The master’s in English at Mason offers students the opportunity to enhance their skills of reading, writing, research and teaching with courses that encompass the wide range of contemporary English studies. Students can work in and across concentrations in literature, professional writing, rhetoric, cultural studies, film, folklore, linguistics, and the teaching of writing and literature. It offers the MA in field-specific concentrations as well as the opportunity to combine a concentration in one field with a certificate from another one. Many students use the MA for professional enhancement, or as an entry into teaching, professional writing, or doctoral study.

Admissions

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions. For information specific to the MA in English, see Application Requirements and Deadlines on the departmental website.

Policies

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Satisfactory Progress

Students have six years to complete the MA. Students writing a thesis must have an approved proposal by the end of their fifth year as an MA candidate in English and may not make significant changes to that proposal during their sixth year. By the end of the first semester of their sixth year, thesis students need to demonstrate that they have completed their research and are well advanced in developing their analysis and argument, generally by submitting to their advisors a completed rough draft of the thesis or evidence that they have completed their fieldwork and analysis. A student may be dropped from the program if, in the judgment of the thesis advisor and graduate director, evidence of satisfactory progress on the thesis has not been provided by the end of the first semester of a student’s sixth year.

Banner Code: LA-MA-ENGL

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30-33

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Students pursuing this degree must successfully complete 30 to 33 credits in one concentration as specified below. Students in the concentration in the teaching of writing and literature who chose to do a thesis complete 33 credits. 

Students in the concentrations of cultural studies, literature, and teaching of writing and literature must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a foreign language in one of the following ways: submitting an undergraduate (or continuing education) transcript that includes courses corresponding to intermediate proficiency; completing a Mason foreign language course numbered 210 or higher; passing a proficiency exam administered by the English department.

Concentration in Cultural Studies (CULT)

Required Courses
ENGH 676Introduction to Cultural Studies3
ENGH 701Research in English Studies3
CULT 802Histories of Cultural Studies3
Two Courses
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Introduction to Literary Theory
Introduction to Cinema Studies
Seminar in Global Culture
Seminar in Film and Media Studies
Feminist Theory and Criticism
Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English 1
Literary Theory and Criticism 1
Seminar in English/Cultural Studies 1
Three to Five Courses of Literature
Select 9-15 credits from the following:9-15
Graduate Literature Survey
Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies
Theories of Comparative Literature
Special Topics in the History and Criticism of Children's Literature
Graduate Survey in African American Literature
Introduction to Cinema Studies
Topics in Folk Narrative
Topics in Folklore Studies
Seminar in British Literature
Seminar in American Literature
Seminar in Advanced Research
Seminar in African-American Literature
Seminar in Literary Studies
Seminar in Global Culture
Seminar in Film and Media Studies
Advanced Topics in Folklore Studies
Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English
Literary Theory and Criticism
Projects in Literary Studies
Optional Project or Thesis
Select 3-6 credits of a project or a thesis from the following:3-6
Project: 2
Projects in Literary Studies (3 credits)
Thesis: 3
Thesis (6 credits)
Total Credits30
1

ENGH 685 Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English, ENGH 705 Literary Theory and Criticism, and ENGH 740 Seminar in English/Cultural Studies may be repeated once with permission of the director of graduate studies.

2

Students who choose a project take 3 fewer credits of literature.

3

Students who choose a thesis take 6 fewer credits of literature.

Concentration in Linguistics (LING)

The linguistics concentration combines courses in linguistics with courses in some related area of language study, such as teaching English as a second language, bilingual education, or foreign language teaching. This course of study is designed to prepare students for teaching in one of these fields or for doctoral work. The certificate in teaching English as a second language (TESL) can be earned concurrently.

Core Courses
LING 580First Language Acquisition3
LING 690Generative Phonology3
LING 692Phonology II3
LING 785Semantics and Pragmatics3
LING 786Syntax I3
LING 787Syntax II3
Electives
Select 12 credits of electives 112
Total Credits30
1

In consultation with an advisor, chosen from courses that reflect one or more areas of language study. Electives can be in such areas as linguistics, the teaching of reading or writing, literary criticism, bilingual education, or a foreign language, and may include 6 credits of thesis.

Concentration in Literature (LIT)

Required Courses 1
ENGH 551Introduction to Literary Theory3
ENGH 701Research in English Studies3
Literature
Select 18 credits from the following: 218
Graduate Literature Survey
Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies
Theories of Comparative Literature
Special Topics in the History and Criticism of Children's Literature
Graduate Survey in African American Literature
Introduction to Cinema Studies
Topics in Folk Narrative
Topics in Folklore Studies
Seminar in British Literature
Seminar in American Literature
Seminar in Advanced Research
Seminar in African-American Literature
Seminar in Literary Studies
Seminar in Global Culture
Seminar in Film and Media Studies
Advanced Topics in Folklore Studies
Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English
Literary Theory and Criticism
Projects in Literary Studies
Two Electives or Thesis6
Select 6 credits of Electives 3
Thesis
Total Credits30
1

Must be taken in the first 12 credits of the degree. Another course in literary theory and criticism may substitute for ENGH 551 Introduction to Literary Theory with prior written approval of the graduate director.

2

Courses fulfilling this requirement must include at least three 600-level ENGH seminars. Graduate seminars involve focused study of a topic with significant attention to scholarship in the field.

