MA Program Requirements

MA in English/Literature

The Master of Arts in English is granted on satisfactory completion of the following requirements.

Courses

In consultation with the director of graduate programs, the student plans a program of at least 9 graded courses (36 credit hours):

  • one literature course before 1800;
  • one course in literary theory;
  • seven additional topics courses

Students normally take no more than two appropriate courses in other departments and no more than three courses from the same faculty member. Students who wish to take independent study courses must seek the consent of a faculty member who is willing to direct the independent study. Students are limited to two independent study courses as part of their program.

Students who wish to apply for doctoral programs are advised to plan a curriculum that emphasizes the development of a broad knowledge of English and American literature, although some specialization in a single field may be appropriate. The student must maintain at least a 3.0 average to remain in the program: more than one C grade normally requires dismissal. A student not in residence must register each semester to remain in good standing.

Thesis

Students may wish to write a master's thesis. Such students must submit to their faculty adviser a plan that shows adequate preparation for their proposed thesis and a brief prospectus of the proposed investigation. The thesis is a substantial (50-75 pages) piece of original research or criticism. The student must submit to the graduate director a signed approval from the faculty adviser. Only students whose thesis plan has been approved by the adviser and the graduate director may register for ENG 599, Master's Thesis; ENG 599 may be taken twice for credit, and it may be used for as many as two of the four electives required for the degree. When the thesis has been approved by the faculty adviser, it should be submitted to the Graduate School. Theses must conform to the Graduate School requirements, as outlined in the Faculty and Student Graduate Degree Handbook. Students may plan a course of study that does not include the writing of a thesis

MA in English/Creative Writing

In addition to meeting the requirements for admission to the English Department's Master of Arts program (i.e., GRE general test scores accepted but not required, transcripts, recommendations and a critical writing sample), students wishing to enroll in this program must also submit a substantial portfolio of their work in fiction or poetry (not more than 50 pages of fiction or 25 pages of verse), along with a critical writing sample of 10-20 pages. On completion of the following requirements, students in this program receive the MA in English/creative writing:

  • one literature course before 1900;
  • three workshops or tutorials in the writing of fiction or poetry;
  • ENG 599, Thesis, for four credits;
  • four additional topics courses

Students normally take no more than three appropriate courses in other department and no more than three courses from the same faculty member. Students who wish to take independent study courses must seek the consent of a faculty member who is willing to direct the independent study. Students are limited to two independent study courses as part of their program.

Students must maintain at least a B average to remain in the program; more than one C grade normally requires dismissal. A student not in residence must register each semester to remain in good standing.

Creative Thesis

At the conclusion of their coursework, students must submit to the director of creative writing a collection of poems, a collection of stories or a novel. The director of creative writing constitutes a panel of at least two professors who evaluate this thesis. The thesis is the most important requirement for the MA in English/creative writing; it must be of substantial length and publishable quality, and it must conform to the Graduate School requirements for a thesis, as outlined in the Graduate School Student Handbook

Teaching Opportunities for M.A. Students

Master's students have several options to gain teaching experience during their time at Binghamton. Graduate-level students may apply to instruct a self-designed course in their discipline through the university's Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership’s Lyceum Program, which offers university-level classes for adults aged 50 and over who wish to take them for the intellectual challenge and personal development. Lyceum instructors are supported by university grant funding. Master's students may also apply to teach through The Binghamton Poetry Project (BPP), a literary service organization that offers free graduate-run poetry workshops to adults and youths at public venues in and around Binghamton during the fall, spring, and summer. Supported by a stipend from BPP, instructors design their own lesson plans to teach poetic craft, guiding class participants in the critical reading and composition of poetry during four- and five-week workshops.

The MA in English Timeline: Students typically complete the MA in 3 semesters by taking three 4-credit courses each term. Students completing a thesis (required for creative writing students, optional for literature students) register for ENG 599 for one or two semesters. ENG 599 counts as an elective or topics course in the distribution requirements.

A sampling of recent graduate courses: Modern American Literature; Animal Studies; Fiction Workshop; Women & Society in Medieval Literature; Native American Literature; Listening to Race; Neoliberalism & the Subject; Creative Nonfiction; 19th C British Poetry; Manuscripts, Media, & Materiality; Literature & the Planet; Rhetoric & Composition Theory & Practice; Advanced Poetry Workshop; Fall of Troy; Imperial Masculinities;  Community Engagement: Theory and Praxis; Transnationalism and Film ...and more.