May 28, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2013 - 2014 
Graduate Catalog 2013 - 2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, MA

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Department of English

Rhodes Tower 1815
(216) 687-3951

John Gerlack, Interim Chair
James Marino, Graduate Program Director
Imad Rahman, Director, Creative Writing Programming
Mary Murray, Director of the Writing Center

Areas of Study

Literature and Critical Interpretation
Creative Writing

The Program

The Master of Arts in English offers two concentrations: literature and creative writing. The literature concentration emphasizes research and the application of various critical approaches to problems in literature and composition. The creative writing concentration emphasizes professional writing and the analysis of literary works from the point of view of the practitioner. Both concentrations provide graduate students with course work in practical criticism, electives in literature and linguistics, and opportunities for the study of composition theory and the practice of teaching writing to beginning students. The program is designed to meet the needs of part-time and full-time students. Core courses and graduate seminars are offered in the evenings. Students are advised to take their core-course requirements during their first two semesters of graduate study. A departmental Committee on Graduate Studies, chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies, governs the Master of Arts program in English. The Committee on Graduate Studies administers admission of new students, appointment of graduate assistants, selection of Andrews Award winners, student petitions, and policy issues concerning the Master of Arts curriculum. Prospective and current students should consult the Handbook for Graduate Studies in English at:

Faculty Research and Resources

The graduate faculty of the English Department has published over thirty books and several hundred major articles in the fields of literary scholarship, linguistics, and critical theory. The range of research interests is illustrated by a partial list of books published by the faculty. Medieval and Renaissance studies are represented by Earl Anderson’s Cynewulf (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press). Eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century studies are represented by Gary Dyer’s British Satire and the Politics of Style (Cambridge University Press), by Rachel Carnell’s Partisan Politics, Narrative Realism, and the Rise of the British Novel (Palgrave Macmillan), and by her scholarly edition of the works of Delarivier Manley (Pickering & Chatto). Modern and contemporary literature is represented by Adrienne Gosselin’s Multicultural Detective Fiction: Murder from the “Other” Side (Garland), Jeff Karem’s The Romance of Authenticity (University of Virginia Press), by Jennifer Jeffers’ The Irish Novel at the End of the Twentieth Century: Gender, Bodies, and Power (Palgrave), and by her Britain Colonized: Hollywood’s Appropriation of British Literature (Palgrave Macmillan). Critical theory is represented by Jennifer Jeffers’ Uncharted Space: The End of Narrative (Peter Lang Publishers), by Earl Anderson’s Grammar of Iconism (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press), and by his Folk-Taxonomies in Early English (Faileigh Dickinson University Press). Linguistics and philology are represented by John Greppin’s Medieval Arabic-Armenian Botanical Dictionary (Vienna: Mechitaristen-Buchdruckerei), The Diffusion of Greek Medicine into the Middle East and the Caucasus (Caravan), and fourteen other books. Composition studies are represented by Mary Murray’s Artwork of the Mind: An Interdisciplinary Description of Insight and the Search for It in Student Writing (Hampton Press), Ted Lardner and Arnetha Ball’s African American Literacies Unleashed: Vernacular English in Composition Classroom (Southern Illinois University Press) and by Ted Lardner and Todd Lundberg’s Exchanges: Reading and Writing about Consumer Culture (Longman). Research in Language Arts is represented by Adrienne Gosselin’s Reflections Sweet and Sour: Language Arts and Prevention Assessment (Rose Dog Press).

The creative-writing faculty has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction in dozens of creative-writing periodicals, have plays performed, and have read or performed poetry in a variety of venues. Book titles include, in the field of fiction, Sheila Schwartz’s Imagine a Great White Light, winner of the Pushcart Editor’s Book Award, and Neal Chandler’s Benediction (University of Utah Press), and, in the field of poetry, Nuala Archer’s From a Mobile Home (Galway: Salmon Press).

The English Department is home to The Cleveland State University Poetry Center, which has published more than 135 poetry books since 1971 and averages three new books a year. Recent publications include Gaspar Pedro Gonzalez’s A Dry Season: Poems in Q’anjob’al Maya (one of the few books of contemporary Mayan poetry to be published anywhere), Alison Luterman’s The Largest Possible Life, and Ohio poet Nin Andrews’ The Book of Orgasms. The Poetry Center has won several national and regional awards for its publications. Carol Potter’s Short History of Pets won the 2001 Balconnes Prize for Poetry. Jared Carter’s After the Rain won the 1995 Poets’ Prize. In 1996, The Poetry Center’s Off the Page, a videotape of performance poetry, won the Ohio Board of Regents’ W. E. B. DuBois Award for Service to the Community.

