Master of Arts in English

The graduate program of the Department of English and Modern Languages offers opportunities for intensive study of language and literature. Scholarly interests of members of the department include old and middle English, the Renaissance, Shakespeare, eighteenth century studies, English, German, and American romanticism, the Victorian age, modern English and American literature, African American and Caribbean literatures, rhetoric and composition studies, and comparative literature. In addition to the study of literature through courses organized by genre, period and individual author, the student may explore the history and structure of language and language acquisition and the crafts of both creative and technical writing.

Degree Requirements

The degree of Master of Arts in English requires the completion of 30 semester hours of graduate work: 24 in English (or 18 with an approved six-hour minor), and six in thesis. In general, students are encouraged to emphasize graduate seminars (courses numbered 5000 or above) in their graduate coursework. In the non-thesis alternative, students may substitute 12 semester hours of coursework for the thesis.  Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in English or who do not have the language requirement for the B.A. should take the 36 hours of coursework.  In the alternative certification options, students may substitute the alternative certification for the thesis.  All students must defend their theses or coursework.

All students should have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of  3.0/4.0 overall on the last 60 hours of undergraduate courses. In addition, international students must score higher than Lamar graduate admission policy on the various TOEFL tests or IELTS test.

Students interested in pursuing an M.A. degree in English should consult the English department chair.

Tracks

Track 1: Concentration in traditional study of Literature, Writing, or Linguistics. This track is intended for students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. or who wish to pursue a traditional M.A. degree with a focus on Literature, Writing, or Linguistics. These students should have completed the 12-hour language requirement for the B.A., or should be able to otherwise exhibit a “reading knowledge” of a language by examination. Students may write a thesis (which also requires an oral thesis defense) OR take the 36-hour non-thesis option (which requires an oral examination based on coursework). Students should consult with an advisor each semester for an exact plan of study.

  1. Students must take one of the following: ENGL 5314 Literary Criticism, 5301 History of the English Language, or 5300 Linguistics.
  2. Students must take ENGL 5335 — Introduction to the Profession.
  3. Students must take at least 12 hours of Literature courses.
  4. With written justification and approval from the department chair, students may take up to 6 graduate hours outside of the department.

Track 2: Concentration in an applied M.A. in English. This track is intended for students who are not planning to pursue a Ph.D. in English or other terminal degree, who are planning to pursue vocational interests, or who are primarily interested in writing and/or pedagogy or rhetoric. Students pursuing this track need not complete the language requirement. Students must take the 36-hour non-thesis option (which requires an oral examination based on coursework). Students should consult with an advisor each semester for an exact plan of study.

  1. Students must take ENGL 5335 – Introduction to the Profession.
  2. As determined by their individual degree focus, students must take 3 of the following classes: ENGL 5301 History of the English Language, 5300 Linguistics, 5310 Teaching of Writing, 5312 Studies in Language and Linguistics (Grammar), or 5314 Critical Theory.

Graduate Work

Undergraduates planning to go on to graduate study in English at Lamar should consider taking ENGL 4314 Literary Criticism, 4301 History of the English Language, or 4300 Linguistics while working on their bachelors. ENGL 5310 Teaching English and 5312 Studies in Language and Linguistics (Grammar) are strongly encouraged for graduate assistants or those wishing to teach at the college or high school level, unless satisfied at 4000-level. 

Graduate Program Review: The Chair and the Writing Director (or an equivalent appointed committee within the department) will monitor students’ progress and advise and approve students’ study and course choices. After students complete 4 courses (12 hours), the Chair and/or the Writing Director will review students’ progress. Among other criteria, the chair and/or Writing Director, consulting with other Graduate Faculty, will assess a student’s overall GPA (3.0 minimum), ability to meet deadlines, ethical integrity, respect for colleagues and peers, evolving awareness of professional opportunities, and the likely potential either for generating a scholarly/creative thesis or command of the coursework necessary for passing the Oral Examination. Satisfactory progress must be demonstrated for a student to be permitted to continue in the program.

Graduate Admission Policy for the M.A. in English

To be accepted into Lamar University’s M.A. in English Programs, students must

  • apply through Apply Texas
  • send a graduate application and officials transcripts of undergraduate and graduate work to Graduate Admissions.  
  • send the chair of the English Department an electronic 1-3 page “Statement of Purpose” detailing the student’s educational background; personal interests in graduate language, literary, writing, or rhetorical study; and desired career path.
  • a writing sample if requested from department.  (if the department is not familiar with the student, the department may ask students to submit a portfolio of up to 20 pages of undergraduate creative or scholarly writing to support their application and/or letters of recommendation).

For acceptance

  • students must have a 3.0 GPA in the last sixty hours of advanced coursework or in advanced English courses
  • and a “statement of purpose” that indicates a complementary match with the department’s offerings.
  • An acceptable writing sample

If students have less than a 3.0 in advanced English courses or in the last sixty hours, then they may submit GRE scores to Graduate Admissions for additional consideration.  Students are encouraged to submit GRE scores if they have them.

