Feb 25, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2017 - 2018 
Graduate Catalog 2017 - 2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, MA

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Department of English

Rhodes Tower 1815
(216) 687-3951

Jeff Karem, Chair
Adam Sonstegard, Graduate Program Director
Imad Rahman, Director, Creative Writing Programming
Mary Murray, Director of the Writing Center

Areas of Study

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: http://www.csuohio.edu/class/sites/csuohio.edu.class/files/GraduateHandbook.pdf

Faculty Research and Resources

Our graduate faculty includes a wide range of distinguished scholars and leaders in the fields of English literary studies, American literary studies, world literatures, and rhetoric and composition, with over thirty books and several hundred major articles in those fields. Faculty have published books with some of the most important scholarly presses, including University of Pennsylvania Press, University of Virginia Press, University of Alabama Press, Palgrave Macmillan, and Bedford St. Martin’s. Our scholars regularly contribute to significant journals, appear in essay collections published by top-tier venues like Oxford and Cambridge University Presses, and serve as editors within premier publication series in their fields.

Our creative writing graduate faculty have placed their works into some of the most prestigious national venues, including the Academy of American Poets, Iowa ReviewNew England Review, Penguin Books, Farrar, Straus, Giroux, Cleveland Public Theater, and the Great Lakes Theater Festival. All of our tenure-track creative writing faculty have earned Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council-one of the highest honors in the state for creative artists.

Graduate students in English at Cleveland State University may also benefit from opportunities to learn the crafts of editing and publishing at the CSU Poetry Center. Founded in 1962, the Center is a non-profit independent press and arts center and manages a catalogue of nearly 200 titles. It is one of the most recognized and competitive publishers of contemporary poetry and prose in the nation and currently publishes three to five collections a year with national distribution and reach. The Poetry Center promotes the literary arts through the Lighthouse Reading Series and local collaborative arts events. In addition, it serves as an educational resource for CSU’s undergraduate, MA, and NEOMFA students by providing assistantship and internship opportunities that involve students in the editorial and production aspects of literary publishing. CSU Poetry Center authors have won the Whiting Award, the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, the NEA Creative Writing and Translation Fellowships, and the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. Our authors have recently published in The New YorkerPoetryThe Best New PoetsLitHub, The Poetry Society of America, and American Letters & Commentary and have been finalists for Foreword Review’s Book of the Year Award in Poetry, the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the Julie Suk Award, a PEN Center Translation Award, the Read Russia Prize, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.

The English Department is also home to 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 to the English Department by February 1 in order to be considered for a graduate assistantship in the following academic year. Applications are available from, and should be submitted directly to, the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies. Incoming students who wish to apply for an assistantship should have their applications to the Graduate College (including all supporting materials) completed by the February 1 deadline. The department also provides tuition scholarships as prizes in annual creative-writing contests and an annual Andrews Award 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. 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

A baccalaureate degree with a major or concentration in English, and an overall grade-point average of 2.75 or higher and a 3.0 average in courses in English, are minimum requirements for admission, though satisfying those requirements will not guarantee admission. (A concentration is defined as a minimum of 24 quarter hours or 16 semester hours beyond Freshman English). Students without a sufficient number of undergraduate courses in English will take undergraduate courses, as required by the Graduate Director.  Such concentrations normally emphasize British and American Literature surveys and courses that stress writing about literature.

Those interested in applying for admission must meet the following requirements:

  1. All regular application materials for admission–including the application, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts from all colleges attended–must be submitted directly to Campus 411, All-In-1. Students must indicate whether they are applying for the literature track or the creative writing track.
  2. All applicants, including those applying to creative writing, must submit samples of their academic writing (between ten and twenty pages of work submitted from prior courses; a term paper from an advanced English course is ideal) to the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English.
  3. Applicants for the creative writing track shall, in addition, submit a creative portfolio in the genre they intend to study (30 pages of prose, 15 poems, or a complete one-act play) for consideration by the Department’s creative writing faculty.
  4. Applicants shall be admitted either to the literature track or the creative writing track at the time of application.
  5. 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 M.A. program. These courses do not count toward degree requirements.

Apply Now: http://www.csuohio.edu/graduate-admissions/how-apply


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

Literature Concentration: 33 credits minimum

Creative Writing Concentration: 33 credits minimum

Literature Concentration with Portfolio (non-thesis option): 36 credits minimum

Literature Concentration (Thesis Option):

2. Graduate seminars (12 credits):

3. Electives (9 credits):

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

4. Thesis (6 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. Students should submit a thesis proposal approved by two English graduate faculty members after completing 18 credits of graduate work in the program.

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

Creative Writing Concentration:

1. Core courses (6 credits):

3. Graduate seminars (9 credits):

4. Thesis (6 credits):

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 three 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, and an analytical, critical preface of 15-20 pages, placing the work in appropriate literary and theoretical context. Students should submit a thesis proposal approved by two graduate faculty members of the English department after completing 18 credits in the program. All MA students following the Creative Writing track will be assigned a preliminary adviser upon admission, but should make sure to seek out appropriate thesis advisors while taking coursework.

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

Literature Concentration with Portfolio (non-thesis option):

2. Graduate seminars (18 credits):

3. Electives (12 credits):

  • Courses numbered ENG 506 and higher.

4. Final Portfolio

A student pursuing the Portfolio option must submit a “Degree Completion Plan” to the English Department’s Director of Graduate Studies promptly after completing 18 credit hours in the program. Candidates for the portfolio option should submit a portfolio of their best writing from advanced English MA classes (typically four final seminar papers from 695 seminars) to the English Department’s Graduate Committee no later than the 10th week of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. A committee of graduate faculty from the English Department will evaluate student portfolio and render a final decision on its acceptability.

Composition course requirements for teaching assistants:

Graduate students who are beginning as teaching assistants must take ENG 506  (3 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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