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Department of English


Master of Arts Degree in English

The Master of Arts degree in English offers the student an opportunity to acquire a general knowledge of literatures written primarily in English, to understand the historical and cultural contexts in which that literature was produced, to develop skills in critical analysis, and to conduct literary, rhetorical, and linguistic research.

Admission Requirements. In addition to satisfying the University-wide graduate admission requirements, the applicant must have completed at least 18 semester credit hours of work (exclusive of freshman courses) in English with a grade point average of 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale) in all work taken in English at the upper-division and graduate levels. This work must include at least 12 semester credit hours of upper-division English literature courses, and the student must have a grade point average of 3.3 in these courses. The applicant must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. These scores, considered in comparison with scores from applicants of similar socioeconomic background, will be used as one element in the evaluation of the applicant.

Degree Requirements. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for this degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove admission deficiencies, is 36. Any grade lower than “B” in a graduate course will not count toward the 36 semester credit hours of coursework required in items A and B below.

Degree candidates must complete the following requirements:

  1. 24 semester credit hours in the major, distributed as follows:

    1. Core Courses. 6 semester credit hours required:

      ENG 5013   Introduction to the Graduate Study of Literature (normally must be taken in the student’s first semester)
      ENG 5053   Topics in Literary Genres

    2. Prescribed electives. 18 semester credit hours, distributed as follows:

      1. 6 semester credit hours of ENG literary study from before 1700, at least 3 of which must be ENG 5943 Topics in Major English Authors

      2. 6 semester credit hours of ENG literary study between 1700 and 1900

      3. 6 semester credit hours of ENG literary study after 1900

      At least 6 hours of the above prescribed electives must include the study of literatures of the U.S., 3 of which must include the study of multiethnic literatures of the U.S. after 1900.

  2. 12 semester credit hours of electives in graduate English. In consultation with the Graduate Advisor of Record, the student will select a program of elective courses in one of several specialized areas of study, such as the following:

    • Literature and/or Literary Theory
    • Linguistics and/or Rhetoric and Composition
    • Creative Writing
    • Post-colonial and Cultural Studies
    • Others as approved by the M.A. in English Graduate Program Committee

    Students who have a grade point average of 3.3 or better, and with approval of the M.A. Graduate Advisor, may choose to include electives from outside of English.

    Thesis option: Students who have completed 24 or more semester credit hours in an approved program of study with a grade point average of 3.5 or better, upon submission and approval of a thesis proposal to a Thesis Director and the Graduate Program Committee, may elect to include ENG 6983,6 Master’s Thesis in their 12 elective hours. Students choosing to write a creative thesis must have completed, among their approved electives, 6 hours of ENG 6043 Creative Writing or the equivalent; at least 3 of these 6 hours must be in the genre of the thesis.

As soon as a student completes 12 semester credit hours of graduate coursework in English, he or she must meet with the Graduate Advisor to draw up a program of study.

In addition to the semester-credit-hour requirements set forth above, candidates for the degree are required to pass the Comprehensive Examination. The Comprehensive Examination, composed of both written and oral portions, is offered two times a year, each Fall and Spring semester, and may be offered during the Summer term under extraordinary circumstances. Under normal circumstances, the Comprehensive Examination may be taken only twice.

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Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing

The Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing is a 12-semester-credit-hour concentration available to degree-seeking students who have been admitted to any UTSA graduate program. Students who already have a graduate degree may also be considered for admission to the Creative Writing certificate program as special graduate students.

The Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing adds interdisciplinary breadth to a student’s course of study while increasing the depth and coherence of a student’s work in creative writing. Given the growing interest in creative writing in nontraditional disciplines of medicine, sociology, and psychology as well as in liberal arts, many students find this formal recognition of their work in Creative Writing to be a valuable credential in both academic and nonacademic job markets. This certificate demands an active engagement in graduate-level creative writing classes. Students who are pursuing the Graduate Certificate also receive first consideration for graduate workshop registration.

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate include 12 semester credit hours of ENG 6043 Creative Writing repeated in any combination, but at least 3 hours must be taken in each genre (poetry and fiction). No course in which a grade lower than “B” is earned may be used to complete a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing.

Individuals interested in the Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing should contact the Graduate Office of the Department of English.

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Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric and Composition

The Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric and Composition is a 12-semester-credit-hour concentration available to degree-seeking students who have been admitted to any UTSA graduate program, as well as special graduate students who meet all the requirements outlined in the UTSA Graduate Catalog.

The Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric and Composition offers coursework in advanced, interdisciplinary study of language and language instruction, encompassing theoretical, applied, and pedagogical aspects of discourse. This certificate is designed for graduate students interested in working at the master’s or doctoral level in rhetoric and composition and will be particularly valuable for doctoral students focusing on one of the two areas of emphasis in the Ph.D. in English program, Rhetoric and Composition. This certificate will also enhance students’ employment credentials as college and university writing instructors or professional writers in corporate, nonprofit, and educational settings. This certificate offers further professional development at the graduate level for teachers already teaching English Language Arts at the high school level.

Requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric and Composition comprise 12 semester credit hours, including:

  1. 3 semester credit hours of required coursework:

    ENG 5133   Development of Rhetoric and Composition

  2. 9 semester credit hours chosen from the following:

    ENG 5183   Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition
    ENG 6023   Rhetoric and Composition: Text and Context
    ENG 6033   Language and Linguistics
    ENG 7113   Supervised Teaching in English

Courses may be repeated when topics vary but not more than 6 hours of any one course may be applied to the certificate. No course in which a grade lower than “B” is earned may be used to complete a Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric and Composition. In order to receive this certificate, students must maintain a 3.0 or better grade point average in the above courses.

