M.A. in English

I. Introduction to the Program

Portland State University's M.A. in English is designed for students who are prepared to undertake advanced work in the field. The program provides a range of courses in literatures in English, including British, American, and Anglophone literature; composition and rhetorical theory; cultural studies; and literary history, theory, and critical methods. The motives and destinations of the students in the program vary. Some go on to work in humanities-related fields such as public relations and arts administration; others teach in high schools; some teach community college or pursue a PhD. Still others pursue the degree solely for their own interest and enrichment.

If you are considering whether an English MA is for you, please see our handout, “Should I get an MA in English?” as well as the Modern Language Association report, “Rethinking the Master's Degree for a New Century.” For more information on our program and its requirements, see below, and also check out the MA in English Handbook.

Getting Started

When you are accepted into the program you will be assigned a faculty adviser. You should make contact with your adviser as early as possible. This faculty member will guide you through the early stages of your program. If you have questions that your adviser cannot answer, contact the department's Graduate Administrator, 503-725-3623, or the Literary Studies Interim Director, Greg Jacob. This Handbook, and the English Department website, may also provide answers to many of your questions.

Early on you should make sure that you have a university ODIN account and email address, and that you are signed up to our graduate student listserv. The listserv is the main way we communicate important information to our graduate students. You are also responsible for making sure that our Graduate Administrator has your current phone number, email, and mail addresses.

Find out the date that you can begin registering for courses. Students entering the program should take English 500: Problems and Methods of Literary Study, in their first term.

We strongly recommend that you attend our graduate student orientation, usually held the Friday before classes begin. This event will introduce you to our faculty and other students, inform you about the program and its requirements, and acquaint you with the resources available at the university and in the city of Portland.

Other important resources on campus include our Portland Literary Society, which holds a welcome meeting early in fall term, the Graduate Studies Office, which provides information on university requirements, the Career Center, which offers valuable guidance on graduate education and professional development, and the Writing Center, which can help you with any stage of your writing process (from coming up with an idea for a paper to proofreading). You should also get into the habit of checking the English Department website regularly so that you can keep up with departmental news and events.

II. Program Requirements

Note: The 2011-12 PSU Bulletin contains incorrect information regarding course requirements. Please follow the guidelines in this Handbook, not those in the Bulletin.

Students in the English M.A. program must complete the following requirements:

  • 45 credits of graduate coursework. These must include
    • English 500: Problems and Methods of Literary Study (only offered fall term)
    • One graduate seminar (English 507)
    • One course in pre-1800 British or American literature (A seminar on a pre-1800 topic, e.g., Eng 507: Shakespeare, can fulfill both the 507 and the pre-1800 requirement.)
    • One course in literature or rhetoric, whether Anglophone or in translation, before 1900
    • One critical theory course
    • At least 32 credits in English (courses listed as “Eng”) of which 24 credits must be discreetly numbered ENG credits, ENG 510 and above
    • No more than 13 credits outside of English (these require advisor approval)
  • University Foreign Language Requirement. This may be completed through coursework or examinations administered by the Department of World Languages.
  • Selecting and completing Option I or Option II as a Culminating Course of Study.

Coursework

The English M.A. Degree requires 45 credits of graduate-level coursework. All coursework must be taken for a letter grade and students are expected to maintain a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA in the program. Students who fail to do so for at least three consecutive terms will not be allowed to complete the M.A. Program and may be asked to leave the program.

Both the student's adviser and the Program Director must ultimately approve the list of courses students plan to use to fulfill the program's requirements (the student will list course work used for degree completion on the GO-12 form, explained below). Students should meet with their adviser regularly to make sure that they are interpreting the requirements correctly and keeping on track.

Course requirements for the English M.A. changed in 2010. Students admitted to the program before fall of 2010 may opt to fulfill the course requirements in place during the year when they entered the program. Students who entered the program in fall 2010 or later must complete the current course requirements. All students, regardless of the time of matriculation, must complete the new requirements for the Culminating Course of Study (Option I or Option II, explained below).

