Jun 21, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

English, MA

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Degree Requirements

Requirements for the MA degree in English include the satisfactory completion of 30 credits of approved course work, including completion of a final project essay or exam, each of which involves at least a semester’s work under faculty direction (3 cr.) or, with permission, a master’s thesis (6 cr.).

The 30 credits may be earned in graduate English seminars, in writing workshops, in the Graduate English Colloquium (ENGL 609 Graduate English Colloquium ), in the Final Projects courses (ENGL 691 Final Project in Composition  for composition; ENGL 692 Final Project in Creative Writing  for creative writing; ENGL 693 Final Project in Literature  for literature), by completing a Master’s Thesis in any of the three concentrations (ENGL 699 Master of Art Thesis ), in Independent Study (ENGL 696 Independent Study ), in the Seminar for Tutors (ENGL 459 Seminar for Tutors ), or in the Intern Seminar (ENGL 698 Intern Seminar ).

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.

Admission Requirements

Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate studies programs in the “Admissions ” section of this publication.

The English Graduate Committee will recommend full admission for those applicants who present evidence of their ability and appropriate preparation to do graduate work with distinction. Such evidence must include:

  1. A distinguished undergraduate record in advanced undergraduate English courses. An undergraduate major in English is preferred.
  2. Three substantive and detailed recommendations, at least two from former teachers familiar with the applicant’s most recent academic work.
  3. An essay of at least 1,200 words by the applicant concerning his or her intellectual, professional, and personal reasons for desiring to pursue the advanced study of English. The essay should give a specific account of the applicant’s past studies and projects and an explanation of the applicant’s major fields or subjects of interest in the field. This essay is of great importance and is evaluated as a demonstration of ability in writing and thinking about literary issues. It constitutes the second part of the statement of interests and intent described in the “Graduate Admissions Application Instructions” section of the graduate application (see the section on additional instructions for all applicants).
  4. A critical essay written in the last four years, at least ten pages in length, demonstrating the applicant’s ability to read and write critically about literary texts. Students interested in the creative writing concentration should include approximately 6 poems or 2 short stories along with their critical essay, but the creative writing sample may not substitute for the critical essay, which is required.
  5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (Verbal, Quantitative, and Literature in English) are not required, but are recommended, especially in cases where the undergraduate record is unusual or uneven, or if the undergraduate major is not English.

Otherwise excellent candidates who appear not quite prepared to meet one or more of the above requirements may be admitted provisionally on completion of additional English courses at the advanced undergraduate level, or may be asked to enroll as non-degree students in one or two graduate courses before being reviewed for full admission. Such students should be aware that, if they are later admitted to the degree program, only 6 credits taken as a non-degree student at UMass Boston may count toward the degree.

The department welcomes applications from in-service secondary English teachers.

Some graduate teaching assistantships are available each year. Applications for assistantships are due the third week of April for the following academic year.

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