Jul 10, 2020  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, MA

Program Description

The MA in English Program offers all candidates the opportunity to grow intellectually and creatively through the advanced study of language and literature. To provide students with an integrated conception of English as a field of study, courses include offerings in composition theory and practice, community literacy, technology and writing, linguistics, technical and professional writing, literature, literary theory, and creative writing. In addition, students choose a track in Composition/Rhetoric, Literary Studies, or Borderlands to complete their course of study. The degree is designed to develop accomplished teachers of English at the secondary and community college levels, to prepare skilled professional/technical writers, and to offer students pursuing terminal degrees in English/American Literature or Rhetoric and Composition the background and skills needed to begin doctoral study.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of the program, students will demonstrate:

  • proficiency in critical reading, writing, and thinking at the graduate level;
  • understanding of core knowledge, vocabulary, and concepts in the discipline;
  • proficiency in scholarly methods of research and inquiry; and
  • appropriate preparation for individual career paths within the profession.

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants must comply with the university procedures and requirements in applying for admission to the English Graduate Program. Application is made through the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, with duplicate materials submitted to the English Graduate Program Coordinator.
  2. Applicants must submit through the Office of Research and Graduate Studies a portfolio that includes:
    • A letter (2-4 pages long) from the candidate addressed to the English Graduate Committee introducing the candidate and describing:
      • academic background,
      • short and long-term professional goals,
      • the connection between the candidate’s short and long term personal or professional goals and the candidate’s desire to pursue graduate study in English at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and
      • additional details about the candidate’s background, language proficiency, and other personal information relating to individual/career goals that may have influenced the decision to pursue graduate study.
    • A recent academic writing sample of at least 2000 words, which the applicant believes displays exemplary analytic and stylistic features.
    • Three letters of recommendation.
  3. Admission to the program will be granted based upon undergraduate performance, writing ability, demonstrated commitment to professional goals, and other favorable indicators presented in the portfolio. All criteria will be considered, and no factor will be assigned a specific weight. Based upon the English Graduate Committee’s evaluation of the student’s application portfolio, the student will be unconditionally admitted, conditionally admitted, or denied admission. If the student is conditionally admitted, the conditions of acceptance will be stated in writing.
  4. The English Graduate Committee may recommend that applicants lacking the English undergraduate major complete certain upper-division undergraduate English course work before applying to the program.
  5. A limited number of scholarships and graduate assistantships are available to first-year students. Application should be made directly to the English Graduate Program Coordinator.

Degree Requirements

The candidate for the English MA degree must complete 36 graduate hours in English with a “B” average, and must pass the master’s comprehensive examination. Credit for no more than one “C” earned at this university may be applied to the degree.* Each of the three degree tracks includes a required 12-hour core (described below). In addition to the core, students choosing the non-thesis option will take 9 hours in their chosen track, 9 hours of English electives, and the 3 hour capstone course, ENGL 5395 . Students choosing the thesis option will take the core, 9 hours in their chosen track, 6 hours of English electives, and 6 hours of ENGL 5390  (Thesis), 3 hours in one semester and 3 hours in a separate semester. A maximum of 6 credit/no credit hours may count towards the degree for non-thesis students, 9 credit/no credit hours for thesis students (inclusive of ENGL 5390 ).** A maximum of 3 credit hours of ENGL 5396  (Individual Study) may count towards the degree.


*In keeping with University policy, an academic department can have requirements that are stricter than the University’s.  The English department allows fewer grades of C to count toward a graduate degree than some other departments.

**Only ENGL 5399 - Workshop and ENGL 5390 - Thesis may be taken on a credit/no credit basis.

Part One: Core Requirements (12 sem. hrs.)

The English MA Core

All students must complete the following Core Requirements:

Part Two: Track Requirements (12 sem. hrs.)


In addition to the English MA Core, students choose a track to determine the primary focus of their MA in English; however, two exam areas are required and elective hours allow for a great deal of flexibility and overlap in tracks, so students interested in more than one area can fulfill the requirements of their primary track and use elective hours to pursue a secondary area.  The requirements for graduation are determined by a track’s degree plan, listed below.

Composition/Rhetoric/Linguistics Track

Literary Studies Track

Borderlands Track


A list of approved Borderlands courses offered by the English department is available in the current English Handbook for the Master’s Program at http://cla.tamucc.edu/english/pages/graduate.html or from the Graduate Program Coordinator.  For the Borderlands Track only, students may take up to 6 hours of approved courses outside of English to satisfy their elective hour requirement. A partial list of non-English electives approved for Borderlands credit can be found in the English MA Handbook. 

