Jun 16, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2022 - 2023 
Graduate Catalog 2022 - 2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, MA

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Department of English

Rhodes Tower 1815
(216) 687-3951

Jeff Karem, Chair
Julie Burrell, Graduate Program Director

Area of Study


The Program

The Master of Arts in English emphasizes research and the application of various critical approaches to problems in literature and composition. This program provides graduate students with course work in practical criticism and literary theory, electives in literature and linguistics, and opportunities for the study of composition theory and the practice of teaching writing to beginning students. Students can pursue the degree on either a part-time or full-time basis. With courses offered either in the evening or online, the program is designed to accommodate daytime work schedules. 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: https://artsandsciences.csuohio.edu/sites/default/files/ENG_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.

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.

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 and, with proper qualifications and experience, to teach Freshman English classes. All graduate assistantships provide tuition waivers and a stipend. 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 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 will be well served by either the thesis or portfolio options for completing the degree. Students who are taking the MA as preparation for doctoral study in English should select the thesis option, 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. Our graduates have also succeeded in Library Science, Law School, and careers involving writing and editing for and within corporations and foundations.

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.
  2. All applicants 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. 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

MA Literature (Thesis option): 33 credits minimum

MA Literature (Portfolio option): 36 credits minimum

MA Literature (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 a committee of three English graduate faculty members. Students should submit a thesis proposal approved by a committee of three 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.

MA Literature (Portfolio 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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