Master of Arts: English

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.

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 Rhetoric, 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 Rhetoric 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.

Applicants will be asked to submit the following materials with their online application:

  1. Academic information, including institutions attended, degrees earned, GPA, foreign language experience, honors and awards, and relevant work experience
  2. Writing sample that demonstrates the applicant's writing abilities in the humanities in up to 15 pages of recent academic prose (upload file)
  3. Statement of purpose that describes the applicant’s academic and professional objectives in an essay of 500-600 words, discussing in detail their interest, research, and writing in their emphasis area (upload file)
  4. 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 (provide email addresses and recommenders will receive instructions to upload letters)
  5. Transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended (mail to UMKC Office of Admissions, 5100 Rockhill Road, 120 Administrative Center, 64110)
  6. Graduate Teaching Assistantship application materials, if applying, including a 250-500 word teaching statement addressing the applicant’s interest in and qualifications for teaching, and an academic writing sample from an upper-level college course (upload files)

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

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. Previous undergraduate coursework may be used to satisfy this requirement. Old English may satisfy one semester of this requirement. Foreign language credits do not apply toward the 31-hour degree requirement, unless taken at the graduate level.

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.

I. Required Courses
ENGLISH 5500Graduate Study In English3
ENGLISH 447/5547Theory and Criticism in English Studies3
II. Literary and Rhetorical Studies3
Studies in Rhetoric and Composition
Studies in Authorship
Studies in Genre
Teaching Writing: Theories, Histories, Contexts, Practices
Introduction To Descriptive Linguistics
Graduate Seminar: History Of The English Language
Graduate Seminar In Rhetoric And Composition
Graduate Seminar English Language
Graduate Seminar: Composition
III. Early Period Literature3
Classical Studies
Medieval Studies
Early Modern Studies
18th-Century Studies
Old English
Graduate Seminar Medieval Literature I
Graduate Seminar Medieval Literature II
Graduate Seminar Renaissance Literature I
Graduate Seminar Renaissance Literature II
Graduate Seminar Neo-Classical Literature I
Graduate Seminar Neo-Classical Literature I
IV. Late Period Literature3
19th-Century Studies
20th- and 21st-Century Studies
19th-Century American Literature
Graduate Seminar 19th Century Literature I
Graduate Seminar American Literature I
Graduate Seminar In 19th-Century Literature II
Graduate Seminar Modern Literature I
Graduate Seminar American Literature II
Graduate Seminar In Modern Literature II
V. Electives15
Five graduate-level English classes not previously taken for one of the requirements listed above. One creative writing class may be taken as an elective.
VI. Culminating Experience1
Culminating Experience in Literature
Culminating Experience in Language & Literature
Culminating Experience in Manuscript, Print Culture, & Editing.
Total Credits31

Language and Rhetoric Emphasis

If desired, a student may elect the Language and Rhetoric Emphasis when obtaining the M.A. in English. Students who have selected this emphasis must complete the requirements listed below.

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.

I. Required Courses
ENGLISH 5500Graduate Study In English3
ENGLISH 447/5547Theory and Criticism in English Studies3
II. Rhetoric and Composition9
Studies in Rhetoric and Composition
Teaching Writing: Theories, Histories, Contexts, Practices
Graduate Seminar In Rhetoric And Composition
Graduate Seminar: Composition
III. Electives15
Five graduate-level English classes not previously taken for one of the requirements listed above. One creative writing class may be taken as an elective.
VI. Culminating Experience1
Culminating Experience in Language & Literature
Total Credits31

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.

Students who have selected this emphasis must complete the requirements listed below.

I. Required Courses
ENGLISH 5500Graduate Study In English3
ENGLISH 447/5547Theory and Criticism in English Studies3
II. Literary and Rhetorical Studies3
Studies in Rhetoric and Composition
Studies in Authorship
Studies in Genre
Teaching Writing: Theories, Histories, Contexts, Practices
Introduction To Descriptive Linguistics
Graduate Seminar: History Of The English Language
Graduate Seminar In Rhetoric And Composition
Graduate Seminar English Language
Graduate Seminar: Composition
III. Manuscript and Print Culture3
Histories Of Writing, Reading, And Publishing
Girls, Literacies, and Print Culture
Paleography
IV. Editing, Publishing, and Digital Humanities3
Magazine Editing
External Internship
Publication Practicum
Publication Practicum
Publication Practicum
Studies in Digital Humanities
V. Electives15
Five graduate-level English classes not previously taken for one of the requirements listed above. One creative writing class may be taken as an elective.
VI. Culminating Experience1
Culminating Experience in Manuscript, Print Culture, & Editing.
Total Credits31

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.