English Master of Arts Program

The Master of Arts Program in English offers the following four concentrations: Literature, Writing and Rhetoric, Creative Writing--Poetry, and Creative Writing--Fiction.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited college or university.
  • Demonstration of the potential to pursue graduate study successfully - that is, attainment of a minimum undergraduate Grade Point Average of 3.0 in the undergraduate record as a whole and a 3.0 in English.
  • Study of a minimum of 18 credit hours in courses beyond the introductory level in English.
  • Submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test.
  • Submission of three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be from a person who can testify to the candidate's ability as a student of literature, writing and rhetoric, or creative writing. (as appropriate).
  • Submission of a personal statement of some 500 words indicating as precisely as possible the applicant's preparation for master's work and career plans.
  • Submission of a 10-25 page writing sample, depending on concentration. For students applying to the Literature Concentration, this must be an essay demonstrating critical analysis of a literary text or set of texts. One 12-25 page essay is preferred, but two shorter essays can be submitted in its place (totaling 12-25 pages). For students applying to the Writing & Rhetoric Concentration, a 12-25 page sample of creative nonfiction can be submitted in place of the critical analysis, although students may choose to submit a critical analysis. Again, one long essay is preferred, but two shorter essays can be submitted in its place (totaling 12-25 pages). For students applying to the Creative Writing / Poetry Concentration, at least 5 poems totaling 10-12 pages should be submitted. For students applying to the Creative Writing / Fiction Concentration, a 12-25-page sample of short fiction or excerpt from a longer work should be submitted. One short story is preferred, but multiple stories can be submitted to fulfill the page-requirement.

Degree Requirements

After planning his or her program in advance with the Graduate Program Director, the student must complete a minimum of 30 credits in English with an average of B or better. Students are encouraged to enroll in a full course load (9 credits) each semester so that the program can be completed in four semesters.

I. Concentrations in Literature or Writing and Rhetoric (21 credits)

Credits
ENG 700Introduction to English Studies

3

ENG 702introduction Critical Theory

3

 

ENG 784Readings in Composition and Rhetoric

3

Or

ENG 785Seminar in Writing: Practice and Theory

3

 

ENG 795Master's Research

3

9 credits in Electives:

Three courses in literary history, language and literature, or writing and rhetoric. One elective may be in creative writing or from outside the Department with the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

II. Concentration in Literature (9 credits)

3 credits in Literature to 1700:

Credits
ENG 703Studies in Old English Language and Literature

3

ENG 705Studies in Medieval English Language and Literature

3

ENG 712Studies in the Renaissance

3

ENG 713Studies in Shakespeare

3

ENG 722Studies in Seventeenth-Century English Literature

3

3 credits in Literature 1700-1900:

Credits
ENG 731Studies in Eighteenth-Century English Literature

3

ENG 740Studies in Romanticism

3

ENG 742Studies in Nineteenth-Century English Literature

3

ENG 748Studies in American Literature to 1800

3

ENG 750Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

3

3 credits in Literature 1900 to present:

Credits
ENG 753Studies In Modernism

3

ENG 755Studies in Twentieth-Century English Literature

3

ENG 756Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature

3

ENG 757Studies in Contemporary Literature

3

III. Concentrations Writing and Rhetoric Concentration (9 credits)

3 credits in whichever course was not taken for the core:

Credits
ENG 784Readings in Composition and Rhetoric

3

ENG 785Seminar in Writing: Practice and Theory

3

6 credits in Two additional courses in writing/rhetoric:

Credits
ENG 783Practicum in Teaching College Writing

3

ENG 788Writing and Rhetoric in the Digital Age

3

ENG 790Special Topics in Composition and Rhetoric

3

ENG 793Literacy and Community

3

IV. Concentration in Creative Writing (18 credits)

Credits
ENG 700Introduction to English Studies

3

Or

ENG 702introduction Critical Theory

3

 

