Program Description

The English M.A. at Marshall University is designed to meet the increasingly diverse needs of today’s graduate students. Students are encouraged to approach their studies from the perspective that best serves their academic purposes and/or career plans, be it Literary Studies, Composition/Rhetoric, Creative Writing and/or TESOL/Linguistics. To this end, our program offers a great deal of flexibility at all levels.

Program Goals

Upon completion of the program students will be able to:

  • articulate core issues in Literary Studies, Composition/Rhetoric, Creative Writing, and/or TESOL/Linguistics from diverse perspectives; critique the major figures, works, and ideas in one or more of the above areas;
  • apply the research methods and approaches to inquiry used in Literary Studies, Composition/Rhetoric, Creative Writing, and/or TESOL/Linguistics;
  • articulate recent developments in these fields as influenced by other disciplines;
  • elucidate major critical and cultural theories in Literary Studies, Composition/Rhetoric, Creative Writing, and/or TESOL/Linguistics, and assess sources on those thoeries in relation to the field;
  • prepare a capstone project that demonstrates advanced knowledge and applied learning in Literary Studies, Composition/Rhetoric, Creative Writing, and/or TESOL/Linguistics.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should follow the admissions process described in this catalog or at the Graduate Admissions website. All admission materials must be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office.

In addition, to be admitted to the English department, an applicant must have:

  • an undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all previously completed undergraduate university work (otherwise strong candidates may be fully admitted with a 2.75 GPA);
  • a letter of interest/ personal statement identifying the applicant’s reasons for pursuing an M.A. and how the degree will contribute to the applicant’s broader plans (1-2 pages);
  • a writing sample of 8-12 pages (scholarly essay, creative writing, or language study), prefaced by a brief explanation of why this work has been selected;
  • at least three letters of recommendation, preferably from college instructors.

International students and applicants who have earned a degree from a non-English institution must provide proof of English proficiency as follows: minimum of 80 on TOEFL IBT (or 550 paper based); IELTS 6.5.

Conditional Admission

The English M.A. program may admit applicants conditionally for one term, on a limited basis, at the discretion of the program.

Provisional Admission

The English M.A. program may admit applicants provisionally for one term, on a limited basis, at the discretion of the program.

Program Requirements

To earn the master’s degree in English the candidate must:complete 36 hours of coursework;

  • All students (with the exception of those completing the TESOL Area of Emphasis) must take ENG 630 in their first fall semester.
  • Teaching Assistants must take ENG 560 in the fall semester and ENG 640 in their first spring semester.
  • Students are encouraged to select courses that best serve their academic purposes or career plans.
  • Students may take up to six graduate hours for credit outside the English Department as part of their coursework. In order to count toward credit for graduation, these courses must be relevant to the degree and be approved by the Department Chair and the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • complete a capstone project from one of the following options:
    • Thesis (6 credit hours of ENG 681)
    • Portfolio (ENG 682 plus a 600-level course of the student’s choosing)
    • Comprehensive Exams (ENG 683 plus a 600-level course of the student’s choosing)
  • maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average
  • earn six credit hours in a language other than English. Requirement may be fulfilled by:
    • documenting previous undergraduate coursework;
    • taking undergraduate courses while enrolled in the M.A. program (however, undergraduate courses do not count toward the M.A. degree)
    • demonstrating language ability to the satisfaction of the English Department.

Plan of Study

Before registering for the 12th credit hour, students are required to file a Plan of Study with the Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate College. The Plan of Study is a student’s blueprint for graduation.

Good Standing

In addition to the requirements in the Graduate College’s standards for Good Standing, a student pursing an M.A. in English will
1) earn no more than two grades of C or lower in any graduate course.

M.A. in English with Area of Emphasis in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

This area of emphasis in the M.A. program prepares students to teach English to adult speakers of other languages. The core curriculum explores both language pedagogy and applied linguistic theory. Upon completion of the degree, students will (1) be familiar with current methodologies in language teaching, (2) be able to use research findings within applied linguistics to make informed pedagogical decisions for local contexts, and (3) be able to engage in reflective teaching and observation practices.

Course Requirements

  • ENG 575 Introduction to Linguistics

Required 3-credit hour courses:

  • ENG 578 Introduction to Sociolinguistics
  • ENG 615 TESOL Methods
  • ENG 618 TESOL Language Assessment
  • ENG 622 Second Language Learning
  • ENG 626 Systemic Functional Grammar
  • ENG 670 Observation Practicum TESOL

Choose 1 from:

  • ENG 681 Thesis
  • ENG 682 Portfolio
  • ENG 683 Comprehensive Exams

Choose 3 from:

  • ENG 508 Advanced Expository Writing
  • ENG 560 Composition and Writing Center Theory
  • ENG 617 TESOL Curriculum Development and Materials Design
  • ENG 627 Text Analysis
  • ENG 633 Research Methods and Applied Linguistics
  • ENG 634 Teaching English for Academic Purposes
  • ENG 638 Language and Context
  • ENG 640 Composition Pedagogy
  • ENG 671 Teaching Practicum TESOL

Choose 1 Pure Elective (any Marshall course offered at the graduate level)

Total number of credit hours: 33