College Of Humanities and Fine Arts

The Master of Arts in English

About | Requirements | Contact Us | Application Checklist | Dates and Deadlines | Current Students

The Master of Arts in English program at Chico State University welcomes all students in the major who are interested in further postgraduate studying in English. The program is designed for students to study literature, linguistics, rhetoric and composition, grammar, literacy, and creative writing at advanced levels.

View English (MA) in the Catalog

Learning Patterns

The MA in English provides students with three patterns to choose from:

While each pattern focuses on a particular area of study, the program in general is committed to advancing knowledge and creativity by nurturing a community of students, scholars, teachers, and creative writers. We believe that broad reading in historical and contemporary literary, critical, and theoretical texts provides a foundation for more specialized study and research.

To this end, we offer students in all patterns an introduction to graduate research in a range of critical, rhetorical, and creative modes, giving them the intellectual background to pursue a specialty. Through internships and seminars in pedagogy, our Teaching Associateship Program provides teacher training and helps our students develop their teaching philosophies and hone their professional skills.

Graduate Certificate

The Certificate in Teaching College-Level Writing

This certificate is a post-baccalaureate program in Teaching College-Level Writing. To prepare students to teach college-level writing in a variety of contexts, this certificate engages students in the study of composition, pedagogical rhetoric, literacy, and writing program design. It allows graduate students to address individual situation, needs, and interests while learning within a diverse community. By offering flexible and interactive learning, the program provides a model for teaching writing and a forum where all teachers can learn and grow together as teachers of writing, and as writers too.

About the Program

English students

What You’ll Study

The program offers students to engage in advanced work, engaging with our professors who specialize in rhetoric and literacy; creative writing; British, American, multicultural, and international literature; and the study of the English language.

English students

Student Opportunities

Graduate students are given opportunities to attend seminars and conferences, receive professional training in editing and composing for publications, teach classes in their field, and gain valuable experiences through internships related to their interests.

English students

Educational and Career Paths

Chico State students in the Master’s program have continued on to find success in further graduate work, teaching, writing, editing, managing web content, publishing, and journalism.


  • Continuous enrollment
  • At the discretion of the academic program, a maximum of 6 semester units of special session credit earned in non-matriculated status combined with all transfer coursework may be counted toward the degree requirements.  
    • This applies to special session credit earned through Open University, or in courses offered for academic credit through Regional and Continuing Education. 
  • 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.

Who can apply?

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 Studies 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.

Contact Us


Laura Sparks
Graduate Coordinator
ARTS 272

Application Checklist

  • Application Requirements
    • Submit application for the CSU graduate program and upload supporting materials online at Cal State Apply.
      • (1) Statement of Purpose: identify your chosen pattern, describe your reason(s) for pursuing graduate study, and include any additional information concerning your preparation that is pertinent to the objective specified.
      • (2) Writing Sample: demonstrate your critical and analytical skills in a chosen piece of your writing.
      • (3) Essay: creative writing applicants should use this section to upload a second writing sample of creative work.
    • Within Cal State Apply, request two letters of recommendation, preferably from English department faculty who know the student’s work. Recommenders will directly upload their letters to the system.
      • If letter writers need to submit hard copies, then letters must be accompanied by the department letter of recommendation Access Waiver Form (PDF). See address below.

    If applicants have issues submitting supporting materials electronically through Cal State Apply, they can submit those materials (Statement of Purpose, Writing Sample, and Creative Writing Sample) (1) by mail to Graduate Coordinator, Department of English, California State University, Chico, Chico, CA 95929-0830, (2) to Dr. Laura Sparks campus mailbox in ARTS 231, or (3) by email as PDF attachments to

  • Minimum Requirements for Admission
    • An acceptable baccalaureate from an accredited institution, or an equivalent approved by the Office of Graduate Studies.
    •  Satisfactory grade point average; must have a 3.0 in the last 30 semester units attempted and a 2.75 in the last 60 (90 quarter) units attempted.
    • For all applicants who have not completed a baccalaureate degree (or three years of full-time academic study at the post-secondary level) in Australia, Great Britain, Anglophone Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United States, completion of one of the following:
      • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum paper-based score of 580 or Internet-based score of 92; or
      • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 7.0; or
      • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a minimum score of 65.
      • Further, a significantly low score on any part of these required exams will require that a student enroll in remedial courses appropriate to the area of weakness as specified by the Graduate Advisor.

    Once all materials have been received, the Graduate Committee will make assessments of the applicant’s complete record, balancing GPA, letters of recommendation, writing samples, and any other material in the application package.

Important Dates and Deadlines for Graduate Students

Spring 2024

22 January: Spring classes begin.

2 February: Last day to add/drop classes (including Engl 689T, 697, & 699 T/P).

5-9 February: Mandatory graduation advising for students graduating in May 2024.

16 February: Last day to apply for a Master’s degree expected in May 2024. Last day to register for Spring 2024 adjunct enrollment.

18-22 March: Spring Break

25 March: Approx. deadline for preliminary edits/format review for thesis/project to Graduate Research Coordinator, JoAna Brooks. (

29 March: Recommended deadline for distributing complete M.A. thesis/project to all members of student’s Graduate Advisory Committee.

1 April: Applications due for Fall 2024 M.A. English admission

5 April: Recommended deadline for oral defense of M.A. thesis/project.

15-19 April: Mandatory registration advising for all continuing students.

19 April: Last day to submit approved thesis/project to the Graduate School for May 2024 graduation (firm deadline).1

19 April: Submit preliminary T.A. Application to Sharon DeMeyer ( by 5 p.m. (firm deadline).

22 April: Fall 2024 registration opens.

3 May: Submit full T.A. Application to Sharon DeMeyer ( by 5 p.m. (firm deadline).

15 May Master’s Commencement

[1] All students, including those who have taught in previous semesters, are encouraged to read the Department Hiring Guidelines for Teaching Associates (PDF).

Full applications include: 

  • a letter of application, 
  • a detailed syllabus, including a complete course calendar/schedule, and a rationale (i.e, a brief explanation of the scope and focus of the course) for the course you wish to teach, and
  • a letter of recommendation from a faculty advisor (typically, your English 689T mentor or instructor for ENGL 634)
  • For TAs in EFLN: a second letter from an observer of the applicant's EFLN teaching or foreign language tutoring is also required.