Oct 26, 2020  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 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, literature, and writing. The program offers a variety of opportunities designed to:

  • further students’ understanding of writing, composition theory, linguistics, literature, and literary theory; encourage awareness and application of transnational and/or border studies perspectives;
  • encourage awareness and application of transnational and/or border studies perspectives;
  • develop accomplished teachers of English at the secondary and community college levels;
  • prepare skilled professional/technical writers and writing trainers;
  • provide students with the background and skills needed to pursue terminal degrees in English or American Studies.

The English MA faculty is committed to an intergrated understanding of English as a field of 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 and application 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 Recruitment and Admissions, with duplicate materials submitted to the English Graduate Program Coordinator.
  2. Applicants must submit through the Office of Recruitment and Admissions 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.

Course Requirements

The candidate for the English MA degree must complete 36 graduate hours in English with a “B” average and must pass the exit comprehensive examination. Credit for no more than one “C” earned at this university may be applied to the degree.*  In addition to the 9 hours of core courses, students choosing the thesis option will take 9 hours of core courses,  6 hours in Writing studies, 6 hours in Literary Studies, 9 hours of English electives, and 6 hours of ENGL 5390 (Thesis), 3 hours in one semester and 3 hours in a separate semester.  Students choosing the non-thesis option will take 9 hours of core courses, 6 hours in Writing Studies, 6 hours in Literary Studies, 12 hours of English electives, and a 3-hour course in a specialty field (Literary Studies, Writing Studies, or Linguistics) selected by the student, with the approval of the faculty of record.  This will serve as his/her Capstone experience.  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.

Part One: Core Requirements (9 sem. hrs.)

All students must complete the following:

Part Two: Writing Studies and Literary Studies

Writing Studies

All students must take 6 hours in the following Writing Studies Courses:


Students are encouraged to take at least one American literature course to help prepare them for the exit examination which will include readings from both fields of study.

Part Three: Electives

In addition to the 9 hours of core requirements, 6 hours in Writing Studies, and 6 hours in Literary Studies, students must complete 9 hours of electives (Thesis Option) or 15 hours of electives (Non-Thesis).  Any of the courses listed above in Writing Studies, Literary Studies, and Linguistics as well as those listed below may be taken for elective credit hours.*


*With the approval of the English Graduate Committee, students may take 3 hours in a discipline outside of English as part of his/her elective hours.

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 and the Bell Library.  Prior to that submission, students will work with the College of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Advisor to ensure that their thesis meets the publishing requirements set forth by the University.
  2. Students pursuing the non-thesis option must successfully complete their Capstone experience course.
  3. All students must pass a written comprehensive exam.

Thesis or Captstone Requirements

Students may choose the Thesis Option or the Capstone Option to serve as part of their exit requirement. The department recommends that the students consult with their faculty mentor to determine which choice will work best, given their career goals, time constraints and other concerns.

Thesis Option

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 or when the committee chair determines that the student is ready to defend.  Thesis guidelines and application forms are available from the English Graduate Program Coordinator or from the office of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

  • ENGL 5395 Thesis  3 sem. hrs. (semester 1)
  • ENGL 5395 Thesis  3 sem. hrs. (semester 2)
  • Electives 9 sem. hrs. (See above Part Two and Part Three)
  • Oral Defense of Thesis

Students must use the required College of Graduate Studies forms and meet the deadlines for thesis committee formation and scheduling of the thesis defense. The thesis must meet the College of Graduate Studies thesis formatting requirements in addition to those of their discipline. For CGS deadlines and forms, refer to the CGS website and/or CGS Masters Handbook.

Capstone Option

Students electing not to write a thesis will identify a course during their last two semesters of the program to serve as their Capstone experience (with the approval of the faculty of record).  This course should be in their area of interest so as to provide them with an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the field through 1) content and skill building gained from the course material 2) independent research and 3) review of past knowledge gained from former seminars to apply to their final research project. Following the guidelines in the graduate handbook, students will create a contract with faculty of record, which they will submit to the Graduate Committee for approval. The Capstone course may not be a core course.

  • Capstone Experience 3 sem. hrs.
  • Electives 12 sem. hrs. (See above Part Three: Electives)

Written Comprehensive Examination

The English comprehensive examination measures students’ ability to integrate, synthesize, and reflect on the learning achieved during the program. While students receive a solid foundation in both Writing Studies and Literary Studies, they will become more specialized in one of the two areas through independent reading and research in preparation for the comprehensive exam. All candidates must pass this comprehensive examination to receive their MA degree. 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 English graduate handbook.

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.  Students are expected to meet with their mentor once a semester as they advance through 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

Each student working toward a graduate degree is responsible for meeting the requirements outlined in the degree plan. The student is also responsible for meeting all deadlines: program application, examination, and graduate application. If the deadlines for examination and graduation application are not met, the student will not graduate that semester. In no instance will a student be admitted to degree candidacy without an approved and completed degree plan on file in the office of the Dean of College of Liberal Arts. Amendments to the degree plan must be proposed by the student and approved by the degree committee or program advisor and the Dean of College of Liberal Arts. Amendments to the degree plan must be proposed by the student and approved by the degree committee or program advisor or college dean.

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

Students 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. Grades are not replaced when repeated at the graduate level.

For Additional Information



Campus address:

Faculty Center (FC), Room 267; phone: (361) 825-2483

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