Graduate Catalog 2019-2021

English M.A.

Dr. Jennifer Flaherty, Coordinator


The Master of Arts degree in English is designed for students who desire the challenge of an intense study of literature. Graduates of the program will have a critical appreciation of literature, a thorough knowledge of scholarly tools, and the preparation necessary to become competent writers and teachers of writing. The degree requires a total of 36 semester hours of graduate-level courses in English.


Students in the program receive substantial individual attention from faculty. There are opportunities for students to do research and publish on their own or with faculty and for meeting important scholars and writers at both on-campus and off-campus conferences and events. In addition, graduate assistants gain valuable professional experience as editors, scholars, or instructors.

Regular Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the program leading to the Master of Arts degree in English must comply with the general requirements of the University System and the University as described earlier in this catalog. A student may receive regular admission with all of the following:

  1. a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution;
  2. a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (4.0 scale) on all undergraduate work;
  3.  an undergraduate major in English.

The application must also be supported by a writing sample and two letters of recommendation from referees who know the student’s work well and are prepared to comment on its quality.  The writing sample should be no more than fifteen pages and must be submitted directly to the MA Program Coordinator.

The complete application, including all supporting documents, should be filed with the Graduate Admissions Office no later than July 1 of the year in which admission to the M.A. program in English is desired.

Provisional Admission

A student may receive provisional admission with all of the following:

  1. a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution;
  2. a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher (4.0 scale) on all undergraduate work;
  3. an undergraduate coursework in English or a closely related field with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in such coursework (4.0 scale).

The application must also be supported by a writing sample and two letters of recommendation from referees who know the student’s work well and who are prepared to comment on its quality. The writing sample should be no more than fifteen pages and must be submitted directly to the MA Program Coordinator.

Deadlines and procedures for provisional admission are the same as for regular admission.

A provisionally admitted student may gain regular status through the completion of the first 9-12 graduate hours in English with grades of B or better in all courses attempted.

Conditional Admission

Applicants who apply too late for full consideration for admission or who have not submitted all required documents for evaluation may be assigned conditional admission status. While in this status, a student may register for one semester only by completing a Georgia College Conditional Registration Agreement for Graduate Students; this form requires the signatures of both the student and the graduate coordinator. Any student who registers under this agreement must be admitted either to regular or to provisional status by the end of the first semester of enrollment in order to continue taking courses in the degree program.

Students may take no more than 12 semester hours of course work in conditional and provisional status combined.

Academic Dismissal Policy

A graduate student will be placed on graduate academic probation if the student's institutional graduate grade point average falls below a 3.00 at any point during his or her graduate studies. A student whose institutional graduate grade point average remains below 3.00 for two consecutive terms will be placed on academic dismissal and will need to seek readmission to the program.

Foreign Language Requirement

The student should demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language as early as possible, and must do so before signing up for thesis credit (ENGL 6970). This proficiency may be demonstrated either by the successful completion of a fourth-level language course with a grade of B or better in the four years prior to admission or by passing a translation examination administered by the Department of Modern Languages & Cultures on a passage relevant to English literature.

Comprehensive Examination

In the last term of class work, or as soon as possible after the last term of class work, the student must pass a comprehensive examination. The examination has two parts:

  • A text-specific essay

  • An essay demonstrating broad, comprehensive reading.

Examination Description: The examination is devised and administered by members of the English Graduate Faculty in consultation with the Coordinator of the MA in English. The examination is given in the last week of the fall and spring terms, but not in the summer term. A student wishing to take the examination should notify the Coordinator in writing by the end of the first week of the term in which the student wishes to take the examination. The Coordinator will enlist members of the English Graduate Faculty to serve as the examination committee in that term. The committee will consist of three members, one of whom will serve as chair. Whenever possible, thesis advisers for students taking the examination in a given term will not be asked to serve on the committee so that thesis advisors can freely participate as mentors and coaches in the examination preparation process.

The examination will be read and evaluated by the committee, which will award the grade of pass with distinction, pass, low pass, or fail for each section of the exam. The chair of the committee will present its findings to the Coordinator, who will inform the students of the results. The student must pass both parts. A student may retake a failed portion without having to retake the passed portion. A student who fails any portion of the examination may not retake a failed portion until the next term.

