The master of arts program in English provides broad coverage in texts of British, American and other Anglophone literatures. Through seminar courses, students develop extensive knowledge of literature, literary critical methods and analytical writing. Students who complete the master’s program at Marquette go on to doctoral studies, pursue careers in education, or enter business, health care, journalism and other professions.
30 credits required: A master’s student is admitted to the Plan B (non-thesis) program which requires 30 credit hours of course work beyond the bachelor’s degree. At least 24 credits must be taken in English Department courses, and at least 24 credits must be graduate courses numbered at the 6000-level. Up to two courses may be taken at the 5000 level when approved by the Director of Graduate Studies in English.
Comprehensive exam: All master’s students must pass a written comprehensive examination to earn the degree.
Learning Objectives: At the completion of the English M.A. degree program, graduates are able to:
Rotation of Graduate Courses (through 2014-2015)
A. Students entering in fall of 2015 and thereafter: In the spring of 2015, the English department revised the M.A. curriculum. For students entering in the fall of 2015 and thereafter, the distribution requirements consist of three elements:
1. Period Distribution requirements (18 credits):
2. Theory and Methods requirements (3-6 credits)
3. Electives (6-9 credits, depending on whether 6840 is required)
B. Students graduating prior to August 2016 fall under the previous curriculum and, as such, are required to complete one course in each of the following areas:
Under this curriculum, up to two courses taken elsewhere may satisfy distribution requirements if they are equivalent to Marquette offerings, pending approval by the Director of Graduate Studies. Where no graduate level course is available to satisfy requirements, an undergraduate course on the same topic may be substituted, taken for graduate credit (5000 level).
Assessment Learning Objectives for M.A. Program (prior to fall 2015)
All master’s students must pass a written comprehensive examination to earn the degree. It is offered twice annually, in March and August. For the academic year 2015-2016, two exam formats exist as we transition from the previous to the revised curriculum. Accordingly:
A. Students entering in fall of 2015 and thereafter are required to complete a take-home written essay exam, administered over a period of three days, though which they are expected to demonstrate broad knowledge of Anglophone literary histories, works, genres, contexts and major theoretical approaches by constructing persuasive critical arguments that effectively enter into scholarly conversations about literature. The exam is divided into four sections:
A selection of questions is provided in each section and the student chooses one (per section) to answer. Responses to sections 1-3 should range from 1200-1800 words, per section; responses to section 4 should range from 800-1200 words. A list of works cited and/or consulted is also required and is not included in the essay word limits.
Reading list: This exam is based on a combination of coursework and a reading list consisting of 36 authors (12 representing each literary period). This list is created annually by the teaching faculty for the incoming M.A. cohort. Lists will be provided to students during the fall of their first semester in the program.
Preparation and evaluation of exam:This exam is prepared and evaluated by a committee of six examiners, with two members representing each literary period. A majority vote (i.e. 4 of 6) is required for a passing grade. The exam performance is judged as a whole.
B. Students graduating prior to December 2016 are required to complete a 6-hour written comprehensive examination in two historical fields chosen from the following three:
Each field exam takes four hours and is divided into two parts. Part one is designed to test the student's powers of synthesis. It lasts three hours and consists of three groups of questions from which the student chooses one (per group) to answer. Part two tests the student's competence in the techniques of literary analysis. It lasts one hour and consists of four passages of poetry or prose from which the student chooses one to analyze critically.
Reading list: This exam is based on a combination of coursework and this reading list: MA Exam Reading List.
Preparation and evaluation of exam: This exam is prepared and evaluated by a committee of four examiners, with two members representing each field. A majority vote (i.e., 3 of 4) is required for a passing grade. The exam performance is judged as a whole.
Test-taking Tips: Faculty offer the following advice for taking this format of the M.A. exam. In addition, resources for studying for this format of the M.A. exam are available in a SharePoint site, accessible to all M.A. students. Additional information about this exam can be found below.