Master of Arts in English

This is an archived copy of the 2018-2019 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Program Coordinator: Dr. Dennis Quinn
Phone: 508-929-8705

In addition to the standard admission requirements set by Worcester State at: applicants to the Master of Arts in English must have either earned an undergraduate degree in English or completed at least 18 semester credit hours of English courses, not counting first-year English composition classes or English for English Language Learners, at an accredited institution of higher education. Applicants without undergraduate training in the English discipline are strongly advised to take survey courses in American and English literature and a course in undergraduate literary theory as part of the required 18 undergraduate credits.

The program has the following convenient features:

  • A part-time evening schedule

  • A rolling admission that allows students to start their studies in any semester

  • Possibility of transferring in up to 12 credits of graduate work after coordinator review

Note: transfer credits may include coursework taken at Worcester State University prior to matriculation.

Requirements of the Program

English Foundation courses(3 credits)
EN-901Methods of Graduate Research3
English Elective courses(21 credits)
Students will select, with the approval of a graduate advisor, 21 credits from the graduate English courses listed in the catalog.21
Additional electives(9 credits)
Students will select, with the approval of a graduate advisor, 9 graduate credits in English or another area.9
Thesis/Exam Option(0 credits)
Upon completion of their course work, candidates must successfully fulfill a last requirement in the form of either two substantial area examinations or a thesis. While the general focus of the examinations and the thesis must deal with literature and/or rhetoric, the individual student and his or her advisor together will decide on the specific subject(s) to be explored.
Thesis Research & Writing (option in place of an elective course.)
Total Credits33

Graduate English Courses

EN-900 History and Structure of the English Language

The phonology, syntax, and lexicon of English from its proto-Indo-European origins to its contemporary dialects.

3 Credits

EN-901 Methods of Graduate Research

An introduction to graduate-level research and writing.

3 Credits

EN-903 Theory and Teaching of Writing

Current writing theory and pedagogy with emphasis on the college, high school, or middle school classroom.

3 Credits

EN-905 Modern Rhetorical Theory

Examines history of and recent developments in modern rhetorical theory and composition studies.

3 Credits

EN-906 Donne, Herbert, and Seventeenth-Century Briish Poetry

Analysis of the work and influence of John Donne, Ben Jonson, George Herbert and other metaphysical and religious poets.

3 Credits

EN-907 Pastoral Literature

This course explores pastoral's emergence as a major genre of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature.

3 Credits

EN-908 Milton

Analysis of Milton's prose and poetry, emphasizing "L'Allegro,"Il Penseroso," Comus,"Lycidas," Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and Areopagitica.

3 Credits

EN-909 Critical Approaches to Literature

An in-depth examination and interpretive application of the works of a critical theorist or a critical perspective, to be chosen by the instructor.

Every year. 3 Credits

EN-910 Literature of the English Renaissance

Advanced examination of Tudor and Jacobean literature emphasizing More, Wyatt, Surrey, Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Nashe, Shakespeare, Donne, and Jonson.

3 Credits

EN-911 Young Adult Literature

Examination of a range of texts, classical and modern, that address both middle-school and high- school (and older) readers.

3 Credits

EN-912 Shakespeare

This course will examine various aspects of Shakespear's plays and poems.

3 Credits

EN-915 Community Writing

An advanced introduction to writing about, for, and with communities. Generally, students learn to consider the rhetorical, relationship building power of documents, and they specifically apply this understanding by working with an organization to complete a community writing project. For students, a foundation in community writing scholarship, increased genre knowledge, and practical consulting experience are outcomes.

Every year. 3 Credits

EN-921 Antislavery Literature in the Atlantic World

This course traces the literary history of the antislavery movement in the Atlantic World: writing in a range of genres (journalism, history, fiction, poetry, drama, slave narratives), antislavery writers made a significant contribution to the campaigns to end the slave trade and slavery. While the Atlantic system of legal slavery ended in the nineteenth century, an even larger system of illegal slavery still exists, and so the course concludes by considering the work of twenty-first century antislavery writers and what they might learn from their predecessors. In other words, can we use literary history to make slavery history?

Fall only and every 2-3 years. 3 Credits

EN-925 Eighteenth-Century Novel

Explores the origins of the novel genre.

3 Credits

EN-931 Nineteenth-Century Novel

Explores British prose fiction of the nineteenth century.

3 Credits

EN-932 English Theatre: 1660-1780

3 Credits

EN-933 Romantic and Victorian Gothic

Romantic and Victorian Gothic is a subversive arena where major authors explore the issues bedeviling their eras.

3 Credits

EN-934 The Romantics and the Victorians 1798-1901

An historical and critical survey of the prose and poetry of the nineteenth century including Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Arnold and Browning.

3 Credits

EN-935 Modern Drama

A survey of British, American, Irish, and continental drama from Ibsen through O'Neill.

3 Credits

EN-938 The World of Dickens

Major aspects of the life and art of Dickens will be examined in a variety of contexts.

3 Credits

EN-941 Modern Poetry

A study of the major figures who shaped American and British poetry between 1920 and 1950.

3 Credits

EN-942 Three Modern Poets

Illustrates how modern poetry differs from that of earlier periods through study of W.B. Yeats, Wallace Stevens, and T.S. Eliot.

3 Credits

EN-943 Medieval Literature

This course covers the major genres of English medieval literature, such as drama, poetry, debate, prose, and riddles. The major works in medieval literature will be covered including Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the Corpus Christi plays. The themes of religion, courtly love, chivalry, women's roles, and class will be considered.

Other or on demand and other or on demand. 3 Credits

EN-945 Contemporary Poetry

Concentrates on poets whose major work was written after World War II.

3 Credits

EN-950 The Romantic Flowering in American Literature

The development of Romantic idealism in the origins of American fiction and poetry.

3 Credits

EN-952 Realism and Naturalism

Realism as practiced by Twain and clarified by Howells, following the transition of realism to naturalism under Norris and Dreiser.

3 Credits

EN-953 The Short Story

The Short Story examines in depth the origin and evolution of the genre of short fiction. Nineteenth and early twentieth century American, British, and Continental European stories are studied to provide artistic, theoretical, and cultural contexts for the development of the genre. By the end of the course, representative modern short fiction from various nations is explored in an effort to situate the genre within emerging philosophies of form and narration.

3 Credits

EN-955 American Novel I

The development of the American novel from Charles Brockden Brown through Melville and Hawthorn.

Fall and Spring and other or on demand. 3 Credits

EN-956 Classical Mythology

Study of myths of ancient Greece and Rome through examination of major primary texts and secondary interpretative texts.

3 Credits

EN-957 American Novel II

The development of the American novel from naturalism and realism to the latest fiction of the twentieth century.

Fall and Spring and other or on demand. 3 Credits

EN-958 Women in American Literature

An advanced study of works by and about women in American literature, including Rowson, Foster, and Brown.

3 Credits

EN-961 Film and Literature: Page and Screen

This class explores film's artistic and cultural descent from literature.

3 Credits

EN-995 Seminar

An exploration of the works of one or two major authors in depth.

Fall and Spring and other or on demand. 3 Credits

EN-997 Graduate Independent Study

Guided exploration of a topic of interest to the student and a member of the English faculty.

Fall and Spring and every year. 3 Credits

EN-998 Special Topics

An exploration and consideration of a theme or topic of mutual interest to instructor and students.

Fall and Spring and other or on demand. 3 Credits

EN-999 Thesis Research & Writing

Guided work relating to the student's thesis.

3 Credits