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Course Structure

Our English MA course offerings are structured so that students:

Course Goals

The English MA Program's courses feature:

Courses and Concentrations

Each student sequences his or her courses to create a concentration in literature, composition, or creative writing. A student can combine concentrations and is encouraged to explore courses outside of his or her concentration. Coursework prepares a student for his or her final project, which performs original research and writing informed by the selected concentration.

Courses in the literature concentration focus on particular writers (William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison); periods (Medieval, Modern) or redefinitions of those periods ("Refiguring the American Renaissance"); genres and forms (Poetry, Memoir, Graphic Novels); and categories outside those traditional rubrics ("Working Class Literature"). These courses draw on a variety of critical approaches, including feminist theory and cultural criticism.

Informed by "History of the Book" studies, annual courses feature hands-on rare books and manuscript work at area libraries. Many courses reflect the department's interest in pedagogy ("The Teaching of Literature").

Courses in the composition concentration examine composition theory, the history of composition studies, rhetorical theory, the composing process, composition research, linguistics, and literacy. Composition pedagogy is central to the department's offerings ("The Teaching of Composition," "Teaching English with Technology"). Additional courses focus on students' personal and professional writing for different audiences and purposes: essay writing, autobiographical writing, and writing for the public.

Courses in the creative writing concentration use the intensive reading of literature (poetry, fiction, works in translation) as a basis for the writing of original poetry or fiction, or for translation. Advanced workshop courses allow students to develop, share, critique, and revise their original work. Students can take seminars offered by our MFA program; these feature topics such as literary editing and publishing.

Several courses in theory, linguistics, new genres, and pedagogy are "cross-over" courses and can be counted towards different concentrations. These courses investigate influential current theory, the history and structure of the English language, and new developments in literary and non-literary textual forms.