English 500: Problems and Methods of Literary Study

Required for all English M.A. students, English 500 introduces students to the methods of research and analysis they will use throughout the program. Students take the course in the fall of their first year of study. For more information about English 500, see the MA in English Handbook.

Four-Credit Graduate Courses

There are three basic types of 4-credit graduate courses:

  • 400/500 level courses are larger classes that include both undergraduate and graduate students.
  • 500-level graduate-only courses are small classes that concentrate on wide reading and focused writing in advanced topics.
  • Graduate seminars involve extensive independent research around a central theme and set of readings.

One-Credit Graduate Courses

Some student loans, scholarships, and grants require full-time status. At PSU, a full time course load at the graduate level is 9 credits or more per term. Half time is 8 credits or less per term. This means that if you enroll for two 4-credit courses you will not have full-time status. In addition to the By-Arrangement options (explained below), the department offers a range of ENG 510 selected topics for 1-credit to help fill out your schedule. These include Eng 510: The Field of English, a course designed for first-year English MA students, and Eng 510: Professional Development, a course designed for second-year students in the program. The Department has also regularly offered Eng 510: Rhetoric and Composition Discussion Group as well as a rotating list of workshops and discussion groups run by various faculty. Each term a list of these 1-credit options is posted to the Graduate Student listserv.

By-Arrangement Course Work

The English department recognizes that By-Arrangement study can be a valuable means of expanding the curriculum and allowing students to pursue special interests. By-Arrangement study may be arranged under several course titles. The following limitations apply:

  • Students may take each By-Arrangement course for between 1 and 4 credits.
  • Students may take no more than 9 credits of By-Arrangement in any given term.
  • Students can only apply a combined maximum of 12 credits in 501: Research and 505: Reading & Conference towards the M.A. degree.
  • Students can only apply a combined maximum of 9 credits in 504: Internship, 508: Workshop, and 509: Practicum towards the M.A. degree towards the M.A. degree.

Students wishing to pursue By-Arrangement study should seek the approval of a faculty member willing to undertake the arrangement. To register for these courses you must fill out a By Arrangement Request, available in the Department office or online, have it signed by the instructor, and leave it with Department staff to be signed by the Chair and forwarded to Registration. For more information on courses available for By-Arrangement study, see the Graduate Handbook for the M.A. in English.

Taking Undergraduate Courses for Graduate Credit

In some cases, faculty may allow a student to take an undergraduate course for graduate credit. You will need to take the course as a “Reading and Conference,” and the professor will give you extra assignments appropriate for the graduate level.

Courses Taken Outside of the Department

While students must take 32 credits in English, the remainder of their program (up to 13 credits) may include graduate coursework in related fields with adviser approval. Some common related fields are Writing (courses in the department prefixed “WR”), World Languages, History, Philosophy, Theater Arts, and Education.

Foreign Language Requirement

All Master of Arts students at Portland State are required to have experience with a foreign language. Such knowledge will enhance the study of English language and literature. We strongly encourage students to fulfill their language requirement early in their program. All students must fulfill the foreign language requirement before taking the written and oral M.A. examinations. Options for satisfying the Foreign Language Requirements can be found on the Department of World Languages website. Students are responsible for completing the Foreign Language Requirement Verification Request Form and requesting evaluation and certification of language equivalency.

For students who choose to fulfill the requirement by taking a language exam, we strongly recommend that you not take the GSFLT exam offered by the World Languages and Literatures Department. These exams expect fluency equivalent to that of a native speaker and are very difficult to pass. Instead, we recommend that you take either the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam or the Webcape exam. Both of these are also administered by the World Languages and Literatures Department and you should consult them for more information.

