2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jun 14, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, MA

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Director of Graduate Studies, 401 Hall of Languages, 315-443-2174


Crystal Bartolovich, Dorri Beam, Dympna Callaghan, Jonathan Dee, Susan Edmunds, Carol W.N. Fadda, Chris Forster, Ken Frieden, Mike Goode, Roger Hallas, Chris Hanson, Coran Klaver, Erin S. Mackie, Patricia Roylance, George Saunders, Will Scheibel, Stephanie Shirilan, Scott Stevens, Harvey Teres, Tony Tiongson, Silvio Torres-Saillant,

The Department of English offers a range of graduate programs: the M.A. in English, the M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and the Ph.D. in English. The Department welcomes students who plan to become writers and scholar/teachers, and it makes a serious effort to tailor its programs to each student’s interests. Classes are small, usually from 5 to 15 students, and there is ample opportunity for independent study and supervised research.

One of the Department’s greatest strengths is its faculty, which includes distinguished scholar- teachers and internationally known writers.

The graduate programs in English ask students to attain some coverage of literary periods, genres, and major authors, while also devoting substantial attention to those modes of theoretical inquiry that have disrupted and enlivened the study of literature in recent years. To that end our current course offerings represent both traditional approaches to English and important work in contemporary theory and cultural studies.

For more information about our graduate programs, degree and program requirements, course offerings, and specific application deadline dates, visit our department web site at http://english.syr.edu/

Student Learning Outcomes

1. An ability to work independently, including a capacity to generate research questions and to revise their own writing

2. An ability to conduct original research using primary and secondary materials

3. An ability to produce sustained article-length logical arguments about literature, film, and other cultural texts, and as a culminating exercise, to select three such essays for presentation in a portfolio connected by a common theme

4. An ability to teach composition and research writing to undergraduates, and to conduct one-on-one tutoring sessions in a Writing Center

5. Basic familiarity with norms and expectations concerning publication, conference presentation and other aspects of professional life

M.A. in English

This master’s degree is seen as a step toward the doctorate; therefore the department welcomes applicants who wish to go on to the Ph.D. Applicants should have a strong undergraduate background, if not a major, in English. In their intellectual statements on the application for graduate study, students should define their intellectual projects and state their reasons for pursuing an advanced degree.

The Department has particular strengths in early modern literature, 18th and 19th-century British studies, 19th and 20th-century American literature and culture, and film, but includes other areas as well. The faculty all share a strong interest in literary history and forms, critical theory, and cultural studies. Four semesters are usually required to complete the M.A. Approximately four students are admitted each year.


The minimum requirement for the degree is 30 credits of coursework in English (ENG 630 /730) and successful completion of the dossier. ENG 631  is a required part of the 30 credits. The 30 credits of coursework required for the degree must be taken in English at the 630 and 730 level and must include three 730-level courses. Students may take additional courses in English or in other departments above and beyond the minimum credits required for the degree.

Graduate Awards

Teaching assistantships include tuition scholarships for nine credits per semester (plus six credits in the summer) as well as a stipend of $17,500. New teaching assistants at the M.A. level are assigned to courses offered by the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition. Teaching assistants have full responsibility for three sections a year, are expected to attend regular staff meetings and workshops, and participate in a coordinating group. There is also an ongoing mentorship and review of each teaching assistant’s performance as a teacher. New teaching assistants take a teaching practicum closely related to their classroom duties.

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