May 23, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

English and Creative Writing

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Patricia Clark, Chair
302 Campus Center • 315-312-2150

Patrick Murphy, Director of Graduate Studies, English
317 Campus Center • 315-312-2616
English and Creative Writing Professors 

General Information

The Master of Arts degree in English is designed to meet the needs of elementary and secondary teachers seeking permanent certification, people interested in post-secondary teaching, and those contemplating further study of English literature and language at PhD-granting institutions. The Department of English and Creative Writing has created a graduate curriculum that balances traditional studies in British and American literature with new intellectual developments in literary and cultural studies. Courses stress the importance of critical reading, writing, and research to provide graduate students with experiences that are suitable for many kinds of careers. These courses are designed: (1) to immerse students in advanced, formal techniques of reading, writing, and literary criticism; (2) to encourage students to study literary history with accuracy and imagination, helping them to understand how literary canons are established, what they may include or omit, and how they may change; (3) to integrate materials about cultural diversity into the curriculum; (4) to provide students with opportunities for interdisciplinary study; (5) to integrate advanced theoretical questions and practices into graduate-level literary analysis; (6) to assist graduate students as they develop the conceptual and interpretive skills necessary to respond to a rapidly changing world; and (7) to create the opportunity for students to connect their personal and political experiences with the questions, ideas, and conflicts within literary and interpretive studies.

This program is based upon the ideas that (a) specific interpretations have a structure, and (b) interpretive competence requires that students know how to use that structure to understand and test their own ideas and the established interpretations of literary works. The structure of interpretation requires there to be a TEXT  that is read, a CONTEXT in which it is read, and some THEORIES or presuppositions about texts and contexts, whether those assumptions are implicit or explicit. Therefore, graduate courses are classified using these categories of text, context, and theories. As students progress through the program, they take five courses in these elective categories, as well as three courses in the core, and two courses as part of their culminating tracks.


The student intending to work for an MA in English must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Undergraduate work in English is assumed, usually at the level of 24 to 36 credits (eight to twelve 3-credit courses).

Applicants should submit two references (from undergraduate teachers or from present colleagues), a transcript, and may submit scores from the Aptitude and Achievement Tests of the Graduate Record Examination. Applicants may also submit a writing sample of approximately 10 to 15 pages.


    Master of Art (MA)


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