Master of Arts: English

The Department of English offers the Master of Arts in English, which focuses on literary study, as well as two emphasis areas that allow students to concentrate their studies in a particular area: 1) Language and Literature, and 2) Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing. Through courses in English and American literature, creative and expository writing, film, linguistics, composition/rhetoric, literary criticism, the history of books and print culture, as well as editing, these programs of study are designed to prepare students for teaching, research, and writing careers, for careers in editing, and for further study at the doctoral level. The 31-hour M.A. in English is designed for students desiring a general background in English and American literature and is strongly recommended for students planning further graduate study in English and/or American literature.

The Language and Literature emphasis is designed for students who wish to combine graduate study of literature with the study of linguistics and/or composition and rhetoric. This emphasis is recommended for students interested in teaching in community colleges or secondary schools and for students interested in pursuing the Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric or linguistics.

The Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing emphasis is designed for students who wish to combine the study of literature with the study of book history, print culture, and editing. This emphasis is recommended for students interested in editorial careers, offering several internship experiences in print and online media, and for students interesting in pursuing the Ph.D. in book history and print culture.

Members of the graduate faculty are assigned as advisors to newly admitted M.A. students. New graduate students should meet with their advisors as soon as possible to prepare an official program of study.

Admission

The application process is competitive. Satisfying the admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the program.

The applicant must hold:

  • a B.A. in English, or a B.A. degree that includes at least 30 hours of sophomore-, junior- or senior-level English courses, or the equivalent. Applicants with fewer than 30 hours of undergraduate English courses may be admitted and assigned additional coursework as part of their program. These extra hours are added to the hours required for graduation.
  • a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average in undergraduate work and a 3.0 average in undergraduate English coursework. In unusual circumstances, the graduate committee may consider applicants with lower grade-point averages.

The applicant must submit:

  • a complete application to the university. The university application should be sent to the UMKC Admissions Office. All other materials should be sent to Graduate Programs, Department of English, Cockefair Hall 106.
  • a complete Application for Admission to the Master of Arts: English.
  • a recommended 60 percent or higher score on the verbal aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
  • a writing sample, ideally with a research component, that demonstrates the applicant's writing abilities in the humanities in up to 15 pages of recent academic prose.
  • a 400-500 word statement of purpose that describes the applicant's preparation and plans for graduate work in English, area(s) of interest or concentration, and academic and professional objectives.
  • three letters of recommendation that evaluate the applicant's readiness for graduate study written by three professors or others who know the applicant's abilities and potential well.

Students may not take more than six hours of graduate credit in English before entering the program as a "fully admitted" student.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Create sophisticated academic arguments that situate texts within aesthetic, social, and historical context.
  • Produce work in dialogue with current and historical conversations in the field;
  • Evaluate and engage methodological approaches appropriate to academic discourse;
  • Develop and defend, both orally and in writing, their critical perspectives;
  • Synthesize an understanding of interrelations across diverse fields of study;
  • Demonstrate a broad grounding in the diversity of fields in English studies.
  • Produce written work in a vivid, appropriate style that demonstrates mastery of mechanics and grammar.

Degree Requirements

Students must earn 31 graduate credits to complete the M.A. in English. Of these credits, at least 15 hours must be at graduate level (courses numbered 5000 and above) and taught by a member of the graduate faculty and at least 9 hours must be in 5000-level seminars or other 5000-level courses which are not cross-listed with 400-level courses.

Students must take ENGLISH 5500, ENGLISH 5547,  and one hour of ENGLISH 5601, ENGLISH 5602, or ENGLISH 5603 for their "Culminating Experience," as is appropriate depending on the focus of their studies.

Students must maintain a 3.0 (B) grade-point average to remain in the M.A. program and to complete the degree.

By the time of graduation from the M.A. program, students must fulfill a foreign language requirement by satisfactorily completing (with a C or better) one year (two university semesters) of the same foreign language. Alternatively, the foreign language requirement may be satisfied by scoring a "C" on the final exam of the first-year, second-semester course in a foreign language.

Students must remain continuously enrolled, except in summer, for a minimum of 1 credit hour per semester. ENGLISH 5899 is the continuous enrollment course number.

Students must complete a formal Program of Study and have it signed within a year after admission. A final Program of Study must be submitted and signed during the semester a student files to graduate.

Students must complete all coursework within seven years.

