Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Rhetoric & Writing Studies Option

The Master of Arts program in English, Rhetoric and Writing Studies Option, serves several categories of students: those teaching high school and community college, those anticipating doctoral studies, those studying creative or expository writing, and those simply interested in extending and intensifying the knowledge acquired in their undergraduate studies.


Under the direction of a graduate adviser, each student prepares and submits a coherent program individually designed within the following framework:

ENGL 205 (4 units)
ENGL 278T250T, or 280T (8 units)
ENGL 270 (4 units)
ENGL 281 (4 units)
Approved electives in English or other fields (4 units)
ENGL 299 (Thesis -- writing theory, pedagogy, literacy studies, rhetorical theory and criticism) (4 units)
ENGL 282 (2 units)
Total (30 units)

ENGL 205 should be completed during the first year of a student's program of study. The maximum number of combined ENGL 290 and 291 units that may be applied to a student's program is 4 units. Students will usually enroll in ENGL 299 (2 units each) over two consecutive semesters.

Electives may be selected from outside departments in consultation with the graduate coordinator.

Specific Requirements

Teaching Requirement: At some period before the completion of the M.A. Rhetoric and Writing Studies Option, the candidate must be engaged in teaching or co-teaching a course with a strong writing component. While most candidates would be teaching in the English Department, other teaching assignments will apply in consultation with the instructor of English 282. Enrollment in ENGL 282 should take place in the same semesters that the student is fulfilling the teaching requirement.

Language Requirement: The English Department requires candidates for the M.A. in English -Rhetoric and Writing Studies Option to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one language other than English. This requirement can be satisfied at the undergraduate or graduate level through two years (four semesters) of coursework in a modern language other than English, one year (two semesters) of coursework in classical languages, or by taking a translation examination approved by the English Department. Students must satisfy this requirement prior to advancing to candidacy.

Graduate Writing Skills Requirement: The university mandates that M.A. candidates demonstrate the ability to write "commensurate with society's expectations of persons who hold advanced degrees" and "in formats and styles appropriate to their disciplines." In order to comply with this requirement, the department evaluates a sample essay that emerges from work in a graduate seminar. Evaluation can occur at any point once the program has begun; it must be met before the candidate can advance to candidacy and thus qualify to write a culminating project. Students must satisfy this requirement prior to advancing to candidacy.

Consult the graduate adviser every semester for program planning.