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Department of English » M.A. in English » Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

In Effect for Students Enrolled Fall 2012 and After

To receive the Masters in English degree, each student must:

  • Complete ten term courses (30 credits), including Introduction to Graduate Literary Study and at least one course from the areas of Linguistics or Writing Studies (Philology requirement, see below), 2 pre-1800 courses (one if you are pursuing the Writing Studies track) and 1 American literature course.
  • Pass a Candidacy Examination in two subject areas (see Candidacy Exam Guidelines and Reading List).
  • With the approval of the faculty, students may exempt themselves from one subject area of examination by submitting a thesis.

Students must complete the degree within five years from the date of their matriculation in the program.

Graduate School-Camden Academic Policies and Procedures may be found at: http://catalogs.rutgers.edu/generated/cam-grad_current/pg76.html

In Effect for Students Enrolled Prior to Fall 2012

To receive the Masters in English degree, each student must:

  • Complete ten term courses (30 credits), including Introduction to Graduate Literary Study and at least one course from the areas of Linguistics or Writing Studies (Philology requirement, see below)
  • Pass a final Comprehensive Examination in two subject areas (see Comprehensive Exam Reading List).
  • With the approval of the faculty, students may exempt themselves from one subject area of examination by submitting a thesis.

Students must complete the degree within five years from the date of their matriculation in the program.

Graduate School-Camden Academic Policies and Procedures may be found at: http://catalogs.rutgers.edu/generated/cam-grad_current/pg76.html


Philology Requirement

The following courses satisfy the philology requirement (3 credits/1 course):

  1. 615:520 Structure of the English Language
  2. 615:530 History of the English Language
  3. 615:550 Linguistics and Literature
  4. 615:560 Language, Power, and Politics
  5. 615:595, 596 Special Topics: Linguistics
  6. 615:597, 598 Independent Study: Linguistics
  7. 842:552 Theories of Rhetoric
  8. 842:553 History of Rhetoric
  9. 842:554, 555 Special Topics: Rhetoric
  10. 842:556, 557 Independent Study: Rhetoric
  11. 842:560 Theories of Composition
  12. 842:561 Teaching of Writing: Theory and Praxis
  13. 842:562 Discourse, Genre, and the Teaching of Writing
  14. 842:563 Computers and Writing
  15. 842:564 Literacy Studies
  16. 842:565, 566 Special Topics: Writing and Media
  17. 842:567, 568 Independent Study: Writing and Media
  18. 842:569  Practicum in the Teaching of Writing

Master’s Comprehensive Examination

The Master’s Comprehensive Examination is given twice a year, once in late October or early November and again in late March or early April. You must notify the graduate director in writing of your intention to sit for the exam by the beginning of the term in which you plan to take it. Please note: you must have completed ten graduate courses or be enrolled in your tenth course in order to take the examination. Incomplete courses do not count.

The graduate director offers an information session a few weeks before the examination. The workshop is primarily for students who are registered for the exam, but any student is welcome to attend.

The comprehensive examination is a test of the breadth and depth of the student’s knowledge of literature in two literary historical periods as chosen by the student. The exam is based on a reading list of works that represent the major authors and works of these periods. The student is expected to be familiar with all of these works and to be able to place and discuss them in critical and historical contexts. A selection of standard works on criticism and literary history is appended to the reading lists, though the student will not be examined on these works specifically.

The examination consists of a morning and an afternoon session, each lasting three hours. Each session is devoted to a particular subject area and consists of two parts: brief passages chosen from works on the reading list and an essay. Each passage represents a significant moment in the text from which it is taken, or one that is characteristic of its author’s thought or literary style. The student is asked to identify the passages by author and title, and to explain why the passages are significant in terms of the work as a whole and in terms of the literary historical period in question. The essay portion of the exam asks the student to refer to at least four works from the period.

Each set of examination papers will be read by two faculty members — normally, by the member whose area of expertise is addressed by the student, and by the graduate director. Each reader will assign a mark of “no pass,” “pass,” or “high pass.” In case of disagreement, a third reading will be sought. A score of “high pass” on both halves of the exam is necessary to graduate with “Comprehensive Examination with Distinction.” A score of “no pass” on either portion of the exam requires that the student be re-examined only on that portion that was not passed. The results will be reported to the student no later than two weeks after the date of the examination. Where necessary, re-examination will be scheduled by mutual agreement between the student and the graduate director after they have discussed any deficiencies appearing in the first examination.

The Master’s Comprehensive Exam List Online (also PDF- downloadable)


Diploma Application Submission Process

Students must go to the following website: (https://www.ugadmissions.rutgers.edu/DIPLOMA/Login.aspx) to state their intent to graduate. This link, with deadlines, is also posted on the Graduate School website: http://graduateschool.camden.rutgers.edu.