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The Master of Arts in English

Course Requirements for the Master’s Degree: 30 units

Continuous enrollment is required. A maximum of 6 semester units of transfer credit may be applied toward the degree.
Graduate Time Limit: All requirements for the degree are to be completed within five years of the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest course applied toward the degree. See “Graduate Education” in The University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements.

The Master’s program in English is available to students whose undergraduate record qualifies them according to the standards set forth by the Office of Graduate Programs and the Department of English. Students who don’t have the equivalent of a major in English must complete the equivalent of a general English minor:


ENGL 100 or equivalent
ENGL 156AB, unless student has had a good survey of British and American literature in the last two years.


One course selected from each of the following areas:
Language: ENGL 121, ENGL 124, ENGL 225, or ENGL 227
Major Figures: ENGL 200, ENGL 210, or ENGL 215
Composition and Rhetoric: ENGL 175
Periods: ENGL 205, ENGL 216, ENGL 217, ENGL 218, ENGL 219A, ENGL 219B, ENGL 257A, or ENGL 257B
Genres: ENGL 238, ENGL 245, ENGL 248, ENGL 255A, ENGL 255B, ENGL 256, or ENGL 258

The Master of Arts degree in English offers patterns in British and American Literature, Creative Writing, and Language/Literacy. Students consult with the Graduate Coordinator in formulating a program most suitable to their academic and professional goals.

Prerequisites for Admission to Conditionally Classified Status:

1. Satisfactory grade point average as specified in “Admission to Master’s Degree Programs” in The University Catalog.

2. Approval by the department and the Office of Graduate Programs.

3. An acceptable baccalaureate from an accredited institution, or an equivalent approved by the Office of Graduate Programs.

4. Completion of the Graduate Record Examination, General Test and Subject Test covering Literature in English, with a minimum score of 500 on the verbal portion of the General Test (native English speakers only) and a minimum score of 500 on the Subject Test (all students).

If the minimum score of 500 was met in either the GRE General Test or the GRE Subject Test, but not in both, the student’s admission will be determined on individual merits by the Graduate Committee.

If the minimum score of 500 on the GRE Subject Test was not met for admission to the MA Program, it must be met prior to advancement to candidacy.

5. Completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 580 (237 on the computer-based TOEFL) by all applicants who have not attended postsecondary educational institutions for at least three years where English is the principal language of instruction. Further, a score below 50 (18 on the computer-based TOEFL) on any of the three parts of the TOEFL will require that a student enroll in remedial courses appropriate to the area of weakness; the Graduate Adviser will specify the number of semesters of remedial work.

6. Submission, with the application, of a writing sample demonstrating critical and analytical skills.

Prerequisites for Admission to Classified Status:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

1. Completion of a departmentally administered essay assignment, by those required to take TOEFL, during registration week of the first semester. Remedial work in composition will be required for those whose writing is judged inadequate by essay readers, and a student may not be advanced to classified status until an acceptable level of proficiency is reached.

2. Two letters of recommendation, preferably from English department faculty who know the student’s work, to the departmental Graduate Coordinator.

3. Completion of ENGL 156A and ENGL 156B, Survey of British Literature, or its equivalent. Students coming to Chico from undergraduate institutions that offer an undergraduate comprehensive examination in literature or a course of the same kind as the Survey of British Literature are requested to submit, when possible, as one of their letters of recommendation, a statement from a faculty member directly involved with that examination or course.

4. A postbaccalaureate grade point average of at least 3.0 in a minimum of 12 departmentally specified units of letter- graded, graduate-level course work.

5. Completion of departmental literacy requirement.

Advancement to Candidacy:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

1. Classified graduate standing and completion at the university of at least 9 units of the proposed program.

2. Fulfillment of the foreign language requirement (see below).

3. Formation of the graduate advisory (thesis) committee in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator.

4. Development of an approved program in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator. Such a program will include:
(a) A statement of aims.
(b) An outline of course units to be earned in pursuit of these aims.
(c) A description of the nature of the culminating activity.

Requirements for the MA Degree in English:

Completion of all requirements as established by the department graduate committee, the graduate advisory (thesis) committee, and the Office of Graduate Programs, to include:

1. Completion of an approved program consisting of 30 units of 200/300-level courses as follows:
(a) At least 24 units of 300-level courses in the discipline of English, including

ENGL    301    Intro to Graduate Research    3.0    FS

ENGL    375    Contemp Theory & Textual Crit    3.0    FS

Six units of literature prior to 1900.

ENGL    398    Independent Study    1.0-3.0    FS

ENGL    399    Master’s Study    1.0-6.0    FS

Students who plan to do a creative project (ENGL 399) must have permission to do so from the creative writing coordinator and must have completed the requirements for the Creative Writing Pattern.
(b) Twelve units selected from one of the following patterns (specific courses for each pattern will be chosen in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator):


Strongly recommended:

ENGL    372    Seminar in Literary Criticism    3.0    FS

ENGL    392    Special Topics in English    3.0    FS

The remaining electives may be selected from any 300-level literature courses.


