M.A. in English: Literature Concentration

The Masters in Literature combines a broad grounding in the elements of literary study with the chance to pursue in-depth research in an area of interest through directed readings or the optional thesis. Students in our program engage with diverse theoretical perspectives and cultural contexts, broaden their knowledge of literary history, and develop their skills in close reading, interpretation, and critical writing. Our annual graduate student conference offers students a chance to present their insights about literature in the form of conference papers, before a large and interested audience.

The graduate faculty in literature are active scholars who publish widely in their fields; their publications include articles in scholarly journals, edited collections, edited editions, and numerous monographs. They are committed to researching and teaching a variety of national, and ethnic literatures in English, including British, American, and Anglophone literatures; they have developed expertise in literary history, diversity and gender studies, cultural studies, and a range of other theoretical perspectives.

Students completing the Masters concentration in Literature frequently go on to pursue Ph.D Studies in English at other institutions. Many others combine their graduate studies in English with education credits so that they can teach in secondary schools, both public and private. Our graduates’ strong writing skills can also be an asset in other fields such as business, journalism, and publishing.

Requirements for Students Pursuing the Concentration in Literature

The Literature Concentration requires a total of 36 hours, 15 of which are taken in literature; in addition to ENGL 6101 and ENGL 6160 (required of all students in the English M.A.), students must fulfill the following requirements: three historically-oriented literature courses; two courses in one national literature and one course in another national literature; and one course in literature written before 1800. In addition, students must take one seminar, one writing/rhetoric course, and one literary theory-intensive course. (Note: since a course can fulfill more than one requirement, students can fulfill these requirements within the required thirty-six hours of coursework):

Total Credit Hours Required: 36 (12 courses)

  • ENGL 6101 Introduction to English Studies
  • ENGL 6160 Introduction to the English Language
  • 3 hours of literary theory intensive coursework
  • 3 hours of writing/rhetoric
  • 9 hours of electives
  • 15 hours in literature, including:
    • 9 hours of historically oriented coursework
    • 6 hours in one national literature
    • 3 hours in another national literature
    • 3 hours in a pre-1800 literature

Required Comprehensive Examination in the Literature Concentration
All students in the Literature Concentration must satisfactorily complete a written examination based on a reading list proposed by the student and approved by the Graduate Committee. The written examination may not be attempted sooner than the last semester of coursework, exclusive of thesis credits.  Consult the Graduate Handbook for more details.

Master's Thesis
The optional Masters thesis in English offers students an opportunity for in-depth research in an area of interest, with the help of faculty mentors. Students who choose to write a thesis should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies in English. Before electing the thesis option, students must seek out a director, who will head a thesis committee with two additional faculty readers. While writing the thesis, students may register for six hours of thesis credit to replace one elective and another course, chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies in English. Before registering for thesis credit, the student must submit a prospectus of the proposed work to the thesis committee and the Director of Graduate Studies in English.

The Literature Faculty:

  • Paula Eckard
    (Ph.D., University of South Carolina) - American Literature and Culture, Southern Literature and Culture, Maternal Studies
  • Elizabeth Gargano
    (Ph.D., University of Virginia) - Victorian Literature, Children's Literature, The Novel, Women’s Literature and Feminist Theory
  • Tony Jackson
    (Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles) – Literary Theory, Narrative Theory, History of the Novel, Cognitive Literary Studies, British Literature
  • Jeffrey Leak
    (Ph.D., Emory University) – Twentieth-Century African-American Novel, Gender and Cultural Studies, Biography
  • Janaka Lewis
    (Ph.D., Northwestern University) – Early 19th C. African-American Literature, African American Women's Writing
  • Kirk Melnikoff
    (Ph.D., Boston University) – Elizabethan Literature, History of the Book, Performance History, Shakespeare on Film, Renaissance Publishing
  • Juan Meneses 
    (Ph.D. Purdue) - 20th and 21st century British and postcolonial literature, Theory, World Literatures, Ecocriticism
  • Jennifer Munroe
    (Ph.D., University of Illinois) – Early Modern English Literature, Early Modern Women Writers, Literature and the Environment, Literature and Science, Film Studies, Gender and Film
  • Malin Pereira
    (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) – Chair - African-American Literature, Contemporary African-American Poetry, American Literature
  • Alan Rauch
    (Ph.D., Rutgers University) - Victorian & Romantic Literature, Science Studies, Material Culture, History of the Book, New Media
  • Matthew Rowney
    (Ph.D., CUNY) - British Romanticism, Ecology, Literature and the Environment, Literature and Science
  • Daniel Shealy
    (Ph.D., University of South Carolina) - American Literature, Children's Literature
  • Maya Socolovsky
    (Ph.D., Oxford University) – US Latino/a Literature, Multicultural American Literature, Jewish American Literature, Literary Theory, Latin American Studies
  • Lara Vetter
    (Ph.D., University of Maryland at College Park) – American Literature and Culture, Modernism, Poetry, Life Writing, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Literature Worksheet