Individuals interested in the Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric and Composition should contact the Graduate Office of the Department of English.

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Doctor of Philosophy Degree in English

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in English offers students opportunities for advanced study and research in cross-cultural, transnational approaches to English language and literary studies, with coursework required in U.S. Latina/o literature and the theory and practice of teaching composition. The Ph.D. in English is awarded to candidates who complete all required coursework, demonstrate in-depth, cross-cultural knowledge of literature, language or composition and rhetoric, and produce an original contribution to their field of specialization.

The regulations for this degree comply with the general University requirements (refer to Chapter 2, General Academic Regulations, and Chapter 5, Doctoral Degree Regulations).

Admission Requirements. In addition to satisfying the University-wide graduate admission requirements, the minimum requirements for admission to the Doctoral program in English are as follows:

  1. The student must have a Master’s degree in English or a related discipline with a grade point average of 3.5 or better or a Bachelor’s degree in English or a related discipline with a grade point average of 3.5 or better.

  2. A minimum of at least 18 upper-division and/or graduate hours in English literary studies with a grade point average of 3.5 or better.

In addition, applicants must submit:

  1. A statement of purpose (2–3 pages).

  2. A writing sample (a research paper of approximately 15 pages).

  3. Three letters of recommendation attesting to the student’s academic training, capability, and potential.

  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from both the General Test and the English Subject Test. These scores will be considered in comparison with scores from applicants of similar socioeconomic background.

  5. Students who have received degrees from non-English speaking universities must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores of no less than 550 (paper version), or 79 (Internet version).

Degree Requirements. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for this degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove admission deficiencies, is 39 graduate hours beyond the Master’s degree.

Students who are accepted into the Doctoral program without a Master’s degree must complete all requirements for the Master of Arts degree in English or its equivalent. Courses in which students receive any grade lower than “B” will not count toward the 39 semester credit hours of coursework required in items A through D.

Degree candidates for the Doctoral degree must complete the following requirements:

  1. Core Curriculum (9 semester credit hours):

    ENG 5183   Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition
    (OR, if a course equivalent to ENG 5183 has already been taken, ENG 6023   Rhetoric and Composition: Text and Context)

    ENG 6013   Theoretical and Research Methods
    ENG 6053   Latina/o Studies: Text and Context

  2. Seminars (9 semester credit hours):

    ENG 7053   Seminar: Latina/o Studies
    ENG 7063   Seminar: Issues in Culture
    ENG 7073   Seminar: Theory and Criticism

  3. Electives:

    1. Prescribed electives (3 semester credit hours):

      ENG 6023   Rhetoric and Composition: Text and Context (if not taken to fulfill core requirement)
      or
      ENG 6033   Language and Linguistics
      or
      ENG 6063   Cross Cultural Issues: Text and Context


    2. Free electives (minimum 12 semester credit hours, including at least 6 in ENG graduate courses). The student, in consultation with an academic advisor and the Doctoral Advisor of Record, will select at least 12 hours of freely elected courses. Students will select coursework from available graduate courses in ENG or, with approval of the Graduate Program Committee, related disciplines.

  4. Doctoral research (minimum 6 semester credit hours):

    ENG 7311-3   Doctoral Dissertation

The entire program of study must be approved by the student’s dissertation advisor, dissertation committee, and Graduate Program Committee, and must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, through the Dean of the College, for final approval.

Language Requirement. In addition to fluency in English, students must demonstrate proficiency in Spanish or another language that is approved in advance by the Graduate Program Committee. Proficiency may be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

  1. Successful completion of an upper-division undergraduate course or a graduate course with a grade of “B” or better. The course must be approved in advance by the Graduate Program Committee.

  2. Passing the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) examination in the approved language with a score of 85% or higher.

Admission to Candidacy. A student will be admitted to candidacy after completing all University and program requirements, passing the Qualifying Examination, and completing a dissertation prospectus. The Qualifying Examination will be based on three areas of literary study, one of which must be cross-cultural in focus; all three must be relevant to the student’s anticipated dissertation and selected in consultation with the student’s examination committee. In consultation with the examination committee, the student will prepare reading lists in each area and compose position papers in each of the three areas. The examination committee must approve the reading lists and conduct an oral examination on the reading lists and the position papers. The Qualifying Examination will be completed when the examination committee approves the student’s written and oral examination. After completion of the Qualifying Examination and submission of the dissertation prospectus (approximately 15–20 pages), the student will submit a portfolio (as described in the Graduate Student Handbook). The student’s Dissertation Committee approves the student’s dissertation prospectus and the portfolio and recommends admission to candidacy to the Dean of the Graduate School through the Graduate Program Committee and the Dean of the College.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination (Defense of the Dissertation). Candidates must demonstrate their ability to conduct independent research by completing and defending an original dissertation that makes a significant contribution to the fields of English literature, language, or rhetoric and composition. The student, in consultation with his or her dissertation advisor, determines the research topic. A dissertation committee, selected by the student and dissertation advisor and approved by the Dean of the College and the Dean of the Graduate School, will guide and critique the candidate’s research. The dissertation committee must unanimously approve the completed dissertation. The dissertation shall then be defended publicly before the dissertation committee.

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