ENG 784Readings in Composition and Rhetoric

3

Or

ENG 785Seminar in Writing: Practice and Theory

3

 

ENG 795Master's Research

3

9 credits in Electives:

Three courses in literature

Poetry Concentration (12 credits)

6 credits in two workshops:

Credits
ENW 701Poetry Workshop

3

6 credits in two craft courses:

Credits
ENW 711Forms and Techniques in Poetry

3

Fiction Concentration (12 credits)

6 credits in two workshops:

Credits
ENW 702Fiction Workshop

3

6 credits in two craft courses:

Credits
ENW 712Forms and Techniques in Fiction

3

Foreign Language (for all M.A. candidates)

The foreign language requirement emphasizes the relationship between the knowledge of foreign languages and the study of literature and the practice of writing. Early in their studies, students should choose a language relevant to their research and/or to their future professional plans. The requirement may be satisfied by (1) demonstrating the ability to translate lucidly, with a dictionary, a passage from a modern critical text; or by (2) earning a B or better in coursework within the past five years in (a) an intensive language-for-reading course offered through the Language Reading Program at the CUNY Graduate Center or (b) an advanced undergraduate course in literature read in the foreign language. NOTE: The following languages are automatically accepted for meeting this requirement: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Kiswahili, Latin, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Yoruba. Students wishing to choose another language must apply to the Department's Graduate Committee for approval.

Master's Essay (for Concentrations in Literature or Writing and Rhetoric)

With the completion of 15 credits, a student should begin planning to write his or her Master's Essay, which must be 25-35 pages in length and demonstrate original scholarship suitable for publication in a scholarly journal in the field of English. While it may originate in a previous seminar project, the final essay must demonstrate substantive revision and expansion, including new research, as verified by the faculty director. The essay will be read by a faculty advisor and a second reader that is approved by the Graduate Program Director.

The Master's Essay must be researched and written in conjunction with the course in Master's Research (ENG 795), taken with the faculty advisor. It is recommended that a student secure a working relationship with a faculty adviser by the time the student has completed 15 credits, in preparation for ENG 795. Students must also develop an extensive reading list of primary texts and other related literary texts germane to the Master's Essay. The reading list must be approved by the faculty adviser and the Graduate Program Director, and will be included as part of the oral defense of the Master's Essay.

Master's Thesis (for Concentrations in Creative Writing)

The student must submit a final creative thesis prepared in Master's Research (ENG 795). It is recommended that a student secure a working relationship with a faculty adviser by the time the student has completed 15 credits.

The thesis must be a book of publishable quality. Poetry candidates should submit a collection or cycle of poems totaling at least 25-35 pages. Fiction candidates should submit a collection of short stories, a novella, or a novel totaling at least 75-125 pages.

Oral Defense (for all M.A. candidates)

At the completion of ENG 795, the student must defend the Master's Essay or Master's Thesis in a two-hour oral defense conducted by the faculty advisor and the second reader. Two copies of the final essay or thesis, approved by the faculty adviser, must be submitted to the Graduate Program Director - one in electronic format and one in print.

Relation to the CUNY Ph.D. Program

M.A. candidates in the Literature or Writing and Rhetoric Concentrations may conclude their graduate studies with the Master's degree in English or they may decide to pursue doctoral study. The first 25 graduate credits in the Literature or Writing and Rhetoric concentrations at Lehman College may be counted toward the Ph.D. in English at the CUNY Graduate Center.

M.A. candidates in the Creative Writing Concentrations should consult with the Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center to ascertain which credits may be counted toward the Ph.D. in English at the Graduate Center.

The University doctoral program in English is described in the Bulletin of the CUNY Graduate Center. Candidates who are interested in proceeding on to the Ph.D. Program in English at the Graduate Center should apply for admission directly to the Ph.D. program instead of to Lehman College. Inquiries may be addressed to the Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program, Department of English, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016.

Graduate Courses

ENG and ENW Courses

English (ENG) Courses

English Writing (ENW) Courses