Policies and Procedures

The M. A. Degree in English is primarily focused upon British and American Literature. (With the approval of specific department advisers in these areas, one may add a secondary concentration in Composition Studies or Creative Writing by taking appropriate coursework.)

[The M.A. in English with TESOL Option (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is a separate degree altogether, with its own admissions requirements and graduation requirements. See the links for that program or consult the university catalog.]

Those seeking to enter the English M.A. program must first apply (online) to the university and submit all required documents—application forms, transcripts, etc. Once these documents are in order, the Admissions Office will send a Graduate Transmittal Form to the department for its consideration.

To be admitted to the English graduate program, without conditions, one must hold a B.A. in English, with a 3.0 grade point average in undergraduate English courses. Applicants should submit to the department two letters of recommendation (at least one of which should be from a former professor who can speak about the applicant's academic performance and promise) and an example of academic writing. (Those who wish to add a secondary concentration in Creative Writing should also submit samples of creative work.)

Students are normally admitted to the program as "conditionally classified" graduate students. Once they have passed ENGL 6001, with a grade of A or B, satisfied the University Writing Skills Requirement, and completed any conditional prerequisites or co-requisites indicated at the time of admission, they may advance to "classified" status. Once classified students have completed 20 units of graduate level coursework, with grades of A or B, and have satisfied the foreign language requirement, they may advance to "candidacy" for the degree.

Total units required for the degree: 48 quarter units (plus any conditional prerequisites or co-requisites indicated at the time of admission)

(A maximum of 13 quarter units of accredited, post-baccalaureate coursework done at another university or through Extension may be applied to the degree, with the approval of a graduate adviser and the department chair.)

Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 in all courses that count toward the degree.

At least 32 quarter units must be in 6000-level courses (excluding 6900, 6909, and 6910) and must include English 6001 (4 units); an additional FOUR 6000-level literature courses (one in American literature, one in British literature, two in literature before 1900) (16 units); and an additional THREE 6000-level courses in literature, creative writing, composition studies, or linguistics (12 units). The remaining 16 quarter units may include English 6910, University Thesis (a maximum of 4 thesis units may be counted for the degree), English 6900 or 4900, Independent Study (a maximum of 4 independent study units may be counted for the degree), and 4000-level and/or 6000-level courses. [English 6909, Department Thesis, may NOT be used for the regular M.A. degree in English. This is the thesis specifically required in the M.A. TESOL degree option.]

The university thesis, English 6910, is optional. Thesis proposals must be approved by two regular members of the English faculty, one as 'director' and one as 'second reader', before a thesis can be undertaken. Faculty members are not obliged to accept thesis proposals or to direct theses. (Students may petition to write a thesis or equivalent work in fiction, verse, drama, or non-fiction prose, with a faculty member from the creative writing program serving as 'director'.) . (NOTE: Students who wish to submit a thesis for the degree must register for at least one unit of English 6910. The maximum number of thesis units that can be counted toward the degree is 4.) Students who elect to submit a thesis must comply with the thesis instructions of the Department of English as well as those in the University Thesis Writing Guide available online. 

For those who elect to submit an approved thesis, ONE exit examination in a historical period of British and/or American literature or in composition studies is required. For those who do not elect to submit an approved thesis, TWO exit examinations in the areas named above are required. Students should consult a graduate adviser for details. Reading lists for the exit exams are posted on the department's website.

Students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a foreign language by passing a translation test administered by the English department. Students who have completed one year of college-level foreign language study as undergraduates are deemed to have satisfied this requirement. (American Sign Language may be used for the foreign language requirement, in which case, a year of college-level coursework is required.) Students should consult a graduate adviser for details

In addition to departmental requirements, every student must also satisfy the university requirements for graduation which are described in the Graduate and Post-baccalaureate Studies chapter at the beginning of the graduate section of this catalog. These requirements include the 32-unit residence requirement, the five-year rule on currency of subject matter, the minimum number of units of 6000-level courses (24 units), the 3.00 grade point average, and the University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR). For information on meeting the University Writing Skills Requirement, see the Testing Office or call (510) 885-3662.

A student must apply formally to graduate with a master's degree, by submitting a "Candidate for Degree" card during the Add period for the quarter before the one in which (s)he expects to graduate. Also during the quarter before the one in which the student expects to graduate, (s)he must ask the department's Graduate Coordinator to send the "Major Check" sheet, "Advancement to Candidacy" form, and "Capstone Certification" form to the Graduate Evaluations Office.