The M.A. is an individually designed degree, which you plan in conjunction with the Director of Graduate Studies and other faculty in the department. We recognize that students come to our program with a wide range of personal and work related goals, and we try to plan a course of study that fits your interests. M.A. candidates take courses and seminars with our doctoral and MFA students and work with our research faculty.
Our M.A. is a 30-credit, 10 course degree, and it takes at least two years to complete if you attend the University full time. Throughout your study here, various forms and procedures must be completed. Aside from your courses, you need to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one classical or modern foreign language. Most students demonstrate this knowledge by taking summer reading courses or passing a proficiency exam.
You will write three major papers, which are usually expanded and refined versions of papers you write in a course or seminar or in an independent study project. These papers demonstrate your familiarity with the tools of research or scholarship in English studies and your ability to write clearly, accurately, and succinctly on significant topics.
Near the end of your studies you will take an oral exam, which allows you to bring the main strands of your work together. The exam is based chiefly on your three major papers, and the three-person examining committee will include one or more of the professors for whom you wrote those papers.
See the M.A. and Ph.D. handbook for details on departmental policies and procedures.
The minimum course requirements for an M.A. in English at Minnesota include the following:
Here are three sample course plans to give you the flavor of how students can orchestrate their work while filling requirements.
1. You wish to specialize and develop expertise in two fields of English studies, in this case English language and Nineteenth-century literature.
2. You seek a broad reading background to complement your undergraduate experience, which focused on contemporary novels.
3. As a high school teacher, you want to add to your expertise as a writing instructor and to explore new media and film.
Please note: The courses offered at a research university change from year to year as different faculty teach new courses or revise old ones, based on the changing practices and knowledge in their fields. Therefore, what you wind up with in your program will necessarily be a blend of what you want to study, which professors you wish to work with, and which courses are available.