The Department may admit a student on a conditional basis

Because of our emphasis on writing, the graduate program will expect international students to make higher scores on the TOEFL and IELTS than Lamar’s graduate English Proficiency Requirements:

Regular
Admission

Bridge
Admission

Conditional Admission

TOEFL Internet Based Total

79

61-78

Below 61

TOEFL Computer Based Total

213

179-212

Below 179

TOEFL Paper Based Total

550

500-549

Below 500

IELTS Total

6.5

6.0

Below 6.0

After graduate students take 12 hours, a graduate review committee will assess the student’s performance based G.P.A. and completion of courses. As a baseline, after 12 hours, students must have a cumulative GPA in all graduate English courses of at least 2.5 to continue graduate study in English, recognizing that the minimum GPA to remain in good academic standing is 3.0, which is thus the minimum GPA required for graduation.

The Department has the right to “waive” these requirements under special circumstances.

Degree Requirements:  The degree of Master of Arts in English has a thesis, a non-thesis option, and an alternative certification option.  

The thesis option requires the completion of 30 semester hours of graduate work: 24 in English (or 18 with an approved 6 graduate hours outside of the department) and six in thesis.  Students may write a creative or critical thesis or complete an approved written academic project.  And students must orally defend their theses.  

In the non-thesis option, students substitute 12 semester hours of coursework for the thesis, resulting in 36 hours of coursework (with the possibility of 6 graduate hours outside of the department).  Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in English or who do not have the language requirement for the B.A. should take the 36 hours of coursework.  Students must orally defend their coursework.

In the M.A. in English with alternative certification, a student works simultaneously on English courses (24 hours) and the post bac, alternative education program (15 hours plus 6 hours of teaching internship or student teaching) offered through the College of Education.  Students should contact the Teacher Education Department.  Students must orally defend their coursework.

  1. Students must take English 5335 — Introduction to the Profession.
  2. Students should take at least 12 hours in one concentration offered within the department:  literature, writing, rhetoric, or pedagogy.
  3. With written justification and approval from the department chair, students may take up to 6 hours outside of the department, with the exception of the alternative certification option.
  4. With approval of chair and a graduate faculty member’s endorsement and sponsorship, a student may pursue up to 6 hours of coursework in independent writing, research projects, or internships intended for potential publication or vocational use.
  5. Students who have completed the 12 hour language requirement for the BA (four semesters of a modern language other than English) or who are able to exhibit a reading knowledge of a language by examination may take the thesis option or the non-thesis option in any concentration.
  6. Students who do not have the language requirement must take the 36 hour option.

Graduate Program Review  
The Chair and the Writing Director (or an equivalent appointed committee within the department) will monitor students’ progress and advice and approve students’ study and course choices. After students complete 12 hours, the Chair and/or the Writing Director will review students’ progress. Among other criteria, the Chair and/or Writing Directing, consulting with other Graduate Faculty, will assess a student’s overall GPA (3.0 minimum), ability to meet deadlines, ethical integrity, respect for colleagues and peers, evolving awareness of professional opportunities, and the likely potential either for generating a scholarly/creative thesis or command of the coursework necessary for passing the Oral Examination. Students must demonstrate satisfactory progress to be permitted to continue in the program.

Oral defenses—thesis and non-thesis
First, the student should select and ask a professor to head the committee, and this should be done no later than the semester BEFORE graduation. (If possible, it should be done sooner than this.)

Second, the student and the committee head should confer about other possible members of the committee, and once they have agreed on a list of names it should be the student's duty to make the first contact with these other possible members and to secure at least an informal agreement. (The student would be best advised to see these possible members in person when making initial contact.) Then both the student and the committee head should see to it that the committee membership is formally registered in the Office of the Department of English and Modern Languages.  The student should have all members of the thesis or examining committee initial G-3s (the form used to establish the thesis or examining committee).  

In the semester that the student hopes to graduate, the student and/or the committee chair should notify the main office.  We will contact the members of the committee, arrange a time, and prepare the G-5 form to be signed by the student and the committee members.   If the student is taking the 36 hour exam option, then the office will collect questions from faculty members who have taught the student.  

As the exam date approaches, the main office will provide the committee head with a G-7, which will be completed and turned in when the student passes the exam.  

If the committee believes that the student did not adequately pass the thesis defense or oral exam, the G-7 provides space for commentary.  If the committee believes that the student is not sufficient in the thesis defense or oral exam, it may recommend that the student complete written answers to certain questions, complete a research or written project over certain questions/topics, or satisfactorily complete another oral exam within a specified time as determined by the committee with a maximum of one semester.  These conditions should be filed in the main office and on the G-7.   

Committee heads should keep up with the processes and forms specified above.

Post Baccalaureate Certification Program