Advising

Students accepted into the program are immediately assigned an advisor. Students should introduce themselves and receive advice on enrolling for fall courses. The student should contact the Director of Literary Studies if the student's assigned advisor is on leave or otherwise unavailable. Students should also plan to meet their faculty advisor early in their first term of study to discuss their options for a culminating course of study.

We do not expect students entering the program to know in advance what specific areas within the field of English they would like to study. Our goal is to train our students as generalists, rather than specialists, meaning that we train students to use a variety of materials, methods, and approaches as they pursue their study of English both before and after graduation. At the same time, we find that it is beneficial for students to have a deeper knowledge of a particular area of study. Students need not come into the program knowing what this will be, but they should begin to craft a course of study in a specific area by the end of their first year in the program (or after taking roughly 25 credits for students who are attending part-time) which will become the basis for their Focus Area Exam or Qualifying Essay (Option I or Option II).

Students may find that their selected course of study is not compatible with their assigned advisor's field of expertise. Students can review departmental faculty profiles to identify faculty with academic interests that parallel their focus of study. If the student selects a new faculty advisor, the student must submit a Non–Thesis Change of Graduate Advisor Form to the Department of English. Once a student has selected an advisor, they are ready to assemble the rest of their examination committee.

The Examining Committee

Each student's examining committee consists of 3 faculty members:

  • The student's adviser, who also acts as the Chair of the student's Examining Committee
  • One member appointed by the Literary Studies Committee
  • One member of the English Department chosen by the student.*

Students are responsible for obtaining the support of a faculty member willing to assist with devising either the Focus Area Examination proposal or the Qualifying Essay proposal, and to be the chair of the Oral Examination. The student's advisor must be tenured or tenure-track with an appointment in the English Department at Assistant Professor rank or higher. Consult the English Department website for a list of tenure-track professors and their specialties.

Other than the advisor, committee members may be tenure-track or fixed-term faculty who teach in the Graduate English Program. Please note that fixed-term faculty are not required to serve on Master of Arts in English committees. Part-time/Adjunct faculty may be approved to serve on a committee if the faculty member in that specialty is on leave; however this appointment is also voluntary.

*Consult the English Department website for a list of tenure-track professors and their specialties. If a student's adviser will be someone other than the original faculty adviser assigned to them when they entered the program, they must get a Change of Graduate Adviser form signed by the new adviser and return it to the English Department staff.

Culminating Course of Study

arrow Note: The program requirements for the culminating courses of study changed in spring of 2010. All students, regardless of year of admission, must abide by the new options.

To finish the program, all students must complete a General Examination, and either Option I: Focus Area Examination or Option II: Qualifying Essay, in addition to the respective Oral Examination for each option. Students pursuing full-time studies must submit their Degree Completion Plan to the Graduate Administrator by the fifth week of their fourth term of study.

Option I: Focus Area
Option II: Qualifying Essay
Focus Area Proposal Qualifying Essay Proposal
General Examination General Examination
Focus Area Examination Qualifying Essay
Oral Examination Oral Examination

We recommend taking Option I: Focus Area and the General Examination. This two section exam is rigorous and gives you a firm grounding in English studies that will make you a more effective teacher, scholar, writer, administrator, or other professional. We suggest that you choose Option II: Qualifying Essay and the General Examination if you are strongly committed to a specific research project or otherwise believe that a sustained, largely self-directed writing project is what will best serve your educational goals.

If the candidate fails to pass any part of their culminating experience, the student's committee will meet to recommend a course of action. The candidate's right to retake any or all of their culminating experience is not automatic. Usually a committee recommends that the student be allowed to take a second examination over the whole or part(s) found unsatisfactory. The university requires a wait of at least three months before retaking any failed final exam. Should the student fail the second examination, disqualification from the program is automatic.

The General Examination

The General Examination, a required examination for all MA students, will be four hours and is designed to test a student's knowledge of a general course of study in the field of English. This formal written exam is held the third Friday of fall, winter and spring terms (exams are not given during summer session).