The English Department houses three journals: the Annual of Armenian Linguistics; Raft: a Journal of Armenian Literature and Criticism; and Whiskey Island, a student-edited literary magazine.

Current faculty information can be located on the Cleveland State University Faculty Profile page.

Financial Assistance

Graduate assistantships in English provide students with an opportunity to teach in the Writing Center, assist faculty on editorial or other academic projects, and in some cases to teach Freshman English classes. All graduate assistantships provide tuition waivers and a stipend. A few tuition waivers may be available for part-time students. Students must apply by February 1 in order to be considered for a graduate assistantship in the following academic year. The department also provides tuition scholarships as prizes in annual creative-writing contests and an annual Andrews Award, a cash prize (normally $1,000) to assist a graduate student in the completion of a thesis of exceptional merit.

Career Information

Students who are pursuing the MA in English as a means of enhancing their teaching careers should select the literature concentration. Students who are taking the MA as preparation for doctoral study in English should select the literature concentration, should take as many research seminars (ENG 695 ) as possible, and should take ENG 506 - Composition Theory  in order to enhance their eligibility for doctoral teaching assistantships at other universities. This course of study also is recommended for students who are preparing for careers teaching writing or administering writing centers in community colleges and schools. Cross-listed electives in linguistics are offered for students who are pursuing Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) endorsement concurrently with the MA in English. The creative writing concentration is recommended for students who desire increased competitiveness in creative and professional writing fields or in allied careers in editing, communications, and public relations.

Admission Information

To be admitted to the MA program in English, an applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with an overall grade-point average of 2.75 or higher and a 3.0 average in courses in English. Applicants must provide transcripts of all previous college work, two letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. Applicants seeking admission to the literature concentration should submit a sample of academic writing, typically a research paper from an undergraduate literature course. Applicants seeking admission to the creative writing concentration should submit a portfolio of their creative work in addition to an analytical paper. Admission to the creative writing concentration is a separate decision made by the creative writing faculty once a student has been admitted into the MA program.

An applicant whose undergraduate major was in a field other than English may be required to take a certain number of undergraduate English courses as a condition for admission to the MA program. These courses do not count toward degree requirements.

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Students may petition the Committee on Graduate Studies to take up to eight elective credits in graduate courses outside the English Department, in cases where such courses meet the students’ particular research needs. A student combining TESOL endorsement with the MA in English, for example, may be allowed to count graduate-level Methods in TESOL courses as English electives.

Degree Requirements

(33 credits minimum)

Literature Concentration:

2. Graduate seminars (8 credits):

3. Electives (12 credits):

courses numbered ENG 506  and higher; at least one additional graduate seminar is recommended.

4. Thesis (5 credits):


To earn these credits, the student must prepare an acceptable master’s thesis of 30 to 50 pages, written under the direction of two English graduate faculty members.

5. A successful master’s examination based on the student’s thesis topic.

Creative Writing Concentration:

1. Core courses (4 credits):

2. Workshop (12 credits)

 At least two courses in the same genre.

3. Graduate seminars (3 or 4 credits):

4. Electives (4 credits):

 Graduate electives in literature or composition theory.

5. Thesis (5 or 6 credits):

 The student must prepare a successful master’s creative writing project under the direction of three English graduate faculty members.  The thesis director must be a member of the Cleveland State University graduate faculty.  A critical preface of 6-10 pages that places the work in an appropriate literary and theoretical context must be submitted with the creative work.


To earn these credits, the student must be accepted into the creative writing program and must prepare a successful master’s creative writing project under the direction of two English graduate faculty members, viz., a collection of short stories, essays, or poems, or a play or part of a novel, judged to be of high quality, with an analytical section of 15-20 pages, placing the work in appropriate literary and theoretical context.

6. The master’s examination based on the student’s creative writing project.

Composition course requirements for teaching assistants:

Graduate students who are beginning as teaching assistants must take ENG 506  (4 credits) and ENG 507  (1 credit). Graduate students who completed ENG 308 Composition Theory as undergraduates are required to attend ENG 506  sessions in fall semester but should not register for credit for this course. Graduate students who completed 4 credits of ENG 309 Writing Center Practicum as undergraduates are required to attend ENG 507  workshops in fall semester but should not register for credit for this course.

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