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
Compostition 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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