Master of Arts in English

The MA Program in English at Sam Houston State University has three defined goals, all of which share the common aim of preparing graduates as scholars, teachers, professional writers, and advocates for the Humanities. The program strives to be dynamic, encompassing, and diverse in its approach to the study of language and literature, offering both surveys of Classical, British, and American literature, as well as seminars that challenge these traditions by taking into account diverse perspectives, other literatures, and a broad range of methodologies. By completing a series of seminars in the English language, in literature and textual studies, and in research methods and literary theory, the program aims to teach students how to:

  1. demonstrate the ability to think theoretically and critically about language and literature, including the ability to apply research methods and critical theories reflective of the current state of scholarship;
  2. demonstrate the ability to write cogently about language and literature, with an awareness of interdisciplinary connections; and
  3. demonstrate effective professional practices in research, analysis, and communication.

These goals are aligned with the University’s mission of providing high quality education, scholarship, and service to qualified students for the benefit of regional, state, national, and international constituencies.

Applicants must submit all application materials directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions by the relevant deadline (see below). A holistic review of each applicant’s file will then be completed with admission to the MA in English program offered to applicants on a competitive basis. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis in accordance with these deadlines:

Fall semester: August 1st
Spring semester: December 1st
Summer semester: May 15th

Please, note incomplete applications will not be reviewed; applicants should confirm with Graduate Admissions that their applications are complete before the application deadlines.

Fall 2020 Requirements

Students seeking admission to the Master of Arts in English program must submit online through ApplyTexas the following materials directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Graduate Application: the Graduate Application is an institutional application required by SHSU. Students must provide biographical and educational information and information relevant to determining State of Texas residency.
  2. Application fee: an application fee is required for all applications to graduate programs at SHSU.
  3. Statement of purpose: a summary of the applicant’s academic or professional goals, how an MA degree will help the applicant obtain their academic or professional goals, and how the applicant’s academic and possibly professional experiences have prepared them for the MA program. The statement should be no more than two single-spaced pages.
  4. Transcripts documenting all prior degrees.* (Note: applicants are expected to have completed at least twelve hours of upper-division English courses with a 3.0 GPA or better; students with credentials from foreign universities must have their transcripts reviewed by a transcript evaluation service.)
  5. Letters of recommendation: applicants must submit at least two but no more than four letters. The letters should discuss the applicant’s potential for success in an English graduate program.
  6. A scholarly/critical writing sample: a demonstration of the applicant’s ability to analyze literary texts and present critical research. The sample should be a minimum of ten pages double-spaced.
  7. International applicants ONLY: official TOEFL scores.
     

*Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts for review by the admissions committee. However, under university policy, admission decisions are contingent upon receipt of official transcripts.

Spring 2021 and Summer 2021 Requirements

Students seeking admission to the Master of Arts in English program must submit online through ApplyTexas the following materials directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Graduate Application: the Graduate Application is an institutional application required by SHSU. Students must provide biographical and educational information and information relevant to determining State of Texas residency.
  2. Application fee: an application fee is required for all applications to graduate programs at SHSU.
  3. Statement of purpose: a summary of the applicant’s academic or professional goals, how an MA degree will help the applicant obtain their academic or professional goals, and how the applicant’s academic and possibly professional experiences have prepared them for the MA program. The statement should be no more than two single-spaced pages.
  4. Transcripts documenting all prior degrees.* (Note: applicants are expected to have completed at least twelve hours of upper-division English courses with a 3.0 GPA or better; students with credentials from foreign universities must have their transcripts reviewed by a transcript evaluation service.)
  5. Official scores for the GRE General Test (Note: the subject test in English is not required.) While we require GRE scores from all applicants, including those who have already completed graduate degrees, there is no minimum score required for admission.
  6. Letters of recommendation: applicants must submit at least two but no more than four letters. The letters should discuss the applicant’s potential for success in an English graduate program.
  7. A scholarly/critical writing sample: a demonstration of the applicant’s ability to analyze literary texts and present critical research. The sample should be a minimum of ten pages double-spaced.
  8. International applicants ONLY: official TOEFL scores.
     

*Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts for review by the admissions committee. However, under university policy, admission decisions are contingent upon receipt of official transcripts.