Capstone Project Thesis Option

Thesis and Thesis Defense: At the completion of 18 semester hours, the student should seek out a member of the English Graduate Faculty as a thesis advisor. After a faculty member agrees to be a student's thesis advisor, the student and the faculty member should enlist two other faculty members to join the thesis advisor as the student's thesis committee. One of these two committee members must be from the English graduate faculty; the other may be from the Graduate Faculty in another department relevant to the thesis topic. Once the committee membership is confirmed, the thesis adviser should notify the Coordinator of the MA in English in writing about the composition of the committee and the general nature of the proposed thesis topic. During the next term, the student should develop a two-page thesis proposal under the direction of the thesis committee. The student may not sign up for more than 3 semester hours of ENGL 6970: Thesis before the proposal is approved in writing by both the thesis advisor and the Coordinator of the MA in English.

The student should sign up for a total of 9 hours of ENGL 6970: Thesis and should be enrolled in thesis hours during the term the thesis is completed and defended. The thesis must demonstrate scholarly research on a literary topic of considerable depth, should normally have between 50 and 100 pages of text, and should also include a comprehensive list of works cited. The thesis should be prepared in the documentation style recommended by the Modern Language Association and should meet the criteria for theses as established by the University. Copies of the completed thesis in unbound form should be submitted to the thesis committee for a critical reading at least four weeks before the end of the semester in which the student completes all requirements for the degree.

The oral defense of the thesis before the thesis committee should be held at least two weeks before the end of the relevant semester. The thesis defense will be open to any interested member of the University community. The defense will normally take at least one hour and will demonstrate the student's knowledge of the thesis topic and the implications of the thesis for the general study of literature.

After the defense, the student should make final corrections to the thesis as soon as possible. Theses will be accepted digitally, and the MA in English thesis will conform to current MLA style.See the Graduate Coordinator for additional information. The original copy of the signature page should be signed by the members of the thesis committee, the Graduate Coordinator, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the College. The student should then deliver the original signed copy and the photocopies, if any, of the thesis to the library, fill out the bindery form available there if needed, pay the required binding fees, and then present a copy of the receipt to the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Coordinator will not sign the release for graduation until a copy of the receipt is presented.

Capstone Project Non-Thesis Option/Portfolio


After passing the comprehensive examination, the student should submit a writing portfolio of at least 35 pages, to include a brief reflective essay as its introduction, followed by revisions of three research papers written during the student's course of study at Georgia College. A student wishing to submit a portfolio should notify the Coordinator in writing by the end of the first week of the term in which the student wishes to submit the portfolio. The papers included in the portfolio should illustrate the student's finest scholarly work and must demonstrate an appropriate level of disciplinary competence and scholarly expertise. Because the rhetorical situation of the portfolio is different from a term paper, the portfolio student should reflect upon her development as a scholar (what she has learned, what issues and ideas she works with) and revise three papers' claims that engage an audience of scholars in diverse literary fields with no knowledge of the original courses' context and content.The introduction should describe the papers selected and reflect on the development of the student as a scholarly writer and professional. The portfolio must include the original and revised versions of the papers. This portfolio, submitted to the Coordinator of the MA in English for a critical reading at least four weeks before the end of the semester in which the student completes all requirements for the degree, will be awarded a pass with distinction, pass, or fail by a committee consisting of members of the English Graduate Faculty. Students whose portfolio is not awarded a passing grade may revise and resubmit the portfolio during the following fall or spring semester.

Selecting and Changing Options


Students should confer with the Coordinator of the MA in English when they have completed 18 hours of coursework, and may confer sooner, in order to complete the application for degree candidacy. Students will be asked to choose in writing either the thesis or non-thesis option when they apply for candidacy. Students may change from either thesis to non-thesis or the reverse only once after making application for candidacy. If a student has begun thesis hours before changing to the non-thesis option, the student may petition to have thesis hours changed to hours of independent study. However, these hours cannot be used to substitute for the three additional courses of classroom instruction that bring the non-thesis option to a total of 36 semester hours.