3

Electives taught within the English department may be taken without permission of the graduate director. A maximum of six credits of related study outside the department may substitute for the equivalent number of elective credits, with permission of the graduate director.

4

Students who choose a thesis take 6 fewer credits of literature or electives.

Concentration in Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR)

Required Courses
ENGH 501Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric 13
ENGH 502Research Methods in Rhetoric and Professional Writing3
ENGH 503Theory and Practice of Editing3
ENGH 505Document Design3
Professional Writing
Select 9 credits from the following:9
Internship
Research for Narrative Writing
Web Authoring and Design
Digital Rhetoric
Proposal Writing and Development
Online Writing
Studies in Rhetoric
Cultures of Professional Writing
Technical Communication
Proseminar in Composition Instruction
Advanced Proposal Writing
Special Topics in Writing and Rhetoric
Northern Virginia Writing Project Teacher/Research Seminar
Composition Theory
Theory
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Digital Rhetoric
Introduction to Literary Theory
Studies in Rhetoric
Feminist Theory and Criticism
Introduction to Cultural Studies
Electives in English
Select 3-6 credits of electives in English3-6
Project or Thesis
Select 3-6 credits of a project or thesis3-6
Project: 2
Projects in Professional Writing and Rhetoric (3 credits)
Thesis:
Thesis (6 credits)
Total Credits30
1

ENGH 501 Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric should be taken in the first semester of study, if possible.

2

Students who choose a project take one additional elective of 3 credits.

Concentration in the Teaching of Writing and Literature (TWL)

Required Course
ENGH 701Research in English Studies3
Writing
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Document Design
Form of Poetry
Forms of Nonfiction
Forms of Fiction
Studies in Rhetoric
Cultures of Professional Writing
Technical Communication
Nonfiction Writing Workshop
Poetry Writing Workshop
Fiction Writing Workshop
Special Topics in Writing
Workshop in English
Literature
Select 6 credits from the following:6
Graduate Literature Survey
Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies
Theories of Comparative Literature
Special Topics in the History and Criticism of Children's Literature
Graduate Survey in African American Literature
Introduction to Cinema Studies
Topics in Folk Narrative
Topics in Folklore Studies
Seminar in British Literature
Seminar in American Literature
Seminar in Advanced Research
Seminar in African-American Literature
Seminar in Literary Studies
Seminar in Global Culture
Seminar in Film and Media Studies
Advanced Topics in Folklore Studies
Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English
Literary Theory and Criticism
Projects in Literary Studies
Linguistics
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Field Work in Applied Linguistics
Introduction to Linguistics 1
Applied Linguistics: Teaching English as a Second Language
Modern English Grammar
Psycholinguistics
Methods of Teaching Culturally Linguistically Diverse Learners
Teaching of Writing
Select 3 credits from the following:
Proseminar in Composition Instruction
Northern Virginia Writing Project Inservice Program (offered only to full-time teachers through school district contracts)
Workshop in English (NVWP Summer Institute, open to full-time teachers on an invitation basis)
Teaching of Literature
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Proseminar in Teaching the Reading of Literature
Northern Virginia Writing Project Inservice Program (offered only to full-time teachers through school district contracts)
Composition Theory
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Composition Theory
Studies in Rhetoric (an appropriate section)
Elective in Literature or Writing
Select up to 3 credits in literature or writing3
Students who choose to complete project or thesis credits below will do so in place of this requirement.
Optional Project or Thesis
Select 3-6 credits of a project or thesis in place of elective3-6
Project: 2
Projects in Literary Studies (3 credits)
Thesis: 3
Thesis (6 credits)
Total Credits30-33
1

Students usually fulfill this requirement with LING 520 Introduction to Linguistics. The other courses listed have prerequisites.

2

Students who choose a project take 3 fewer elective credits in literature or writing.

3

Students may arrange to do a thesis working with an advisor and the director of graduate studies in English. Students who pursue this option take 3 fewer elective credits in literature or writing. They must complete 33 (rather than 30) credits to receive their degree.

Bachelor's Degree (any)/English, Accelerated MA (Linguistics Concentration)

Overview

Highly qualified Mason undergraduates in any major may apply to the accelerated master's degree in English with a concentration in linguistics. If accepted, students will be able to earn a BA in their chosen major and an MA in English with a concentration in linguistics after satisfactory completion of 144 credits.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in Graduate Admissions. For information specific to the accelerated MA in English (linguistics concentration), see Application Requirements and Deadlines on the departmental website.

Accelerated Option Requirements

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students complete two graduate courses (chosen from LING 690 Generative PhonologyLING 580 First Language AcquisitionLING 692 Phonology II) as indicated on their Accelerated Master's Program Application with a minimum grade of 3.00 in each course. Once admitted to the accelerated master's pathway, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 in all course work. Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in the semester indicated in the application, they submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form and are admitted to graduate status.

As graduate students, accelerated master's students have an advanced standing. They must meet all master's degree requirements except for the two courses (6 credits) they completed as undergraduates. Students must begin their master's program the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree.

Reserve Graduate Credit

Students may take up to 6 additional credits of LING 500-level and 600-level courses as reserve graduate credit. These credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree. To apply these credits to the master's degree, students should use the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form.

The ability to take courses, including ones not listed above, for reserve graduate credit is available to all high achieving undergraduates with the permission of the department.  Permission is normally granted only to qualified Mason seniors within 15 hours of graduation. See AP.1.4.4 Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates.