College of Arts and Sciences

Developing your Plan of Study

The Master of Arts degree in English requires individual focus. Students will write a “Plan of Study” when accepted to the program and will work with the DGSE and their mentors to keep their plans up-to-date. The departmental Plan of Study will supplement other forms required by the School of Graduate Studies. A sample Plan of Study can be found in the Appendix in the Graduate Student Handbook .

The Catalog and the School of Graduate Studies Website

Complete information about course requirements, exit options, and more is available in the Graduate Catalog. You can consult printed copies distributed by the School of Graduate Studies, or you can read it online at the School of Graduate Studies website along with forms and other vital resources:

Program Requirements

I. Core Course: 3 s.h.
  • ENG 500 Theory and the Practice of English Studies (3)
II. Electives: 21 s.h.
  • Approved coursework in English to complement undergraduate courses taken, to cultivate the focus outlined in the Plan of Study, and to total at least 30 s.h.
  • It is recommended that no more than six hours of coursework be taken at the 400G level.
  • Up to six hours may be taken from ENG 620, 622, and graduate courses in other departments.
III. Exit option: 6 s.h.

A. Option I: ENG 670 Applied Research Project (6)

B. Option II: ENG 680 Comprehensive Exam (6)

C. Option III: ENG 690 Thesis (6)


The Exit Options represent the final and arguably most important part of your degree. They comprise the final 6 s.h. you will take as a student in the program, and they demand all the skills you have learned in your coursework. The exit option can take three forms: Applied Research Project; Comprehensive Exam; or Thesis.

In consultation with your director, you will need to write and file a proposal before you can register for hours in the exit-option you have chosen. This document will define your topic, timeline, expectations, and more. Samples can be found in the Appendix in the Graduate Student Handbook.

Applied Research Project

The Applied Research Project is often tied to a professional situation. Past students have produced varied projects including: creating a comprehensive writing style manual for a business; reviewing, redesigning and implementing new assessment practices in a high school; creating a website devoted to the history of animation; working with digital media or film to produce a research-content project. The applied research project includes a research-based content part with a paper of 25-30 pages, with a reading list of at least 20 secondary sources and it may also include an annotated bibliography.

Comprehensive Exam

The Comprehensive Exam consists of an oral and written examination. It is directed by your committee who establishes your expertise in your area and decides the parameters of the exam. It includes annotated bibliography.


The thesis is a sustained work of scholarly research and argument on a specific topic. Typically, thesis projects are between 40-60 pages, often divided into two or three chapters. Especially for those considering further graduate work, the thesis grounds your scholarly identity in a document that can serve as a writing sample, mainly for academic jobs.