I. Overview

The Master of Arts Programs in English serve the personal and professional needs of various students: those currently teaching or intending to teach high school; those intending to teach at the community college level; those anticipating doctoral studies; and those simply interested in the personal growth that advanced studies in English provide.

II. Admission

Application forms and program information may be obtained from the Graduate School. Documents should be submitted to the Graduate School for processing. Applications can be completed via the Internet.

The applicant must also submit to the English department two letters of recommendation from former instructors or others who can comment on the applicant's ability to succeed in graduate school. The applicant must submit a 5 to 10 page writing sample. (A critical or analytical paper written for an undergraduate class would serve as an appropriate sample.)

Applicants with a B.A. in English and a 3.0 GPA can be admitted as fully classified students. Applicants with non-English BAs or a GPA below 3.0 may have to submit scores for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE); in which case, program admission would require a score of 500 on the Verbal Test. Students not admitted to the University Graduate School or English graduate program may NOT apply courses taken through University Extension to MA degrees.

Questions about recommenders or other appropriate writing samples should be directed to the following:

  • Dr. Tony Perrello, tperrello@csustan.edu, Coordinator of the MA in English
  • Dr. Stephanie Paterson, spaterson@csustan.edu, Coordinator of the MA in Writing Studies
  • Dr. Mirta Maldonado-Valentin, mvalentin1@csustan.edu, Coordinator of the TESOL concentration

Requirements for Admission to the MA-English and MA-Writing Studies Programs

In addition to fulfilling all requirements for admission to the University, applicants to the MA-English and MA-Writing Studies Programs normally should have a BA degree in English. Those who do not may be required to complete additional prerequisite coursework.

III. Advising

Once admitted to the graduate program, students should consult the appropriate Coordinator who serves as the student's advisor and will assist students in determining appropriate plans of study. 

IV. Undergraduate and transfer units in the MA program

A maximum of six units of approved post-baccalaureate upper-division undergraduate studies may be applied to the MA-Writing Studies and TESOL concentration. Three units may be applied to the MA-English.

Students taking any upper-division undergraduate class must identify themselves as graduate students to the instructor of the undergraduate class. For students in either MA program, the Department requires that they do additional work comparable to that of an ordinary graduate seminar; they may NOT choose to do less work and take the class for undergraduate credit.

Ordinarily only six units of graduate credit may be transferred from another institution. The English Graduate Committee will determine which transfer units will be accepted toward the degree at Stanislaus State.

V. Classification Status

Students with a BA in English, at least a 3.0 GPA, two letters of recommendation, and a 5-10-page writing sample may be admitted to the program as fully classified students. Some non-English BAs may be admitted as fully classified as well, depending on their major, experience, and writing. No more than nine units earned as a Post baccalaureate Unclassified student shall apply to the MA degree.

VI. General Requirements For Both Master's Degree Programs

The following requirements describe the minimum of prerequisites and courses that candidates must complete to receive the MA degree. To develop historical, theoretical, and methodological expertise in the field, students are encouraged to take courses and seminars in a variety of areas.

To receive an MA in English, a student must

  1. complete at least 30 units;
  2. maintain a grade-point average of at least 3.0 in all units applicable to the degree program, with no grade lower than a B- in any course;
  3. pass a culminating experience (comprehensive exit examinations, thesis, or advanced project);
  4. in the case of an advanced project or thesis, present an oral defense.

VII. Dual MA Degrees

Interested in both? You can do both! Here’s the process:

A student may earn both the Literature MA and the Writing Studies MA by taking at least 45 units. The culminating experience will include an examination in Literature and an exam, project, or thesis for Writing Studies, administered as is customary for each particular program.

The degree requirements for this dual concentration comprise:

  1. MA-WS core courses: 21-22 units: 5001, 5010, 5020, 5870, 5894, 5941 (core), 3-6 units of electives
  2. MA-LIT core courses: 21-24 units: 5000, 15-21 units of 5000-level Lit seminars (core), 0-6 units of electives
  3. LIT thesis or Writing Studies project, with topic that encompasses both areas; 3-6 units of Thesis or Advanced Project may substitute for 3 elective units from each program

VIII. Mentorship and Advisory Committee 

Writing Studies students should consult the WS Graduate Coordinator about the formation of an appropriate two-person graduate Advisory Committee. Students should form that committee no later than one semester before they take the comprehensive examination or begin the prospectus for an advanced project. The Committee is responsible for administering comprehensive examinations and for reading and evaluating the thesis or advanced project. To allow time for Advisory Committee members to read theses or advanced projects, students must turn in these materials at least one month before the expected graduation date.

Literature students only form an Advisory Committee if they plan to write a thesis, and they must form the committee one term prior to taking ENGL 5990 (Thesis). The student should choose a lead faculty advisor for the thesis and two additional readers. Although Literature students do not form Advisory Committees for their comprehensive examinations or colloquium presentations, they must choose a mentor from among tenured or tenure-track faculty to help them compile a list of works for part two of the examination and to help them develop and prepare for the colloquium.

IX. Colloquium, Or Oral Examination

Students completing a thesis or project must give an oral defense or participate in a Department colloquium. These consist of interested students and professors, gathered together to listen to and discuss MA candidates' presentations relating to their research or courses of study.

X. Continuing Enrollment Requirement

Since Winter 1998, irrespective of catalogue year, any student who has completed all other degree work, is pursuing the project or thesis, but has not completed the thesis or project, must sign up for one unit of Extended Education credit each term in order to remain affiliated with the university until the thesis or project has been submitted. A student who is not affiliated with the university may not use any university facilities or consult with faculty.

XI. Application For Graduation

A candidate for an MA degree must file an application for the degree at the Admissions and Records office in the first two weeks of the term (or first week of a summer session) in which he or she expects to complete all requirements for the degree.

XII. Teaching Associateships

The Department offers qualified graduate students in English an opportunity to support their MA studies financially and to gain valuable teaching experience by serving as Teaching Associates in the composition program. Students may apply for an assistantship when they seek admission to the Graduate Program, but to be eligible for a TA position they must normally have attained classified graduate standing in English.

Candidates are selected for the TA program on the basis of the quality of their academic background, previous experience, and their promise as classroom instructors. ENGL 5894 Teaching College Composition and Literature is required as a pre- or co-requisite for teaching. For information about teaching associateships, salaries, applications, and deadlines, contact the Writing Program Director Dr. Matthew Moberly at mmoberly@csustan.edu. 

XIII. The Teaching Internship Program

Knowing that many graduate students in English aspire to teach at the university/college level, the Department has designed an internship program for qualified graduate students interested in attaining supervised practical experience in teaching literature, composition, and English as a Second Language (ESL). Students who sign up for the internship program will work with a supervisory instructor.

The student and the supervising instructor will decide jointly the specific duties for which the student will be responsible. Students who intend to serve as interns must take ENGL 5940: Internship or ENGL 5941: Internship in Teaching Writing. Note that a student may serve as an intern more than one time; however, only three units of Internship can be applied toward the MA-RTW and MA-TESOL. Internships CANNOT be applied towards MA-LIT after Fall 1998.

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Handicapped/Title IX Employer.

For further information, contact Department of English.

Updated: February 14, 2024