Part Three: Thesis or Capstone Requirements (12 sem. hrs.)

Thesis/Capstone Requirements

Graduate students must choose to write a thesis (Thesis Option) or to not write a thesis (Capstone Option).  The department recommends that students consult with their faculty mentor to determine which choice will work best, given their career goals and other conditions.

Thesis Option

  •   6 sem. hrs.
  • Electives 6 sem. hrs. (* see above note for Borderlands Track)
  • Oral Defense of Thesis

Capstone Option

Additional Requirements:

Written Comprehensive Exam

  • All students must pass both parts of the written comprehensive exam to earn the MA in English.


The thesis option may be an appropriate choice for students depending on their long-term scholarly goals, writing skills, targeted doctoral programs, and plans for further specialization. Students considering a thesis should seek the help of their graduate mentor as early as possible in selecting appropriate course work. Students may apply to write a thesis after completing 18 hours of course work. Once accepted as a thesis candidate, students are expected to work closely with their committee in designing and executing the thesis. The 6 credit hours towards the thesis (ENGL 5390 ) must be taken in two separate semesters. An oral defense of the thesis will be scheduled at the end of the second semester. Thesis guidelines and application forms are available from the English Graduate Program Coordinator or from the office of the Dean in the College of Liberal Arts.

Comprehensive Examination

The English comprehensive examination measures students’ ability to integrate, synthesize, and reflect on the learning achieved during the program. Preparation requires independent reading and scholarship. All candidates for the English MA degree must pass this comprehensive examination, which is administered by the English Graduate Committee, and given in fall and spring (and summer by special request). Students must register for this examination at the appropriate time with the English Graduate Program Coordinator. Students will receive the reading lists for the examination at the start of the semester (fall or spring) that they take their first English graduate class. They should consult with their graduate advisor early in the program on the specific nature and purpose of the comprehensive examination. Full details of the English MA Comprehensive Examination may be obtained from the English Graduate Program Coordinator or from the office of the Dean in the College of Liberal Arts.

Exit Requirements

In addition to meeting the university requirement of a 3.0 GPA or greater, candidates for the MA in English must meet the following exit requirements:

  1. Thesis-option students must defend the thesis in an oral examination; a majority of the thesis committee members must pass the thesis and its defense. Candidates will submit an approved bound copy of the completed thesis to the English Graduate Program Coordinator.
  2. Students pursuing the non-thesis option must successfully complete the ENGL 5395  Capstone course.
  3. All students must pass the comprehensive examination.

Graduate Degree Mentor

Upon admission into the program, the student will be notified of his/her mentor, who will be a member of the English graduate faculty. The student is expected to see his or her mentor prior to registering for any classes in the program. The mentor will work closely with the student to ensure that all degree requirements are met and that each student pursues the most advantageous course of study for his/her future goals.

Degree Plan

The degree plan, signed by the student and his/her mentor, will become official when approved by the Dean. Any courses required as a condition of admission to remove deficiencies in undergraduate academic preparation will be included in the degree plan and must be completed in addition to the graduate hours required for the degree. Degree plans for each MA English program track can be found in the current English Handbook for the Masters Program, available on the English Graduate Program home page. This can be found at http://cla.tamucc.edu/english/pages/graduate.html.

Transfer of Credit

In addition to the University’s general policy on transfer of credit, the following regulations will apply to the MA in English program: Up to 9 semester hours of graduate-level study may be transferred from other regionally accredited institutions of higher education if appropriate to the degree. No course with a grade of less than a “B,” and no course that has counted toward the earning of another graduate degree, will be accepted as transfer credit. Credit that is more than seven years old at the time of graduation will not be counted toward the MA degree.

Good Standing

You must maintain a 3.0 (“B”) grade point average to remain in good standing in the English MA Program. Students whose cumulative GPA drops below 3.0 will be placed on scholastic probation. If, while on scholastic probation, a student’s GPA for any semester again drops below 3.0, he or she will be forced to withdraw from the university for at least one year before reapplying for admission.

For Additional Information



Campus address:

Faculty Center (FC), Room 277; phone: (361) 825-3793

Mailing address:

English MA Program Coordinator
Department of English, College of Liberal Arts
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive
Corpus Christi, Texas 78412-5813