Concentrations

MA in English

The master’s in English at Mason offers students the opportunity to enhance their skills of reading, writing, research and teaching with courses that encompass the wide range of contemporary English studies. Students can work in and across concentrations in literature, professional writing, rhetoric, cultural studies, film, folklore, linguistics, and the teaching of writing and literature. It offers the MA in field-specific concentrations as well as the opportunity to combine a concentration in one field with a certificate from another one. Many students use the MA for professional enhancement, or as an entry into teaching, professional writing, or doctoral study.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Students pursuing this degree must successfully complete 30 credits in one concentration as specified below. 

Students in the concentrations of cultural studies, literature, and teaching of writing and literature must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a foreign language in one of the following ways: submitting an undergraduate (or continuing education) transcript that includes courses corresponding to intermediate proficiency; completing a Mason foreign language course numbered 202 or higher; passing a proficiency exam administered by the English department.

Concentration in Cultural Studies (CULT)

Required Courses  
ENGH 676 Introduction to Cultural Studies 3
ENGH 701 Research in English Studies 3
CULT 802 Histories of Cultural Studies 3
Two Courses  
Select 6 credits from the following: 6
Introduction to Literary Theory  
Seminar in Global Culture  
Seminar in Film and Media Studies  
Feminist Theory and Criticism  
Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English 1  
Literary Theory and Criticism 1  
Seminar in English/Cultural Studies 1  
Three to Five Courses of Literature  
Select 9-15 credits from the following: 9-15
Graduate Literature Survey  
Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies  
Theories of Comparative Literature  
Special Topics in the History and Criticism of Children's Literature  
Graduate Survey in African American Literature  
Topics in Folk Narrative  
Topics in Folklore Studies  
Seminar in British Literature  
Seminar in American Literature  
Seminar in Advanced Research  
Seminar in African-American Literature  
Seminar in Literary Studies  
Seminar in Global Culture  
Seminar in Film and Media Studies  
Advanced Topics in Folklore Studies  
Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English  
Literary Theory and Criticism  
Projects in Literary Studies  
Optional Project or Thesis  
Select 3-6 credits of a project or a thesis from the following: 3-6
Project: 2
 
Projects in Literary Studies (3 credits)  
Thesis: 3
 
Thesis (6 credits)  
Total Credits 30
1

ENGH 685 Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English, ENGH 705 Literary Theory and Criticism, and ENGH 740 Seminar in English/Cultural Studies may be repeated once with permission of the director of graduate studies.

2

Students who choose a project take 3 fewer credits of literature.

3

Students who choose a thesis take 6 fewer credits of literature.

Concentration in Linguistics (LING)

The linguistics concentration combines courses in linguistics with courses in some related area of language study, such as teaching English as a second language, bilingual education, or foreign language teaching. This course of study is designed to prepare students for teaching in one of these fields or for doctoral work. The certificate in teaching English as a second language (TESL) can be earned concurrently.

Core Courses  
LING 580 First Language Acquisition 3
LING 690 Generative Phonology 3
LING 692 Phonology II 3
LING 785 Semantics and Pragmatics 3
LING 786 Syntax I 3
LING 787 Syntax II 3
Electives  
Select 12 credits of electives 1 12
Total Credits 30
1

In consultation with an advisor, chosen from courses that reflect one or more areas of language study. Electives can be in such areas as linguistics, the teaching of reading or writing, literary criticism, bilingual education, or a foreign language, and may include 6 credits of thesis.

Concentration in Literature (LIT)

Required Courses 1  
ENGH 551 Introduction to Literary Theory 3
ENGH 701 Research in English Studies 3
Literature  
Select 18 credits from the following: 2 18
Graduate Literature Survey  
Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies  
Theories of Comparative Literature  
Special Topics in the History and Criticism of Children's Literature  
Graduate Survey in African American Literature  
Topics in Folk Narrative  
Topics in Folklore Studies  
Seminar in British Literature  
Seminar in American Literature  
Seminar in Advanced Research  
Seminar in African-American Literature  
Seminar in Literary Studies  
Seminar in Global Culture  
Seminar in Film and Media Studies  
Advanced Topics in Folklore Studies  
Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English  
Literary Theory and Criticism  
Projects in Literary Studies  
Two Electives or Thesis 6
Select 6 credits of Electives 3
 
Thesis  
Total Credits 30
1

Must be taken in the first 12 credits of the degree. Another course in literary theory and criticism may substitute for ENGH 551 Introduction to Literary Theory with prior written approval of the graduate director.

2

Courses fulfilling this requirement must include at least three 600-level ENGH seminars. Graduate seminars involve focused study of a topic with significant attention to scholarship in the field.

3

Electives taught within the English department may be taken without permission of the graduate director. A maximum of six credits of related study outside the department may substitute for the equivalent number of elective credits, with permission of the graduate director.

4

Students who choose a thesis take 6 fewer credits of literature or electives.

Concentration in Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR)

Required Courses  
ENGH 501 Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric 1 3
ENGH 502 Research Methods in Rhetoric and Professional Writing 3
ENGH 503 Theory and Practice of Editing 3
ENGH 505 Document Design 3
Professional Writing  
Select 9 credits from the following: 9
Internship  
Research for Narrative Writing  
Web Authoring and Design  
Digital Rhetoric  
Proposal Writing and Development  
Online Writing  
Studies in Rhetoric  
Cultures of Professional Writing  
Technical Communication  
Proseminar in Composition Instruction  
Advanced Proposal Writing  
Special Topics in Writing and Rhetoric  
Northern Virginia Writing Project Teacher/Research Seminar  
Composition Theory  
Theory  
Select 3 credits from the following: 3
Digital Rhetoric  
Introduction to Literary Theory  
Studies in Rhetoric  
Feminist Theory and Criticism  
Introduction to Cultural Studies  
Electives in English  
Select 0-3 credits of electives in English 0-3
Project or Thesis  
Select 3-6 credits of a project or thesis 3-6
Project: 2
 
Projects in Professional Writing and Rhetoric (3 credits)  
Thesis:
 
Thesis (6 credits)  
Total Credits 30
1

ENGH 501 Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric should be taken in the first semester of study, if possible.

2

Students who choose a project take one additional elective of 3 credits.

Concentration in the Teaching of Writing and Literature (TWL)

Research Courses  
ENGH 701 Research in English Studies 3
ENGH 602 Pedagogical Research 3
Teaching Writing  
Select 3 credits from the following: 3
Proseminar in Composition Instruction  
Northern Virginia Writing Project Inservice Program 1  
Workshop in English 2  
Teaching Literature  
Select 3 credits from the following: 3
Proseminar in Teaching the Reading of Literature 3  
Northern Virginia Writing Project Inservice Program 1  
Composition Theory  
ENGH 697 Composition Theory 3
or ENGH 611 Studies in Rhetoric
Literature Courses  
Select 6 credits from courses in the Literature Concentration 6
Linguistics Course  
Select 3 credits from the following. 4 3
Introduction to Linguistics  
Field Work in Applied Linguistics  
Applied Linguistics: Teaching English as a Second Language  
Modern English Grammar  
EDCI 519
Methods of Teaching Culturally Linguistically Diverse Learners  
Psycholinguistics  
Electives  
6 credits of electives 6
Optional Thesis  
Select 6 credits of thesis in place of elective requirement.  
Thesis (6 credits)  
Total Credits 30
1

Offered only to full-time teachers through school district contracts.

2

NVWP Summer Institute, open to full-time teachers on an invitation basis. 

3

Open to non-TAs in the spring semester. 

4

Note all courses, with exception of LING 520 Introduction to Linguistics, have prerequisites.

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