The General Examination is compiled from questions submitted to the Literary Studies Committee by the Graduate English Faculty (see Appendix 5: Sample Examinations in the Graduate Handbook for the M.A. in English). The general portion of the examination expects that through coursework and supplementary reading students have completed a course of study that allows them to:
  • Identify and analyze issues of form, genre, and style;
  • Discuss patterns and developments in literature and culture across historical periods, including periods before 1800;
  • Discuss the roles of political, social, and cultural forces in the production, reception, and analysis of texts; and
  • Discuss the theoretical perspectives that inform your approach to English studies.

The examination invites you to respond to a variety of general questions on form, period, rhetoric, and/or theory in a way that helps articulate your understanding of the field of English. In studying for the general examination, reflect on the course work you have done while at PSU and identify the texts that stand out to you as central to your thinking about the discipline. In this way you should be able to synthesize your MA experience by locating your intellectual development through concrete examples.

arrowOption I. Focus Area

The Focus Area Option gives students the opportunity to read widely and deeply in an area of interest they share with their adviser. The following are some sample areas:

  • British Women Writers, 1700-1900
  • History of Rhetoric
  • American Literature, 1607-1800
  • Race and Modernism
  • Seventeenth-Century British Poetry
  • Composition Theory and Postmodern Subjectivity
  • Allegorical Forms in Literature

Focus Area Proposal

Students who choose OPTION I must submit a Focus Area Proposal to their Examining Committee. This one page document—approximately 500 words—should be concise, outlining the project and providing a timeline for completion. The Focus Area Proposal should contain the following components:

  • Identifies Focus Area (defined by certain criteria, be they generic, formal, thematic, theoretical or historical)
  • Provides a set of guiding questions that shape your initial approach to this Focus Area
  • Attaches a reading list of primary and secondary sources, at least 20 texts, that the student will be responsible for reading
  • Sets forth the rationale for including this particular set of texts
  • Outline the project and timeline for completion

Focus Area Proposal Timeline Considerations

Typically students pursuing full-time studies submit a working draft of their Focus Area Proposal to their examining committee by the fifth week of their third term of study. This provides the committee time to review and suggest revisions to the Focus Area Proposal. The approved Focus Area Proposal must be submitted as part of the Degree Completion Plan.

Focus Area Examination

The Focus Area Examination will be two hours and test a student's knowledge of the specific course of study. The Focus Area Examination is created by the students Adviser in consultation with the students Examination Committee and will be administered the same day as the General Examination.

arrowOption II: Qualifying Essay

The Qualifying Essay option gives students the opportunity to engage in advanced research methods to explore a specific topic in depth.

The Form of the Qualifying Essay

The English M.A. Qualifying Essay should be an essay of publishable quality and length—approximately 10,000 words—that makes an original contribution to a field of study. Students should write the Qualifying Essay with a particular publication venue in mind such as an academic journal. Although students are not required to submit their Qualifying Essay for publication, they are encouraged to do so. While the Qualifying Essay is intended to be a publishable scholarly article, individual students and advisers may also elect to include supplementary written materials or activities alongside the Qualifying Essay (e.g., an Annotated Bibliography, a critical survey). Any such material will be beyond the required minimum for the Qualifying Essay.

The Qualifying Essay should accomplish the following:

  • Present a well-defined, detailed problem appropriate to the time frame and page constraints of the University's requirements. The argument should be well organized and show an understanding of the intended audience, what they need to know, and what you want them to believe when they are finished reading the Qualifying Essay. It should be written with care for style and balance, use sophisticated and appropriate vocabulary, and use MLA-style formatting.
  • Demonstrate a wide reading of pertinent background material, historical and current, especially regarding theoretical and cultural issues that touch upon the Qualifying Essay topic.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the critical conversation in the field relevant to the problem, and how the Qualifying Essay contributes to that conversation.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the methodologies currently used in the discipline, in relation to both the content of the Qualifying Essay and the form of its research methods.
  • Aim to be publishable.