1 course required:

ENGL    352    Theories of Literacy    3.0    SP

3 courses selected from:

ENGL    322    Writing in the Profession    3.0    FA

ENGL    326    Topics Contemporary Linguistics    3.0    FS

ENGL    332    Adv Theory 2nd Lang Acquisition    3.0    Inq

Prerequisites: ENGL 232.

ENGL    380    Teaching Composition    3.0    SP

Prerequisites: ENGL 231.

ENGL    391    Comp Prog Design/Development    3.0    F1

ENGL    392    Special Topics in English    3.0    FS

NOTE: ENGL 290, Northern California Writing Project, may be substituted for 6 units from among ENGL 322, ENGL 326, ENGL 332, ENGL 380, ENGL 391, and ENGL 392.


ENGL    220A    Advanced Poetry Writing    4.0    FA

Prerequisites: ENGL 120A.

ENGL    220B    Advanced Fiction Writing    4.0    FS

Prerequisites: ENGL 120B.

ENGL    220C    Advanced Play Writing    4.0    Inq

Prerequisites: ENGL 120C.

ENGL    220D    From Page to Stage    3.0    FA

Prerequisites: ENGL 120A, ENGL 120B, or ENGL 120C.

ENGL    320    Writer’s Workshop    3.0    FS

Prerequisites: Equivalent of the Minor in Creative Writing or approval of the instructor; submission of a portfolio of original writing to the instructor at least one week prior to the beginning of the semester for evaluation by the creative writing committee.

ENGL    321    Form and Creative Process    3.0    SP

Prerequisites: ENGL 220A, ENGL 220B, or ENGL 220C.

ENGL    389    Internship in Literary Arts    1.0-4.0    FS

Prerequisites: Undergraduate Creative Writing minor, ENGL 320, or submission of portfolio of recent writing and permission of the creative writing faculty. Faculty permission.

3 units selected from:

A graduate-level course in modern or contemporary literature.

ENGL    238    Modern Poetry    3.0    FS

ENGL    248    Modern Drama    3.0    FS

ENGL    258    Modern Novel    3.0    FS

(c) No 200-level course that is a prerequisite for a 300-level course
(e.g., ENGL 231 or ENGL 232) can be used as part of the 30-unit graduate program.
(d) Not more than 6 semester units of transfer and/or extension credit (correspondence courses and U.C. extension course work are not acceptable).
(e) Not more than 15 units taken before admission to classified status.
(f) ENGL 389T (Internship in Teaching College English) may also be used as an elective in the MA program. Permission of program coordinator and instructor of record needed.
(g) Normally not more than a total of 6 units of Independent Study (398) and Master’s Thesis (399) or Master’s Project (399).

NOTE: ENGL 398 must be taken for a letter grade.

2. Completion and approval by the Graduate Coordinator of an acceptable culminating activity. The English Department graduate committee will recommend granting the master’s degree to candidates who have satisfactorily completed one of the following:
(a) A written thesis prepared according to the standards established in A Guide to Graduate Studies: Policies, Procedures, and Format, available from the Office of Graduate Programs. The thesis will present a scholarly/critical study or a sustained creative effort.
(b) A terminal project equivalent in scope to the thesis or seminar papers options and appropriate to the candidate’s focus of study or special competence.

3. Approval by the departmental graduate committee and the Graduate Coordinators Committee on behalf of the faculty of the university.

Graduate Literacy Requirement:

Writing proficiency is a graduation requirement.

English degree candidates will demonstrate writing competence through two examples of their writing which have been submitted as assigned work. These must be presented to the Graduate Coordinator by the instructor(s) who assigned them, together with a written statement of his/her opinion of the papers’ authenticity. The papers may not represent work done in connection with the thesis or terminal project, and at least one sample must demonstrate documentation of research according to the latest edition of the MLA Handbook style standards. This requirement must be met before the student is advanced to classified status.

Foreign Language Requirement:

Prior to advancement to candidacy, students must fulfill a foreign language requirement in one of the following ways:

1. Show evidence of completion, within the last five years, of the equivalent of two years of foreign language study at the college/university level with a grade of B or better; or

2. Show evidence of completion, within the last five years, of an upper-division foreign language literature course taught in the language with a grade of B or better; or

3. Demonstrate a reading knowledge of a foreign language through a departmentally authorized examination.

NOTE: Appropriate accommodations will be made for the deaf or hearing impaired. Units earned in language courses will not be counted toward the 30 units required for the Master of Arts in English. The language taken must be a major literary language. International students from non-English-
speaking countries will be exempt from this language requirement.

Graduate Grading Requirements:

All courses in the major (with the exceptions of Independent Study-398 and Master’s Study-399) must be taken for a letter grade, except those courses specified by the department as ABC/No Credit (200-level courses), AB/No Credit (300-level courses), or Credit/No Credit grading only. A maximum of 10 units combined of ABC/No Credit, AB/No Credit, and Credit/No Credit grades may be used on the approved program (including 398, 399, and courses outside the major). While grading standards are determined by individual programs and instructors, it is also the policy of the university that unsatisfactory grades may be given when work fails to reflect achievement of the high standards, including high writing standards, expected of students pursuing graduate study.

Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all course work on the approved master’s degree program as well as in all course work taken subsequent to admission to conditionally classified status.

Graduate Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory each semester for all English majors.
Consult the Graduate Coordinator for specifics.