Apr 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Master of Arts in English


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The Department of English offers two tracks leading to the M.A. degree, the choice of which depends on the student’s academic and professional goals. Track I requires a minimum of 30 semester hours, and track II requires 36 semester hours. Students pursuing this degree take a comprehensive exam, which can take the form of a traditional short essay exam or an evaluated final capstone project.

Students pursuing the M.A. in English may choose one of six areas of study: education in English language arts; English linguistics; general studies in English (online or hybrid); literature and rhetoric/writing; literature, film, and culture; and writing and rhetoric. Substitutions within each area of study may be made at the discretion of the department’s director of graduate studies.

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.

Track I


Track I requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit in the Department of English and is designed to prepare students for graduate work at the doctoral level. Students in this track must pass a proficiency examination in one foreign language. Foreign language proficiency may be demonstrated in French, German, Greek (classical or koine), Italian, Latin (classical or medieval), Russian, or Spanish, or in another language approved by the director of graduate studies on the basis of demonstrated need. The student’s graduate advisor may permit limited study in fields closely related to English (subject to the approval of the director of graduate studies).

Track II


Track II requires a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit, including 27 semester hours in the Department of English. This track is designed for students who are currently teaching in secondary schools or community colleges or who plan to teach at one of these levels, whether in literature, composition, or professional, technical writing; students who plan to teach English as a second language; students who seek careers as technical writers, editors, or trainers; students interested in other careers, such as business or public relations, that require strong written communication skills; and practicing professionals in any other professional field seeking to sharpen their written communication skills. A graduate advisor and the student design a program of study (subject to the approval of the director of graduate studies) which must include 9 semester hours of study in subjects other than English and American literature, such as courses within and outside the department in the teaching of English, rhetoric, creative writing and composition, technical writing, linguistics, reading, mass media, public relations, or others that contribute to the student’s professional development.

Areas of Study


Education in English Language Arts


This area of study is primarily designed for English language arts professionals who are currently teaching in the schools and students interested in educator licensure in secondary English language arts. Those seeking licensure should consult the discipline coordinator as soon as possible.

Electives in Language, Rhetoric, and Literature (18-24)


  • In consultation with the advisor, the student should choose at least one course from linguistics, one from rhetoric (one semester of ENGL 600 may be used to satisfy the rhetoric requirement), and three from literature.
  • Among the three literatures courses, the student is required to take one diverse literature course that provides significant exposure to, immersion in, and dialogue with historically marginalized subject positions from the following: ENGL 602D, ENGL 671, ENGL 693A, ENGL 693B, ENGL 693C, ENGL 693D, or any literature course or topics class designed to include substantial diversity content, with approval of advisor.

English Linguistics


The focus in general linguistics involves the scientific study of human language. Courses focus on the analysis of sound structure, word structure, syntax, and meaning in English and other languages, as well as on discourse, language variation, language teaching, and first and second language acquisition. This focus is designed for those with a particular interest in the structure and function of human language.

At least two course from the following (6)


Electives (6-12, depending on whether Track I or Track II is chosen)


Course work in anthropology, computer science, English, language, philosophy, and/or psychology, chosen in consultation with the advisor.

General Studies in English (online or hybrid)


This degree is tailored for teachers and other working professionals seeking the M.A. in English as a terminal degree, allowing for a general study of literary history and analysis, writing and rhetoric, and linguistics. It can be completed 100% online through selecting from the department’s available online course options or hybrid by selecting the department’s available online and in-person course options.

Diverse Literature (3)


Literature of Film Electives (3)


Electives (9-15 hours, depending on track 1 or 2)


Electives (9-15 hours, depending on track 1 or 2)
6 hours must be in the Department of English

Capstone (3)


Course work in literature with at least one course from each of the following groups (12-15) (if ENGL 625 is chosen, 15 semester hours are required in literature).


Diverse Literatures (3)

  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3 A. African American Literature
  • ENGL 693 - Ethnic American Literature Credits: 3 B. Native American Literature
  • ENGL 693 - Ethnic American Literature Credits: 3 C. Latina/Latino American Literature
  • ENGL 693 - Ethnic American Literature Credits: 3 D. Special Topics
  • English course with approval of academic advisor (3)

Electives (0-6)


Literature, Film, and Culture


Required Methodology (3)


Literary Criticism and Theory or History of the Language (3)


  • Credits: 3
  • ENGL 602 - Literary Theory and Criticism A. History of Literary Theory Credits: 3
  • ENGL 602 - Literary Theory and Criticism B. Contemporary Literary Theory Credits: 3
  • ENGL 602 - Literary Theory and Criticism C. Interpretation of Literary Texts Credits: 3
  • ENGL 602 - Literary Theory and Criticism D. Feminist Literary Theory and Criticism Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3

Diverse Literatures, Film, and Culture (3)


  • Credits: 3
  • Credits: 3
  • ENGL 693 - Ethnic American Literature A. African American Literature Credits: 3
  • ENGL 693 - Ethnic American Literature B. Native American Literature Credits: 3
  • ENGL 693 - Ethnic American Literature C. Latina/Latino American Literature Credits: 3
  • ENGL 693 - Ethnic American Literature D. Special Topics Credits: 3
  • Topics course with approval of academic advisor (3)

Writing and Rhetoric


Electives in English (12)


Department of English courses in writing, rhetoric, literature, film, or linguistics.

Electives (3-9 semester hours, depending on track 1 or track 2)


Students may elect Department of English courses in rhetoric, literature, and linguistics or, with the faculty advisor’s approval, courses in such areas as communication, education, journalism, art, business, technology, and instructional technology from other departments.

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