Why study English language and literature?

Because reading and writing shape the world.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

To be admitted to any of the department’s graduate degree tracks, a student must have a strong undergraduate record, particularly in the humanities. A grade-point average of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale normally is required. College courses should include at least 18 hours of junior/senior work in literature. Applicants are expected to have some familiarity with British and American literary history and the work of the major writers in English. Applicants for graduate work in literary studies and rhetoric-composition studies should be able to demonstrate, with writing samples, their ability to produce advanced analytical and interpretive scholarly writing. Candidates for admission must submit Graduate Record Examination scores in support of their applications. For complete admission information, see the English department website.

All applicants must submit their graduate application online. All supplemental materials (transcripts, writing samples, letters of recommendation, etc.) may be attached electronically and submitted with the online application. Those who cannot submit supplemental materials electronically may mail them to the department:

The University of Kansas
Department of English
Graduate Applications
1445 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 3001
Lawrence, KS 66045-7594

 

Degree Requirements

Students in the B.A./M.A. program must complete all the requirements of the existing Bachelor’s degree in English, 6 additional hours of 600-level or above coursework as pre-requisite to the M.A., and 24 hours of graduate-level M.A. coursework. All the course requirements of the regular M.A. (any of the M.A. tracks) are required for the B.A./M.A.

There are two significant differences from the regular M.A. that enable students to complete both a B.A. and M.A. in 5 years:

  • Students begin taking 600-level or above coursework by their senior year.
  • Students complete a portfolio requirement, to be evaluated by means of a final oral examination, in their last semester of graduate study. This requirement will be substituted in place of a thesis or text-based exam. The portfolio requirement is no less rigorous than the thesis or exam, but draws much more on previous work produced during the student’s graduate work. The portfolio involves written as well as oral components.

Students in the B.A./M.A. program can complete the required 6 hours of pre-requisite coursework and 24 hours of graduate credit coursework by taking 10 courses. These courses might be spread over their Senior and M.A. years, for example:

  • 2 courses at 600 level or above during their Senior year, for 6 hours;
  • 2 graduate courses during the Summer after their senior year for 6 hours, or one graduate course that summer for 3 hours and one the following summer.
  • 3 graduate courses during the first semester of their M.A. year, for 9 hours;
  • 2 graduate courses during the second semester of their M.A. year, for 6 hours;
  • If students take fewer than 2 courses while an undergraduate or do not take a summer course, they might take 4 graduate courses in their final semesters of work toward the MA.

All B.A./M.A. students must complete:

English 897 Preparation for the MA Exam (3 hours).  This course is completed during the last semester of their M.A. year, for which they prepare a portfolio of work from their graduate courses over which they will be examined.

M.A. Degree Requirements

While continuously enrolled, a student has a total of 7 years to complete the master’s degree; however, the expected time to degree is 2.5 to 3 years. The candidate’s program should be arranged in consultation with the director of graduate studies or a member of the departmental committee on graduate studies.

Students who elect to write a master’s thesis must enroll in ENGL 899. M.A. candidates in Options 1a, 1b, 2a and 2b must take at least 18 hours of their course work, in addition to ENGL 800, at the 700, 800, and 900 levels.

Option 1a—Literature

  1. A total of 30 hours in English courses carrying graduate credit. No more than 6 hours may be taken at the 600 level. At least 6 hours must be taken at the 900 or seminar level. ENGL 998 does not count as a seminar or 900-level class. Exam option students will take 9 conventional courses (27 hours), plus 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) or another elective course. Thesis option students will take 8 conventional courses (24 hours), plus 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours).
  2. 3 hours (1 course) on Methods or Theory appropriate to different areas of focus in Literary Studies: ordinarily 708, 709, 800, or another course appropriately designated by the Graduate Director. A 998 (Directed Reading) directly focused on questions of methods and theory can fulfill this requirement if approved by the Graduate Director.
  3. 3 hours (1 course) on Pedagogy: the 801-802 sequence (required for TAs), 780, or other appropriate course as approved by the Graduate Director.
  4. 18 (6 courses with thesis option) or 21 (7 courses with exam option) distribution hours to be selected in consultation with advisors (Graduate Director during first year and thereafter advisors with whom students plan to move toward exam or thesis options). At least 1 course must be pre-1700; at least 1 must be 1700-1900; and at least 1 must be after 1900. 2 courses (6 hours) outside the department may be included in the 18 distribution hours with approval of the Graduate Director.
  5. Exam option (3 hours): the student will generally enroll in 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) and must pass a 90-minute oral exam based on a 30-item exam list of literary and / or theoretical texts, including at least 6 items from before 1700; at least 6 items from 1700-1900; and at least 6 items from 1900-present. The student may opt to enroll in 1 additional 3-hour elective course instead of ENGL 897.
  6. Thesis Option (6 hours): The student must enroll in 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours) over 2 semesters of thesis work: (1) a first semester of work with the thesis director leading to polished proposal with a bibliography; and (2) a thesis semester of writing leading to defense of finished thesis.