A student's Qualifying Essay advisor or examining committee may have other suggestions and requirements for the writing of a particular Qualifying Essay.

The Qualifying Essay Proposal

Students who wish to write a Qualifying Essay must submit a draft proposal to their examining committee defining a focused topic by the fifth week of their third term of study. This provides the committee time to review and suggest revisions to the Qualifying Essay Proposal. The approved Qualifying Essay Proposal must be submitted as part of the Degree Completion Plan. The proposal should:

  • be two to three pages in length,
  • consist of a clear, concise statement of the Qualifying Essay project or problem to be explored, its significance in the context of previous scholarship and criticism (identify a gap in our understanding of the particular topic and suggest the benefits of improving our knowledge of this topic), and an account of the methodologies or critical approaches to be used,
  • include a preliminary bibliography, including both primary and secondary materials.
Students should seek the help of their advisers in writing the proposal. When the proposal is completed, the student's adviser submits the proposal to the Literary Studies Committee for approval.

Approval to write a Qualifying Essay is not automatic; students may be asked to revise the proposal, and only superior proposals will be approved.

Qualifying Essay Timeline Considerations

Realistically, the Qualifying Essay is a long project, and unless you have a great deal of it already done when your proposal is accepted, it is at least two terms of work. Since the Qualifying Essay must be given to your committee two weeks before the Oral Examination, and University policy is that the absolute last date to schedule an oral is in the 9th week of any term, the first four weeks of the term in which you are defending the Qualifying Essay should be used only for final editing and proofreading. Optimally, a student would distribute their Qualifying Essay to their committee at the end of the term prior to the one in which s/he intends to graduate.

In sum, you should give yourself at least a full calendar year, following the approval of your Qualifying Essay proposal, in which to write the Qualifying Essay. For example, to graduate in spring of 2012, the Qualifying Essay proposal should ideally be written and approved by the end of spring term 2011.

Oral Examination

The Oral Examination, the final stage of the culminating experience for Option I and Option II, begins as soon as the student learns that they have passed the General Examination and either the Focus Area or Qualifying Essay. All students must be enrolled for at least one credit hour in the term in which take their Oral Examination and satisfy their requirements for the degree [including the Foreign Language requirement and submitting the GO-12 to the Graduate Studies office]. If a leave of absence is taken while a student is working on either the Focus Area or the Qualifying Essay, the student is not allowed to utilize the services of their committee, and the Graduate Studies Office will process no paperwork until the student is re-registered.

Students arrange a convenient time for the Oral Examination with their advisers based on the term deadlines set by the Graduate Studies Office. Option I examiners may ask questions arising from either section of the written examination. Option II examiners may ask questions arising from either the General Examination or the Qualifying Essay. Committee members must receive a complete copy of the Qualifying Essay at least two weeks prior to the examination date. Passing the Oral Examination requires a favorable majority vote of the committee. The committee may recommend that the student repeat the Oral Examination. For Option II students, committee members may request revisions to the Qualifying Essay before it is accepted for Graduation. Option II students must submit their completed Qualifying Essay in PDF format to the Graduate Coordinator. (Please note that new requirements for electronic submission of the Qualifying Essay are anticipated beginning Winter Term 2012.)

Requirements for Degree Completion: English Department

Students must notify the Literary Studies Committee which option they will be choosing (Option I: Focus Area Examination or Option II: Qualifying Essay) by submitting a Degree Completion Plan to the Graduate Administrator two terms before they intend to graduate (see Appendices 4 and 6 in the Graduate Handbook for the M.A. in English.