  • To earn the MA in English, students must complete a minimum of thirty-six hours of graduate credit in accordance with one of two degree plans (thesis plan or non-thesis plan).
  • Thesis plan: A student takes thirty-six hours of graduate coursework, twenty-four hours of which must be in English, including a six-hour MA thesis (ENGL 6098 and ENGL 6099). The student must take the required core courses, ENGL 5301 and ENGL 5302, at the first opportunity; three additional ENGL 5000-level courses; the Graduate Assessment Examination; ENGL 6098 and ENGL 6099; one additional ENGL 6000-level course; and twelve hours of additional graduate course work. Students must be enrolled in the University for the terms in which they complete and defend their thesis.  Students must successfully defend their thesis.
  • Non-thesis plan:  A student takes thirty-six hours of graduate coursework, twenty-four hours of which must be in English. The student must take the required core courses, ENGL 5301 and ENGL 5302 at the first opportunity; three additional ENGL 5000-level courses; the Graduate Assessment Examination; three ENGL 6000-level courses; and twelve hours of additional graduate course work. Students must successfully complete the graduate comprehensive exam (which includes a presentation of graduate research).  Students must be enrolled in the University for the term in which they complete the graduate comprehensive exam.
  • Before beginning work on a thesis, undertaking a directed study, or taking the oral examination (graduate research presentation), the student must have completed at least twelve hours of graduate English coursework at Sam Houston State University, including ENGL 5301 and ENGL 5302, and be in good standing.
  • After taking ENGL 5301 and ENGL 5302, all MA students must complete the English graduate assessment examination conducted each May.
  • A student may take ENGL 5312 twice, with approval of the Department Chair. 

A graduate student in English may pursue one of two degree plans. Plan 1 requires a thesis; Plan 2 does not require a thesis.

Plan 1 – MA in English

This degree plan is designed for students who plan to continue their studies at a doctoral level and for teachers of high school English who wish to increase scope, depth, and expertise in their teaching specialties. Under Plan 1 the student must write a thesis. Under this plan, students take thirty hours of coursework and six hours of thesis.

Master of Arts in English - Thesis
Program Core
ENGL 5301Grad Rsrch: Methods & Theories3
ENGL 5302Literary Theory3
ENGL 6098MA Thesis I3
ENGL 6099MA Thesis II3
Program Electives (At least 3 hours must be at the 6000 level; 12 hours may be taken outside of the department with the approval of the Chair)24
English Linguistics
Hist Dvlpt Of English Language
American Lit: Pre-Civil War
American Lit: Post-Civil War
US Ethnic Literatures
British Lit: Pre-Industrial
British Lit: Post-Industrial
Anglophone Literature
Directed Study
Studies in Technical Comm.
Creative Writing: Fiction
Creative Writing: Poetry
Practicum:Editing & Publishing
Creative Writing: Nonfiction
Workshop In Teaching Writing
Narrative Theory
Poetic Theory and Prosody
Creative Writing Pedagogy
Practicm in Teaching Coll Comp
Rhetoric & Composition Theory
Women's Literature
Literary Theory Seminar
Seminar in Major Author
English Linguistics Seminar
Literary Movements Seminar
Literary Genre Seminar
Global Ethnic Literatures
Special Topics in English
Technical & Prof Writing
Document Design
Technical Style and Editing
Total Hours36

Plan 2 – MA in English (Non-thesis)

This degree plan is designed for students who plan to continue their studies at a doctoral level and for teachers of high school English who wish to increase scope, depth, and expertise in their teaching specialties. Under Plan 2 the student does not write a thesis. Under this plan, students take thirty-six hours of coursework.

Master of Arts in English - Non-Thesis
Program Core
ENGL 5301Grad Rsrch: Methods & Theories3
ENGL 5302Literary Theory3
Program Electives (At least 9 hours must be at the 6000 level; 12 hours may be taken outside of the department with the approval of the Chair)30
Hist Dvlpt Of English Language
English Linguistics
American Lit: Pre-Civil War
American Lit: Post-Civil War
US Ethnic Literatures
British Lit: Pre-Industrial
British Lit: Post-Industrial
Anglophone Literature
Directed Study
Studies in Technical Comm.
Creative Writing: Fiction
Creative Writing: Poetry
Practicum:Editing & Publishing
Creative Writing: Nonfiction
Workshop In Teaching Writing
Narrative Theory
Poetic Theory and Prosody
Creative Writing Pedagogy
Practicm in Teaching Coll Comp
Women's Literature
Rhetoric & Composition Theory
Literary Theory Seminar
Seminar in Major Author
English Linguistics Seminar
Literary Movements Seminar
Literary Genre Seminar
Global Ethnic Literatures
Special Topics in English
Technical & Prof Writing
Technical Style and Editing
Document Design
Total Hours36

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) marketable skills initiative is part of the state’s 60x30TX plan and was designed to help students articulate their skills to employers.  Marketable skills are those skills valued by employers and/or graduate programs that can be applied in a variety of work or education settings and may include interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas.

The MA in English is designed to provide graduates with the following marketable skills:

  • The ability to think critically.
  • The ability to communicate effectively through writing and oral communication.
  • The ability to conduct and interpret various modes of research.