Normally, 30 semester hours are required. Every applicant in literary studies who, after completing 12 hours of graduate work, and has attained a grade point average of at least 2.75, will take a Diagnostic Examination. This examination will be reviewed by the candidate's advisor, the graduate program director, and another member of the graduate faculty or staff. Every applicant in the writing concentration who, after completing 12 hours of graduate work, and has attained a grade point average of 2.75 will begin a short writing or research assignment with the approval of the student's advisor. This assignment will ordinarily be completed during the same term in which it is approved by the advisor, and the finished assignment will be assessed by the advisor, the graduate program director, and a third member of the graduate faculty or staff.
On the basis of the Diagnostic Examination or the completed writing or research assignment, as well as other materials pertaining to the student's graduate performance, the evaluating committee will make recommendations to the department chair about the candidate's graduate program. Among these recommendations will be the total number of hours that the candidate needs to complete the degree. Exceptionally well-qualified students may earn the master's degree in fewer than 30 hours; students with deficiencies may be required to take up to 36 semester hours of graduate study.
ENG 601, Research and Bibliography, is required of each applicant for the degree. ENG 588, Studies in Criticism, is required of each applicant in literary studies who has not taken a satisfactory undergraduate course in literary criticism. ENG 596, Composition Theory, is required of each applicant in the writing concentration. All students must take at least 12 hours of 600-level courses (including ENG 601). Graduate assistants are required to take a one-credit course, ENG 590, Teaching of College English, during each year of their assistantship.
Because the Masters of the Arts is not a specialist degree, candidates must take a balanced program of courses. For students of literature, such a program will normally include a balance of early and later literature and of English and American literature. For students in the writing concentration, such a program will normally include 12 hours of writing courses and 12 hours of literary studies. Approved writing courses are ENG 505, 507, 585, 587, 592, 594, 596, 625, 627, and 629.
For students of literature, a thesis on an approved topic, for which either 3 or 6 semester hours of credit are granted, can be accepted if the Diagnostic Examination committee has agreed. For students in the writing concentration, a writing project approved by the graduate committee of the department for which 3 or 6 semester hours of credit may be granted, can be accepted if the writing or research assignment committee has agreed.