Students must take at least one course from five of the seven designated areas, including at least one course from areas I & II, one course from areas III & IV, and one course from areas V-VII:

I. Criticism and Scholarship
ENGLISH 447/5547Theory and Criticism in English Studies3
ENGLISH 5550GGraduate Seminar Literary Criticism3
ENGLISH 5555GGraduate Seminar Literary Criticism3
II. Language and Rhetoric
ENGLISH 445/5545History And Principles Of Rhetoric3
ENGLISH 470Introduction To Descriptive Linguistics3
ENGLISH 5519Teaching Writing: Theories, Histories, Contexts, Practices3
ENGLISH 5550JGraduate Seminar: History Of The English Language3
ENGLISH 5550MGraduate Seminar In Rhetoric And Composition3
ENGLISH 5555JGraduate Seminar English Language3
ENGLISH 5555MGraduate Seminar: Composition3
III. Literature Through the Middle Ages
ENGLISH 412/5512Chaucer3
ENGLISH 422/5522Medieval Literature3
ENGLISH 452/5552Early English Drama3
ENGLISH 5503Old English3
ENGLISH 5550AGraduate Seminar Medieval Literature I3
ENGLISH 5555AGraduate Seminar Medieval Literature II3
IV. Renaissance Literature
ENGLISH 413/5513Renaissance Literature I3
ENGLISH 414/5514Milton3
ENGLISH 423/5523Renaissance Literature II3
ENGLISH 451/5551Shakespeare Comedies And Histories3
ENGLISH 452/5552Early English Drama3
ENGLISH 461/5561Shakespeare Tragedies And Romances3
ENGLISH 5550BGraduate Seminar Renaissance Literature I3
ENGLISH 5555BGraduate Seminar Renaissance Literature II3
V. Late 17th- and 18th-Century Literature
ENGLISH 415/5515Restoration And Early 18th-Century British Literature3
ENGLISH 416/5516The Romantic Period3
ENGLISH 426/5526The Victorian Period3
ENGLISH 455/5556Studies In The Novel 1740-1900 13
ENGLISH 462/5562Restoration And 18th-Century Drama3
ENGLISH 5550CGraduate Seminar Neo-Classical Literature I3
ENGLISH 5555CGraduate Seminar Neo-Classical Literature I3
VI. Nineteenth-Century Literature
ENGLISH 410/5510Black Women Writers 23
ENGLISH 416/5516The Romantic Period 13
ENGLISH 418/551819th-Century American Literature3
ENGLISH 426/5526The Victorian Period3
ENGLISH 440/5540American Culture 23
ENGLISH 455/5556Studies In The Novel 1740-1900 13
ENGLISH 5550DGraduate Seminar 19th Century Literature I3
ENGLISH 5550EGraduate Seminar American Literature I3
ENGLISH 5555DGraduate Seminar In 19th-Century Literature II3
VII. Twentieth-Century Literature
ENGLISH 410/5510Black Women Writers 23
ENGLISH 417/5517Modern Poetry3
ENGLISH 427/5527Contemporary Poetry3
ENGLISH 428/552820th-Century American Literature3
ENGLISH 440/5540American Culture 23
ENGLISH 453/5553Modern Drama, 1880-19453
ENGLISH 463/5563Contemporary Drama II3
ENGLISH 465/5565Studies In The Modern Novel3
ENGLISH 5550FGraduate Seminar Modern Literature I3
ENGLISH 5555EGraduate Seminar American Literature II3
ENGLISH 5555FGraduate Seminar In Modern Literature II3
1

Satisfies 18th- or 19th-Century requirement, depending on the content.

2

Satisfies 19th- or 20th-Century requirement, depending on the content.

Other courses in the catalog at the 400 or 500 level may satisfy an area requirement if the content is appropriate.

Students who focus on Literature must complete ENGLISH 5601 on a topic related to the study of Literature.

Language and Literature Emphasis

If desired, a student may elect the Language and Literature Emphasis when obtaining the M.A. in English. At least 12 hours selected from the following list of courses are required:

ENGLISH 445/5545History And Principles Of Rhetoric3
ENGLISH 447/5547Theory and Criticism in English Studies3
ENGLISH 470Introduction To Descriptive Linguistics3
ENGLISH 5519Teaching Writing: Theories, Histories, Contexts, Practices3
ENGLISH 5550G/5555GGraduate Seminar Literary Criticism3
ENGLISH 5550J/5555JGraduate Seminar: History Of The English Language3
ENGLISH 5550M/5555MGraduate Seminar In Rhetoric And Composition3
ENGLISH 5550PGraduate Seminar: Sociolinguistics And Dialectology3
Total Credits31

For students interested in teaching in community colleges or secondary schools or in pursuing a Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric, ENGLISH 5519 is highly recommended. ENGLISH 5519 is required for graduate teaching assistants.

In addition to the requirements for areas I & II, students must take at least one course from three of the five remaining areas (III-VII), including at least one course from areas III-IV and at least one course from areas V-VII.

Students who focus on Language & Literature must complete ENGLISH 5602 on a topic related to the study of Language & Literature.

Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing Emphasis

If desired, a student may elect the Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing Emphasis when obtaining the M.A. in English. This emphasis examines the social, cultural, economic, and political history of the written word. It considers relationships among authors, editors, publishers, printers, illustrators, and booksellers as well as the reception of texts by readers, reviewers, and critics. In addition, it allows students to study the production of texts through the centuries while also gaining hands-on editing experience through internal and external publishing internships. Students will take a wide variety of courses covering a range of historical periods that have a significant emphasis on the history of reading, writing, and authorship as well as courses that focus on aspects of contemporary publishing and editing.

This emphasis also follows the distribution requirements for the M.A. in English, and it requires that students take twelve (12) of the 31 required credit hours in courses that have been designated as ones fulfilling the goals of the emphasis in Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing; some courses will always be so designated, including the following:

ENGLISH 448External Internship1-3
ENGLISH 449APublication Practicum1-3
ENGLISH 449BPublication Practicum3
ENGLISH 5501Magazine Editing3
ENGLISH 5533Histories Of Writing, Reading, And Publishing3
ENGLISH 5541Girls And Print Culture3

The following courses may also be used to fulfill the requirements for the emphasis in Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing if approved by the Graduate Committee. Each semester, courses so designated will be listed in the Department of English course descriptions handout, available in the Department office and on the Department website:

ENGLISH 5508Harlem Renaissance3
ENGLISH 5510Black Women Writers3
ENGLISH 5512Chaucer3
ENGLISH 5513Renaissance Literature I3
ENGLISH 5514Milton3
ENGLISH 5515Restoration And Early 18th-Century British Literature3
ENGLISH 5516The Romantic Period3
ENGLISH 5517Modern Poetry3
ENGLISH 551819th-Century American Literature3
ENGLISH 5522Medieval Literature3
ENGLISH 5523Renaissance Literature II3
ENGLISH 5526The Victorian Period3
ENGLISH 5527Contemporary Poetry3
ENGLISH 552820th Century American Literature3
ENGLISH 5531Late 18th-Century British Literature3
ENGLISH 5534Postcolonial Literature3
ENGLISH 5540American Culture3
ENGLISH 5545History And Principles Of Rhetoric3
ENGLISH 5550AGraduate Seminar Medieval Literature I3
ENGLISH 5550BGraduate Seminar Renaissance Literature I3
ENGLISH 5550CGraduate Seminar Neo-Classical Literature I3
ENGLISH 5550DGraduate Seminar 19th Century Literature I3
ENGLISH 5550EGraduate Seminar American Literature I3
ENGLISH 5550FGraduate Seminar Modern Literature I3
ENGLISH 5550IGraduate Seminar In Dramatic Literature I3
ENGLISH 5551Shakespeare Comedies And Histories3
ENGLISH 5552Early English Drama3
ENGLISH 5553Modern Drama 1880-19453
ENGLISH 5555AGraduate Seminar Medieval Literature II3
ENGLISH 5555BGraduate Seminar Renaissance Literature II3
ENGLISH 5555CGraduate Seminar Neo-Classical Literature I3
ENGLISH 5555DGraduate Seminar In 19th-Century Literature II3
ENGLISH 5555EGraduate Seminar American Literature II3
ENGLISH 5555FGraduate Seminar In Modern Literature II3
ENGLISH 5555IGraduate Seminar In Dramatic Literature II3
ENGLISH 5556Studies In The Novel 1740-19003
ENGLISH 5561Shakespeare:Tragedies And Romances3
ENGLISH 5562Restoration And 18th- Century Drama3
ENGLISH 5563Contemporary Drama3
ENGLISH 5565Studies In Modern Novel3
Total Credits31

New courses may receive the designation if approved by the Department of English’s Graduate Committee.

Students who elect the MPCE emphasis must complete ENGLISH 5603 on a topic related to the study of Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing.

Culminating Experience

At the end of their M.A. course work (either in the last semester or the second to last semester), all M.A. students in English will revise a seminar paper (written in a previous course) under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The goal of the revisions will be to create a polished paper of about 20-30 pages that could be the basis for a conference paper, a writing sample, or a publishable article.

Students will enroll in and successfully complete one hour of ENGLISH 5601, ENGLISH 5602, or ENGLISH 5603 for their "Culminating Experience," as is appropriate depending on the focus of their studies. Enrollment is required in order to work on this final paper with their chosen faculty mentor.

Final papers will be reviewed by a faculty committee that will rotate each academic year. The committee will consist of two assigned members of the graduate faculty appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies, who will work with the student's faculty mentor.

Students will turn in their revised papers to their mentors and the review committee at least two weeks prior to the end of the semester. The mentor is responsible for arranging a meeting with the student and the review committee before the end of the semester in which the Culminating Experience is taken. After conducting a defense about the paper and providing feedback for the student, the mentor and the review committee will assign a grade of pass or fail. Students must complete the oral defense in order to pass.

In addition to the department requirements above, graduate students in English must comply with the requirements listed in the General Graduate Academic Regulations and Information section of this catalog.