Literature, Culture, and Composition (MA/MS in English)

Graduate Program

Students displaying old books

Overview

Graduate students in the Literature, Culture, and Composition specialization (MA/MS in English) work in a tight-knit cohort to examine and analyze the ways in which literature, cultural expression, and rhetorical argumentation shape the world around us. Students take at least one course in each subfield: Literature, Culture, and Composition. In seminars organized around the faculty’s research specialties, graduate students discuss material as varied as Nordic mythology, the influence of reggae in contemporary world literature, or agency in the teaching of composition, as well as gain practice presenting at conferences and writing for publication. Over the course of the two-year program, students develop their own research agenda with the support of a committee composed of invested faculty members—faculty who help the student navigate the often unfamiliar process of developing and conducting a graduate-level research project. Students have the flexibility to choose the length and intensity of their Master’s Thesis, enabling students from a variety of backgrounds to learn how to dedicate their attention to sustained research. The time spent focused on a research question enables graduate students to think deeply about interesting and important topics such as gender in the Star Wars franchise, talking about race in the writing classroom, and social media hatred of a character in Harry Potter.

Post-Graduation Application

The experience of engaging in graduate-level coursework and then, with the support of faculty, designing, researching, and writing a Master’s Thesis prepares students for career paths from academia to the private sector. Those with an interest in pursuing an academic career will have an advantage when applying to Ph.D. programs in many humanities disciplines, including English, Comparative Literature, American Studies, Rhetoric and Composition, and Technical Communication. In addition, because the Master’s program is so invested in the practice of teaching—supporting graduate student instructors with course dedicated to pedagogy and teaching practice—students who serve as graduate instructors will leave qualified to teach at four-year and two-year colleges, as well as seek additional certification to teach in high school. Beyond academia, more and more employers—such as nonprofits, tech companies, and government agencies—claim that their highest priority in hiring is competency in communication and critical thinking, skills Master’s students will cultivate in spades.