximately 30 pages, with the written approval of a faculty supervisor. The paper may or may not be based on a course paper, should deal with a substantial body of material (primary and secondary), and should include an annotated bibliography of works used.
Under the second option, the student works with his or her project supervisor to compile a reading list, which must then be approved by an exam committee. The three-hour exam, which covers both primary and secondary material on the topic, is prepared by that committee.
The Master’s Thesis in the English MA Program (6 credits) may, with permission from the program director, be undertaken in any of the three concentrations and consists (for literature or composition concentrators) of a substantial analytical paper of approximately 60 pages, (for creative writing concentrators) of a manuscript of between 60 and 110 pages, accompanied by a related analytical paper of 15 to 20 pages. In all cases, a thesis proposal is required and must be approved by the student’s thesis director, the graduate program director, and, as appropriate, the director of creative writing. The Master’s Thesis requires a defense in front of the student’s thesis committee and is open to the public. Students choosing to undertake the Master’s Thesis should have the project well under way the semester before the project is due.