Jul 14, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

English, M.A.

College: Arts and Sciences
Department: English 


  • Literature
  • Rhetoric and Composition

Also offered as Bachelor’s/Master’s Pathways  


The M.A. in English with a concentration in Literature is a continuation of the B.A. with greater depth in literary knowledge and an introduction and implementation of methods, standards, and conventions of scholarship on literature.  It is a generalist degree with broad-based distribution requirements, but it has the flexibility to study cutting-edge theories and newly emerging fields of interests (including cultural and comparative studies, ethnic literatures, and genre studies such as film).  The department also offers a M.A. in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition. It is designed to produce teacher-scholars who have solid, foundational knowledge of critical theory, PTC theory and practice, and composition pedagogy, as well as a specialized knowledge in their field of concentration.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • B.A. in English
  • Undergraduate GPA 3.50
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Scholarly writing sample of approximately 2500 words (ten double-spaced pages) excluding bibliography or works cited; applicants may excerpt from a longer essay. Generally, the committee seeks to review academic writing from an English course.
  • A two-to-three page personal statement describing the student’s background, purpose for attending graduate studies, and career goals

All materials, including transcripts, must be received by the application deadline in order for students to be considered for admission. Graduates of USF do not need to order official transcripts. Applications are reviewed by an admissions committee. Students will be notified of the admissions decision within four to six weeks after the deadline.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours -33 Credit Hours

  • Core Requirements – 6 Credit Hours
  • Concentration – 9 Credit Hours (Literature) / 12 Credit Hours (Rhetoric)
  • Electives - 15 Credit Hours (Literature) / 9 Credit Hours (Rhetoric)
  • Non-thesis (Literature) - 3 Credit Hours  / Thesis (Rhetoric) - 6 Credit Hours

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)

Concentration Requirements:

Students must select from the following concentrations:

Literature Concentration (9 Credit Hours)

Required Courses (9 Credit Hours) Select one of the following (3 Credit Hours) and then select two courses (6 Credit Hours) from the Historical Distribution.

Rhetoric and Composition Concentration (12 Credit Hours)

Electives (9 Credit Hours Minimum)

One Directed Study may be used to substitute for degree requirement with the approval of the Graduate Director.


Students in the Literature Concentration select at least two designated Critical Cultural courses out of five electives in any LAE, LIT, ENG, ENL, ENC, AML courses.

Critical –- Cultural Studies Requirement (2 courses / 6 credits). Courses under the category of “Critical Cultural” can be any courses within the graduate curriculum that seek to foreground either:

  1. literature, theory, and critique by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) with critical emphasis on intersectionality (such as race, empire, class, gender, and sexuality), or
  2. works on race, settler colonialism, empire, class, gender, sexuality with emphasis on literature, theory, and critique by BIPOC.  

•    Students taking ENC 6745 Practice in Teaching Composition must use this as an elective if they count it toward the 33 credits in the degree.
•    Students taking ENG 6946 Internship must use this as an elective if they count it toward the 33 credits in the degree. 
•    No CRW courses will be allowed in the Literature track 

Students in the Rhetoric and Composition Concentration select three courses within Literature or Rhetoric and Composition from the following (9 Credit Hours):

Non-Thesis (Portfolio) Option (3 Credit Hours Minimum)

Students in the Literature Concentration complete a portfolio and portfolio defense. Three directed study hours to prepare portfolio.  In their fourth and final semester (excluding summer terms), students will submit a portfolio for review to a two-member faculty committee six-weeks prior to the Office of Graduate Studies deadline for thesis/dissertation submission.  Upon submission, the student and chair of the committee will establish a defense date with the Graduate Program Specialist.

The portfolio will contain the following:

•    An introductory first-person essay.
•    Two revised seminar papers 5000-6000 words in length.

Papers should be developed under the direction of two different faculty members from the English Department, who then will form the committee for the defense.  The portfolio will be reviewed and evaluated by this two-member faculty committee using the published assessment rubric. There will be a required Oral Defense.

Thesis Option (6 Credit Hours Minimum)

Students in the Rhetoric and Composition Concentration complete a Thesis or Portfolio on a Rhetoric and Composition subject plus an oral defense.

The thesis – 40-50 pages– should be based on student’s specialization in Rhetoric and Composition.  This manuscript can be a revision and extension of a course paper or conference paper.  It must contribute to the discipline by advancing scholarly discussions in Rhetoric and Composition studies and offering new knowledge.

Comprehensive Exam

Students in the Literature Concentration complete a capstone requirement/portfolio, including an oral defense, in lieu of a comprehensive exam.  For students in the Rhetoric and Composition Concentration, the thesis defense serves in lieu of a comprehensive exam.

Bachelor’s/Master’s Pathway

Also available as a Bachelor’s/Master’s Pathway