The general advisor of all students in the Master of Arts in English program is the Coordinator of Graduate Studies in English. However, students should work closely with their thesis advisors and thesis committees in planning coursework as preparation for a specific thesis topic.

Career Information


The program will prepare the student for doctoral work in English or for careers demanding advanced skills in critical reading and writing. The degree can make one eligible for teaching at a two-year college, and certified teachers who complete the degree can extend their certification to the fifth-year level. The degree is also useful for anyone interested in a career in professional writing, administration, entertainment, or public service. Whatever the career plans of students, the program requires a serious commitment to literary scholarship. Through this commitment, students will be rewarded with the intellectual company of the world’s finest writers.

Further Information


Inquiries concerning the nature of the program, the availability of given courses, and the availability of graduate assistantships should be directed to the Coordinator of the MA in English, CBX 044, Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA 31061. Telephone: (478) 445-3180. Fax: (478) 445-5961. The coordinator’s e-mail address is . 
Other information can be viewed at:

Program of Study

The student must complete 36 semester hours in English (ENGL) at the graduate level with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. With the approval of the Coordinator of Graduate Studies in English, a student may transfer graduate hours from another accredited institution, but no more than 9 semester hours will be accepted. All credit applied to the Master of Arts degree in English must be earned within the prescribed period of five years before graduation. Students may select either the Thesis or the Non-Thesis Option.

I. Core Courses/Both Options (12 semester hours)

ENGL 6601Methods of Research


ENGL 6680Grad Seminar in Studies in Lit


ENGL 6685Grad Sem in Crit Appr to Lit


ENGL 6690Variable Topics


All students should take ENGL 6601 as soon as possible, preferably in the first term of graduate work. ENGL 6601 is a prerequisite for ENGL 6970 Thesis.

Please note that whereas 6000-level courses are graduate seminars, 5000-level courses are cross-listed at the 4000-level and therefore include graduate and undergraduate students.

II. Major Area Courses

Students who choose the thesis option take 15 semester hours of Major Area Courses from the following list and 9 semester hours of ENGL 6970 Thesis.

Students who choose the Non-Thesis option take 24 semester hours of Major Area Courses.

ENGL 5110Literary Criticism


ENGL 5115Hist of the English Language


ENGL 5116Structure of Present-Day Eng


ENGL 5220Medieval English Literature


ENGL 5223Chaucer


ENGL 5225English Renaissance Literature


ENGL 5226Shakespeare


ENGL 5227Milton


ENGL 5228Development of English Drama


ENGL 5330Restoration & 18th Cent Lit


ENGL 5331Eighteenth-Cent English Novel


ENGL 5335English Romanticism


ENGL 5337Victorian Literature


ENGL 533819th-Century English Novel


ENGL 5440Modern Drama


ENGL 5441Twentieth-Cent British Fiction


ENGL 5445Literary Women


ENGL 5446Modern Poetry


ENGL 5447Comparative Literature


ENGL 5448Adolescent Literature


ENGL 5449Great Books of the Western Wrl


ENGL 5451African Literature


ENGL 5452African Women Writers


ENGL 5550American Literature to 1865


ENGL 5555American Realism


ENGL 5662Southern Literature


ENGL 5664Flannery O'Connor


ENGL 5665Am Lit from 1920 to the Presen


ENGL 5667African-American Literature


ENGL 5669Multi-Cultural Amer Literature


ENGL 5671Studies in Native American Lit


ENGL 5770Studies in Folklore


ENGL 5850Special Topics: Single Author


ENGL 5940Independent Study


ENGL 5950Special Topics


ENGL 5955Special Topics in Intern'l Lit


ENGL 5980Study Abroad


ENGL 6112Theories of Composition & Lit


ENGL 6960Internship


III. Capstone Project

Thesis Option

Requirements: 9 semester hours of ENGL 6970 and an oral defense of thesis
ENGL 6970Thesis


Completion of a thesis and an oral defense

Non-Thesis Option

9 semester hours of additional Major Area Courses required in lieu of 9 semester hours of ENGL 6970.
Revision of three course research papers for a writing portfolio

Composition of a reflective essay to introduce the writing portfolio

Total Credit Hours: 36