At the beginning of the term in which they intend to complete their degree, students must send the Graduate Administrator an email that announces their intention to take the General and Oral Examinations, confirms their list of examiners, and their choice of Option I or Option II. If anything has changed since the submission of the Degree Completion Plan, the student may have to submit a new form for approval. Before taking the exams, students must have fulfilled their foreign language requirement and have checked with their faculty adviser to assure completion of all degree requirements.

Students receive an email in advance of the written examination stating the place, time, and instructions for taking the examination. For all candidates, the results of the General Examination and the Focus Area Examination or the Qualifying Essay are read only by the student's examining committee and must be passed by a majority of its members.

Requirements for Degree Completion: University

No later than the first week of the term they wish to graduate all students must also:

  • Submit a GO-12 form (Approved Graduate Degree Program), due no later than the first week of the term in which they intend to graduate. Courses used to complete the Master's degree requirements may not be used toward any subsequent degree, so students who have accrued more than 45 credits may not want to list them all on the GO-12
  • Submit an Application for Awarding a Master's Degree to the Graduate Studies Office no later than the first week of the term they wish to graduate
  • Submit all forms except the Application for Degree to the Department of English so that they can be signed by the Chair and copied to the student's file before they are submitted to Graduate Studies. A summary of Graduate Studies Office forms is available in “Appendix 3: Office of Graduate Studies Forms and Definitions” in the Graduate Handbook for the M.A. in English.

If you wish to participate in the University Commencement, you should check commencement deadlines on the University's commencement web page. The English Department does not hold a separate commencement ceremony.

III. University and Departmental Policies and Procedures

Deferral of Enrollment

According to University policy, if a student admitted to a graduate program fails to matriculate at the beginning of the first term of the first year, s/he will have their admission canceled by the University unless s/he has been granted a deferral of enrollment from the program for no more than one year. The English MA Program discourages deferments. However, you may request one by downloading an Admission Application Update Request. Fill out the form, sign, and mail it to the Graduate Program Administrator; Department of English-ENG; Portland State University; PO Box 751; Portland, OR 97201-0751.

Conditional Admission

Any student admitted conditionally should notify the Department as soon as the conditions outlined in their admissions letter have been met. Students will not be allowed to take the Comprehensive Exam or begin a Qualifying Essay for the MA Degree until their Departmental Conditional status has been removed.

Leave of Absence

A student in good standing may petition for a leave of absence. Leave of absence status assures the student a continuation of admission in the program during a period of absence. The cumulative amount of leave may not exceed one calendar year. Students on an approved leave of absence do not register for courses and are not required to pay instructional or other fees. During a leave of absence, access to university or program facilities and services and use of faculty or staff time is restricted according to policies established by the university and each program. A leave of absence and does not constitute a waiver of the time limit for completion of the graduate degree at PSU, nor does it extend the regular one-year limit for completion of a course.

A leave is not automatic, but is only awarded to a student in good standing and must be approved by the student's adviser and Program Director. Students wishing to take a leave should fill out a Request for Leave of Absence form and have it signed by their adviser and Program Director before submitting it to the Graduate Administrator. If the student fails to submit this form, s/he will be listed as inactive and administratively withdrawn from the program. Students are responsible for keeping their contact information current with the Department's Graduate Administrator during their leave. A student planning to return from a leave of absence should contact the Graduate Administrator and his/her adviser at least three months prior to returning to school. Students who fail to return to the graduate program within 12 months of initiating a leave of absence may be administratively withdrawn from the program.

Continuous Enrollment

Students admitted to a graduate program must be continuously enrolled until graduation, except for periods during which they have been approved for a leave of absence. Taking a minimum of one graduate credit per term during the regular academic year (fall, winter and spring terms) will constitute continuous enrollment. Registration during the summer term is not required. Failure to meet the continuous enrollment minimum may result in administrative withdrawal of the student from the program.

Time to Completion

Although the Department recognizes that students enter our programs with differing plans and obligations, we expect full-time students to complete the English MA program in two years, and part-time students to complete the program within 4 years. Students who have not completed the program by the end of their seventh year may be administratively withdrawn by the Program Director or Department Chair. The University will not count graduate credits that are more than seven years old toward any master's degree.

