The program leading to the degree of Master of Arts in English provides training for students interested in increasing their proficiency in the study of English and American literature and language.
The basic curriculum emphasizes major critical approaches rather than specialization within historical periods. Opportunity is offered for scholarly and pedagogical application of such approaches to literature and language. The program serves the needs of those whose eventual goal is the Ph.D. degree; those who teach in secondary schools and those who are preparing to teach in junior and community colleges; and those seeking an opportunity to enhance their analytical skills as they study literature from multiple perspectives.
Admission terms and application deadlines
Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the semester deadlines listed below. Incomplete applications will not be sent to departments for admission review.
- April 15 for fall semester
- November 15 for winter semester
- International applicants: April 15 for fall semester, September 1 for winter semester, and January 1 for summer semester.
To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:
- Additional department application requirements
- An English major, as such, is not regarded as indispensable background, but a substantial number of undergraduate English courses will normally be expected to appear in the applicant’s record.
- Generally, successful candidates will have earned a 3.5 average in English courses.
- Applicants with specially recommended ability but insufficient background - in extent or balance of previous studies - will be advised to improve their preparation and will usually be asked to take an appropriate number of departmental undergraduate courses. Applicants must complete such preparatory course work before being eligible for admission to the graduate program.
- Additional Recommendation for Graduate Admission form
In addition to the two Recommendation for Graduate Admission forms, listed above, a third recommendation is required by the program.
Requirements for recommendations
All three forms must be from an academic instructor that can speak to the applicant’s academic record and potential in literary studies.
- Personal statement describing reasons for wishing to pursue the advanced study of literature and language
- Writing sample, a critical or interpretive essay, of no more than eight double-spaced, typed pages, which demonstrates the candidate’s qualification for graduate study in literature.
Admission review and assessment
Admission to graduate study at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, goal statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses and any other admission requirements established by the academic department. All students admitted to the Master of Arts in English degree program enter on a provisional basis.
Enrollment for all courses is subject to the written approval of the chairperson or a graduate adviser.
The Master of Arts in English degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 36 credits in an approved program of study.
a. Core requirements (16 credits)
The following four courses comprise the literary studies core, successful completion of which is a prerequisite for all 600-level English courses.
b. Electives (20 credits)
Upon successful completion of the general core requirements, students must take five additional courses (20 credits). These courses must include:
- Two 6000-level seminars or
- One 6000-level seminar and ENG 6996 - The Master's Project (4 credits)
ENG 6996, The Master’s Project, involves completion of a project of a scholarly or pedagogical nature, proposed initially by the candidate. Any written work to be submitted in partial or total fulfillment of a project should not exceed 7,500 words. Projects normally arise out of graduate coursework. The course is open only to students who can propose an independent project and who have made arrangements with a member of the department interested in supervising it.
Students must submit an application for ENG 6996 (available in the department office) and a prospectus of the project prior to the beginning of the semester in which they will complete the project. For students undertaking the Master’s Project during the winter or summer semester, this application is due four weeks prior to the start of the semester; for fall semester, it is due six weeks prior.
c. Exit portfolio
In their final semester of study, students must submit to the Graduate Program Committee a portfolio consisting of:
- A 20-25 page paper: A revision of a paper submitted for a previous course in the M.A. program, but not an ENG 6996 project. The revision of the paper will be undertaken in consultation with a faculty adviser.
- An abstract of the paper (250 words)
- A Reflective Essay (4-6 pages) reflecting on the student’s intellectual experience in the program as well as his/her future personal and professional growth.
- For students graduating at the end of the fall semester, the portfolio is due November 15.
- For students graduating at the end of winter semester (or the following summer), the portfolio is due April 1.
When there is significant change in content, the following courses may be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits each:
Satisfactory academic progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.
Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.
Good academic standing
All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.
Good academic standing is a requirement for:
- Holding a Graduate Assistantship
- Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
- Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
- Going on a leave of absence
- Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.
Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.
Department requirements: To qualify for a degree, a candidate must complete his/her program with a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the course work submitted for the degree. Two grades below 3.0 will automatically render a student subject to evaluation and possible dismissal, as will one grade below 2.5.
Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.
Related program information
Plan of study
All accepted applicants, in consultation with their assigned faculty program adviser, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the students will use to satisfy their degree requirements. The plan of study must be approved by the faculty program adviser and submitted by the student to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.
Master’s and graduate certificate students must submit a department-approved plan of study by the end of their first semester of graduate coursework. Doctoral students must submit an approved plan of study prior to completion of the first year of coursework. (See the Graduate Student Responsibility section of this catalog.)
Note: Credit granted for successful completion of a course toward an undergraduate degree program may not be repeated for a graduate degree. If a substitution is approved, the minimum number of program-approved graduate credits will be required. A Petition of Exception - OU Course Waiver/ Substitution requesting the substitution must be approved.
Classification of course offerings
The graduate program of the Department of English offers three kinds of courses.
- Core courses (5000 level)
5000-level courses are designed to familiarize the student with the principal approaches to literature and language and with methods and tools appropriate to those approaches. These courses are central to the graduate program because they prepare the student for the more specialized work of the seminars.
- Seminars (6000 level)
The graduate seminar allows the student to do independent work in an area in which the instructor has special sophistication, and at the same time to gain criticism and support from other students working in the same area. The instructor will prescribe the subject matter of each course during any given semester. Completion of the literary studies core is a prerequisite for enrollment in a 6000-level course. Seminars are limited to 15 students.
- Summer workshops
Concentrated four-week workshops on literature, language, writing and other topics of interest to high school teachers and post-baccalaureate students are offered in the summer session. They are designed as refresher courses or as introductions to topics of particular contemporary concern. Workshops grant 1 to 4 graduate credits. Students may not offer more than 4 credits of workshops toward fulfillment of requirements for advanced degrees except by permission of the graduate committee of the department. Candidates for degrees must consult with their advisers before electing summer workshops.
Students in the Master of Arts in English program may, with written approval of the chairperson of the Graduate Program Committee, offer one graduate course from another department for credit toward their degrees. Such courses should be advanced work in a field relevant to the students’ special interests and needs.
Students planning to pursue a Ph.D. should become proficient in at least one foreign language.