To complete the Masters Degree in English, a student must pass the Candidacy Examination in two subject areas, or write a Masters thesis and pass the Candidacy Examination in one subject area.

For students who opt to write a thesis, the Candidacy Exam must be taken in an area separate from the area investigated in the thesis. 

The examination consists of a morning and an afternoon session, each lasting two hours.

  • The morning session includes five brief, key passages chosen from works on the reading list. Each passage represents a significant moment in the text from which it is taken, or is characteristic of its author’s thought or literary style. The examinee is asked to identify the passages by author and title, and to write a one paragraph (four or five sentence) explanation of why the passages are significant in terms of the work as a whole and in terms of the literary historical period in question.
  • In the afternoon session, the student will write a one-hour essay which refers to at least four works from the period.

The list of approved subject areas and their detailed syllabi can be accessed here