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    University of Memphis
  Nov 18, 2017
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog

English, (MA)

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MA in English Degree Program


  1. An overall minimum grade point average of 3.00 at the undergraduate level is expected.
  2. A competitive score on the Graduate Record Examination.
  3. An official undergraduate and if applicable graduate transcript to Graduate Admissions.
  4. A statement of purpose outlining the student’s proposed course of study and career goals
  5. Two letters of recommendation, preferably from college/university professors of English or comparable disciplines.

Program Prerequisites

An undergraduate degree with a major in English. A student who does not have an undergraduate major in English or appropriate background may be required to complete a maximum of 12 upper division hours in English with a grade of B or higher in each course.

Program Requirements

Students in Literature, ESL, or Linguistics

Students in Literature, ESL, or Linguistics must complete a total of thirty (30) semester hours of course work plus a three-hour thesis, or a total of thirty-three (33) semester hours of course work. All students must complete a four-hour comprehensive written examination.

Students in Professional Writing

Students in Professional Writing must complete a required four-hour comprehensive exam and produce either a thesis or project or portfolio. The exam must be passed before the student can register for thesis hours.

Students in ESL, Linguistics, Professional Writing and Composition Studies

Students in ESL, Linguistics, Professional Writing and Composition Studies must complete two graduate courses (six semester hours) outside their area of concentration.

Students must complete the following minimum course work

Students must complete the following minimum course work, beyond the requirement in section 2, in at least one of these concentrations:

Composition Studies—18 Hours

MA students pursuing an emphasis in Composition Studies must complete a 15-hour core consisting of

Language and Linguistics—18 Hours

Language and Linguistics—18 hours including ENGL 7511  or equivalent graduate or undergraduate introduction to linguistics approved by student’s advisor

Professional Writing—18 Hours

The Professional Writing Concentration

The Professional Writing concentration requires a 3-hour thesis, project, or portfolio.

Professional Writing Students

Professional Writing students will complete their 18 hours as follows:

Literature—18 Hours

Literature—18 hours, including ENGL 7000  (excluding ENGL 7100 ); Students must take at least one literature course from before 1800 and one literature course from after 1800, and at least one Literary Theory class, which may be chosen from any designated theory class, including 7/8477, 7/8478, 7/8701, 7/8702, and 7/8480. All students must take a four-hour written comprehensive examination. Literature students should take ENGL 7000  in the first year of graduate study.

English as a Second Language—18 Hours including


Courses numbered 7004, 7005, 7006, ENGL 7812 , and ENGL 7813  require approval of the Chair of the Department and Coordinator of Graduate Studies in order to be applied toward any concentration.

Students in Composition Studies

Students in Composition Studies will take a written comprehensive exam and complete either a thesis or professional portfolio. Students should contact the English Graduate Office for examination format and dates.

Reading Knowledge of a Foreign Language

Reading knowledge of a foreign language for students in Literature and Linguistics. Proficiency may be demonstrated in a variety of ways (inquire in English Graduate Office for options). Students intending to pursue a PhD are advised to develop a reading competency in at least one of the following: French, German, Latin, or Greek.


Thesis (ENGL 7996 ) Optional, except for the concentration in Professional Writing.

NOTE: Students electing to write a thesis should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write.

An Average of 3.00 in All Graduate English Courses.

Teaching Assistant in the Department of English

Each graduate teaching assistant in the Department of English must enroll in ENGL 7003 -ENGL 8003  before or concurrent with first teaching assignment.

Retention Requirements

Students who are on academic probation for two consecutive semesters will not be allowed to continue in the program.

Upon entering the MA program, a student chooses an advisor in his or her concentration. The advisor will monitor the student’s progress toward completion of the degree. Each semester the Graduate Studies Committee will examine the academic progress of all students for retention in the program.

If a student receives either two C’s, one D, or one F grade in any English graduate level course, that student will be subject to review and could be dismissed from the program. In order to remain in good standing, all graduate students must maintain a 3.0 average in English Department courses.

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