Option Ib—Literature and Literary Theory

  1. A total of 30 hours in English courses carrying graduate credit. No more than 6 hours may be taken at the 600 level. At least 6 hours must be taken at the 900 or seminar level. ENGL 998 does not count as a seminar or 900-level class. Exam option students will take 9 conventional courses (27 hours), plus 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) or another elective course. Thesis option students will take 8 conventional courses (24 hours), plus 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours).
  2. 3 hours (1 course) on Methods or Theory appropriate to different areas of focus in Literary Studies: ordinarily 708, 709, 800, or another course appropriately designated by the Graduate Director. A 998 (Directed Reading) directly focused on questions of methods and theory can fulfill this requirement if approved by the Graduate Director.
  3. 3 hours (1 course) on Pedagogy: the 801-802 sequence (required for TAs), 780, or other appropriate course as approved by the Graduate Director.
  4. 18 (6 courses with thesis option) or 21 (7 courses with exam option) distribution hours to be selected in consultation with advisors (Graduate Director during first year and thereafter advisors with whom students plan to move toward exam or thesis options). At least 1 course (3 hours) must be pre-1800; at least 1 (3 hours) must be post-1800. At least 2 courses (6 hours), besides the course used to fulfill requirement 2 (Methods or Theory) must focus primarily on Literary Theory. 2 courses (6 hours) outside the department may be included in the 18 distribution hours with approval of the Graduate Director.
  5. Exam option (3 hours): the student will generally enroll in 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) and must pass a 90-minute oral exam based on a 30-item exam list of literary and / or theoretical texts, including at least 6 items pre-1800; at least 6 items post-1800; and at least 12 items in theory. The student may opt to enroll in 1 additional 3-hour elective course instead of ENGL 897.
  6. Thesis Option (6 hours): The student must enroll in 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours) over 2 semesters of thesis work: (1) a first semester of work with the thesis director leading to polished proposal with a bibliography; and (2) a thesis semester of writing leading to defense of finished thesis.

Option 2a—Rhetoric and Composition

  1. A total of 30 hours in English courses carrying graduate credit. No more than 6 hours may be taken at the 600 level. At least 6 hours must be taken at the 900 or seminar level. ENGL 998 does not count as a seminar or 900-level class. Exam option students will take 9 conventional courses (27 hours), plus 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) or another elective course. Thesis option students will take 8 conventional courses (24 hours), plus 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours).
  2. 3 hours (1 course) on Methods or Theory appropriate to different areas of focus in Rhetoric and Composition, ordinarily 780 (Composition Studies), or another course appropriately designated by the Graduate Director. A 998 (Directed Reading) directly focused on questions of methods and theory can fulfill this requirement if approved by the Graduate Director.
  3. 3 hours (1 course) on Pedagogy: the 801-802 sequence (required for TAs), 780, 781, or other appropriate course as approved by the Graduate Director.
  4. 18 (6 courses with thesis option) or 21 (7 courses with exam option) distribution hours to be selected in consultation with advisors (Graduate Director during first year and thereafter advisors with whom students plan to move toward exam or thesis options). At least 6 hours in English Language Studies courses (including at least 1 seminar) beyond the courses used to fulfill requirements 2 (Methods and Theory) and 3 (Pedagogy).
  5. 6 hours of elective courses
  6. For students selecting the exam option, 6 hours in second exam area (rhetoric and composition, literature, literary theory), including at least 1 seminar.
  7. 2 courses (6 hours) outside the department may be included in the 18 distribution hours with approval of the Graduate Director.
  8. Exam option (3 hours): The student will generally enroll in 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) and must pass a 90-minute oral exam based on 2 lists developed in consultation with advisors: a) a 15-item exam list of works in English Language Studies, and b) a 15-item exam list of works in a second area: literature, literary theory, or rhetoric and composition. The student may opt to enroll in 1 additional 3-hour elective course instead of ENGL 897.
  9. Thesis Option (6 hours): The student must enroll in 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours) over 2 semesters of thesis work: (1) a first semester of work with the thesis director leading to polished proposal with a bibliography; and (2) a thesis semester of writing leading to defense of finished thesis.

Option 2b—English Language Studies

  1. A total of 30 hours in English courses carrying graduate credit. No more than 6 hours may be taken at the 600 level. At least 6 hours must be taken at the 900 or seminar level. ENGL 998 does not count as a seminar or 900-level class. Exam option students will take 9 conventional courses (27 hours), plus 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) or another elective course. Thesis option students will take 8 conventional courses (24 hours), plus 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours).
  2. 3 hours (1 course) on Methods or Theory appropriate to different areas of focus in Rhetoric and Composition, ordinarily 780 (Composition Studies), or another course appropriately designated by the Graduate Director. A 998 (Directed Reading) directly focused on questions of methods and theory can fulfill this requirement if approved by the Graduate Director.
  3. 3 hours (1 course) on Pedagogy: the 801-802 sequence (required for TAs), 780, or other appropriate course as approved by the Graduate Director.
  4. 18 (6 courses with thesis option) or 21 (7 courses with exam option) distribution hours (6 courses) to be selected in consultation with advisors (Graduate Director during first year and thereafter advisors with whom students plan to move toward exam or thesis options). At least 6 hours in Rhetoric and Composition courses (including at least 1  seminar) beyond the courses used to fulfill requirements 2 (Methods and Theory) and 3 (Pedagogy).
  5. 6 hours of elective courses
  6. For students selecting the exam option, 6 hours in second exam area (rhetoric and composition specialty, English language studies, literature, literary theory), including at least 1 seminar
  7. 2 courses (6 hours) outside the department may be included in the 18 distribution hours with approval of the Graduate Director.
  8. Exam option (3 hours): The student will generally enroll in 3 hours of ENGL 897 (exam preparation hours) and must pass a 90-minute oral exam based on 2 lists developed in consultation with advisors: a) a 15-item exam list of works in rhetoric and composition, and b) a 15-item exam list of works in a second area: literature, literary theory, English Language Studies, or specialty within rhetoric and composition. The student may opt to enroll in 1 additional 3-hour elective course instead of ENGL 897.
  9. Thesis Option (6 hours): The student must enroll in 6 hours of ENGL 899 (MA or MFA thesis hours) over 2 semesters of thesis work: (1) a first semester of work with the thesis director leading to polished proposal with a bibliography; and (2) a thesis semester of writing leading to defense of finished thesis.