Master of Arts in English

The Master of Arts in English prepares graduates for careers and for doctoral study in English and closely related fields. The program emphasizes study in English and American literature and requires course work in the English language and linguistics. A well-developed mentoring program provides supervised teaching experience in composition for students holding assistantships.

Admission Requirements

Applications for admission and funding are accepted for fall and spring semesters. See program website for updated program deadlines. Applicants must apply to and meet all criteria for admission to the Graduate School. In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School, applicants must submit the following materials:

  1. All undergraduate and any graduate transcripts, showing accumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 over the last 60+/- credits (90 +/- for quarters) undergraduate coursework.
  2. Three letters of recommendation, preferably from professors who know the student’s recent academic work.
  3. A brief statement (about 500 words) of academic and professional goals.
  4. A brief writing sample (about 5 pages). The English Department Admissions Committee, in consultation with the department chair, evaluates the applicant’s materials to determine admission to the program. When these materials are evaluated, the Admissions Committee will look at the student’s preparation for graduate work in English, his/her academic promise (as indicated by transcripts, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation), and the fit between the student’s goals (as indicated in their statement) and the mission and strengths of the M.A. program.
  5. Optional: GRE general test scores may be submitted for consideration, but are not required for admission.

Students admitted to the M.A. program are called Classified students. Some students may be admitted as Classified with performance requirements, which means they must fulfill certain requirements specifically indicated with their admission and are not eligible for graduate assistantship support until they achieve Classified status. Continuation in the program is subject to a student’s meeting this requirement. Students admitted without at least 21 credits of undergraduate courses in English, excluding freshman composition, may be required to make up deficiencies in their undergraduate work.

General Requirements

Credit Requirement

The Master of Arts in English program requires a minimum of 30 semester credits in courses approved by the Department of English. Students must take at least 18 of these credits in courses at the 6600-level or higher.

Students may fulfill these credit requirements through one of three options:

  1. M.A. Paper Option: The student completes 30 credits, including at least 18 credits at the 6600-level, and completes a 1-3-credit final M.A. Paper, which is an article-length critical essay of sufficiently high quality to be submitted for publication. Up to 3 credits of the M.A. Paper may count toward the 6600-level requirement.
  2. M.A. Thesis Option: The student completes 30 credits, including at least 18 credits at the 6600 level, and completes a thesis. Up to 6 credits of thesis may count toward the 6600-level requirement. 
  3. Coursework/Portfolio Option: The student completes 30 credits, at least 18 of which must be at the 6600 level, and then completes 6 additional credits at the 6600 level in the last two semesters. Work in each of these seminars must include a research/critical paper. In the final semester, the student will compile a portfolio of major assignments from the two additional seminars along with a reflective essay outlining the student's goals and development throughout the program.

Language Requirement

As the process of learning and working in a language other than one’s own allows students to better understand the relationships among language, cultural expression, and cultural context, and consequently to bring more comparative approaches to their work in English studies, graduate students in English must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in one language other than English, either modern or ancient, before the program of study is complete. Here “intermediate proficiency” is defined as completing the second sophomore-level (2200-level) course in a language other than English, with a grade of B or better, or its equivalent. Students may satisfy this requirement in one of the following ways:

  1. By passing four semesters of coursework in a language other than English with an average grade of B, either during the course of study for the graduate degree or with an interval of no longer than four years between the completion of the last language course and the beginning of graduate study in English at Idaho State University.
  2. By passing the CLEP exam and earning credit for a 2200 course or by passing a language test from an approved site such as the BYU Foreign Language Achievement Testing Service (FLATS).
  3. By having completed an undergraduate major or a minor in a language other than English, as verified by a college transcript.
  4. By taking 6 credits beyond the normal 3 credits of required Linguistics coursework. These 6 credits, which do not count toward the degree requirements, must include: a. ENGL 5586: Old English AND ENGL 5587: History of the English Language OR b. Either of the above courses plus one additional course in linguistics (see the list of courses that fulfill the Linguistics Requirement for options).
  5. By having a first language other than English.

Additional Requirements

All students must maintain a satisfactory record of scholarship. Three grades below B- during the entire program will automatically disqualify a student from continuing in the program.

Graduate students must follow the policy on incomplete grades as it is listed in the Idaho State University Graduate Catalog.

Teaching Assistantships will not be renewed for students with incomplete grades on their transcripts.

All students must take the following 12 required credits:

ENGL 6612Introduction to Graduate Studies in English (A 6600-level seminar focusing on pre-1800 literature)3
A 6600-level seminar focusing on pre-1800 literature3
A 6600-level seminar focusing on post-1800 literature3
One course in linguistics, TESOL, or the history of the English language, chosen from the following group:3
Varieties of American English
Studies in Grammar
Special Topics in Linguistics
Old English
History of the English Language
Introduction to Sociolinguistics
Introduction to Linguistics
Theory of Second Language Acquisition
TESL Methodology
Seminar in Linguistics
Students appointed to teaching assistantships must also take the following 6 required credits:
Seminar in Teaching Writing
Practicum in Teaching Composition
Total Credits12

Course Work Limitations:

A maximum of 6 semester credits taken outside of ENGL-prefixed courses may be counted toward degree requirements. Students planning to enroll in a course without an ENGL-prefix should obtain the approval of the Graduate Director before enrolling in that course.