Pre-Admission Credit and Transfer Credit

A maximum of 16 approved credits earned before admission to the program may be applied to the degree. This pre-admission credit limit applies to both transfer credits earned outside PSU or at PSU before admission to the program.

A separate 16-credit allotment of transfer credit may be approved for coursework taken after admission to the Master's program (courses taken elsewhere over the summer, for example). However, a maximum of one-third of a student's total of 45 credits may be taken outside PSU, so only 16 of the possible combined 32 transferred credits (pre-admission and post-admission) may be from outside PSU (the one-third limit is actually 15 credits but we are allowed an extra credit because of our four-credit course structure).

Students must fill out a Transfer and Pre-approved Credit form (GO-21) and meet with their adviser or the Program Director for credit evaluation and approval.

All Pre-admission and Transfer credits must be graduate level and must be: 1) letter graded B- or higher; 2) not be used for any other degree at any institution; 3) no more than seven years old at the time the Master's degree is awarded; 4) applicable to a Master's degree at the originating institution without qualification. Refer to the PSU Bulletin for information on transfer of courses from foreign institutions, distance learning programs, etc.

Dual Master's Degrees

No credits applied toward a completed Master's degree may be applied toward earning another Master's degree, except in the case of a Dual Master's degree. A graduate student may work concurrently toward the completion of the requirements of two PSU Master's degrees in complementary disciplines where an overlap of coursework occurs. The dual degree program is planned in consultation with and approved by the advisors from each program. More information is available in the PSU Bulletin.

Satisfactory Progress

Students enrolled in the English MA Program must make satisfactory progress toward their degree or they may be administratively withdrawn from the program by the Program Director or Department Chair.

To make satisfactory progress, you must do the following:

  • Be registered for each term of the academic year following your admission to the program. The exceptions are if you are granted approval to defer matriculation, or if you are absent during an approved Leave of Absence. See the sections on Deferral of Enrollment and Leave of Absence for specific departmental policies and procedures.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA throughout the program. Students who fail to maintain this minimum GPA for at least three consecutive terms will not be allowed to pursue a thesis or take the Comprehensive Exam and may be asked to leave the program. Students who fail to maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA, and/or maintain a GPA above 2.67 for any given term will be placed on academic probation by the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Earn a B- or higher in your classes. You will not earn graduate credit for a class in which you receive a C+ or below unless you have specific written approval from the Program Director or Department Chair.
  • Make up any incomplete prior to the agreed deadline or within one year, whichever comes first.
  • Satisfactorily complete the work for any practicum project or Qualifying Essay hours arrangement you have with an instructor or your advisor.
  • Avoid getting two or more grades of X (No Basis for Grade) or W (Withdrawal) in a given academic year.
  • Get approval from your adviser if you plan to take elective courses outside of the English program that do not meet the program requirements. This restriction does not apply to students in a dual degree program.
  • Abide by the requirements of PSU's Office of Graduate Studies and Research, and the Student Conduct Code.

IV. Supporting Yourself in Graduate School and Beyond

The Graduate Handbook for the M.A. in English (Section IV) contains a wealth of information about financial aid and scholarships, graduate assistantships, University Studies mentorships, teaching and other job opportunities on campus. It also lists courses that stress professional development and contains information on some common career choices for MA in English graduates.

V. Conclusion

The English Department Faculty is a group of committed teachers and scholars who love working with students. We and the Department Staff are committed to creating the best educational experience and environment for our graduate students. Do not hesitate to come to us with questions—the Directors of Literary Studies and Rhetoric and Composition, as well as the Graduate Administrator, may be especially equipped to answer them. See the Contact Us page for their phone numbers and email addresses. And please take the time out from studying to get to know each other, our department, our university, and our beautiful city.

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