Program Contacts

Ty Hawkins, PhD: Department Chair
Telephone: (501) 852-0281 | Email: thawkins@uca.edu

Lori Leavell, PhD: Graduate Program Coordinator
Email: lleavell@uca.edu

Please note: [1] Revisions to the MA in English reflected in this page are still in the late stages of notification and approval. Once notification and approval processes are complete, this notice will be removed from the page. [2] For the curriculum prior to this revision, see the 2020–2021 Graduate Bulletin. [3] The previously offered concentrations in this program are not accepting new students. [4] If questions arise, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Lori Leavell.

[1] MA in English

[1.1] Objectives

The Master of Arts (MA) program in English does the following:

  • teaches and has students retain knowledge about the periods, authors, genres, and critical theory germane to the study of English, Anglophone, and American literatures, and about the English language on a level befitting graduate-level study.
  • teaches students to conduct and present graduate-level research, including the discovery, evaluation, integration, and documentation of primary and secondary sources.
  • teaches students to read closely and to think critically about literary works and the human cultures they inform, in order to form a thorough understanding of their complexities.
  • teaches students to compose graduate-quality writing that presents arguments in clear, mechanically sound prose and supports those arguments with evidence drawn from primary and secondary sources.
  • supports students holistically and intentionally to ensure that they grow as professionals equipped for success in myriad careers.

[1.2] Program Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School, the applicant must have earned a minimum 3.00 GPA in an undergraduate major or minor in English to gain regular admission to the program. Applicants should supply the following to the graduate coordinator:

  1. Two letters of recommendation
  2. Writing sample (7–15 pages)
  3. Statement of purpose (1–2 pages), explaining the applicant’s interest in the program, as well as his or her academic and career goals

Those international students required by the university to submit TOEFL scores for entrance to graduate study must score a minimum of 600 on the written exam to gain admission to graduate study in English. Further, the student must attain a minimum score of 5 on the essay portion of the exam.

For conditional admission to the program, consult the graduate coordinator. An applicant whose GPA does not meet the minimum requirement can submit scores for the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) to supplement the application for conditional admission. A minimum score of 153 on the Verbal Reasoning portion is recommended.

[1.3] Degree Requirements

The MA in English is a 30-credit-hour program, at least 15 hours of which students must earn at the 6000 level. Beyond that requirement, the program imposes minimal restrictions on students’ abilities to shape the coursework they pursue as their interests evolve.

[1.3.1] Required Courses

The program requires two courses, both of which acculturate students into graduate study by helping them develop skillsets necessary to thrive. These courses culminate in student-directed research projects that demonstrate students’ evolution from strong undergraduates into independent scholars. The program’s required courses are:

ENGL 6393 Research Methods in English (taken during the student’s first fall semester in the program)

ENGL 5366 Literary Theory and Criticism (taken during the student’s first spring semester in the program)

Students who completed ENGL 4366 with a grade of B or better at UCA need not retake that course at the 5000 level. Instead, students will need to substitute any 5000- or 6000-level course for literary theory.

[1.3.2] Thesis option

English MA students have the option of writing a thesis during the final two to three semesters they spend in the program. Students who pursue the thesis track sign up for ENGL 6V93 for a total of six hours of credit (thereby reducing the rest of their required coursework to 24 total credit hours). After enrollment in the first thesis hours, students must sign up for at least one credit hour of ENGL 6V93 credit each semester thereafter (fall, spring, and summer).

An English MA thesis is an original contribution to research on a topic of interest to active scholars of literature and culture. Students who write an MA thesis must secure a faculty director to oversee the project. The director must be a full-time member of the UCA English Department faculty who holds UCA graduate-faculty status. In addition, the student must secure a faculty reader who meets those same requirements, as well as either a second reader meeting those requirements or an “external” reader. The external reader must be affiliated with an institution of higher education other than UCA or a UCA department other than English. He or she must be an active scholar whose inclusion on a thesis project has prior authorization by the MA Program Coordinator. Together, the director and two readers comprise a thesis-writer’s MA Thesis Committee.

To begin the thesis process, the interested student assembles his or her MA Thesis Committee in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator. The student’s very first step after talking with the coordinator should be to secure a faculty director. Once the MA Thesis Committee is in place, the student conducts significant preliminary research into a topic and writes a thesis prospectus. This document, generally 6–10 double-spaced pages in length, is a proposal for a thesis approach that must gain unanimous MA Thesis Committee approval before the student begins writing the thesis proper.

Once the student has secured prospectus approval, he or she creates a work of original scholarship of no fewer than 50 double-spaced pages. The student should meet at least monthly with his or her director throughout the duration of the project. The student should meet regularly with his or her readers as well. The director and readers must approve and accord a student’s thesis a grade of B or better for the student’s thesis to pass. The student also must offer a successful public defense of the thesis to pass.

[1.3.3] Portfolio Capstone

As their capstone project, regardless of whether they pursue the MA thesis opportunity, all English MA students complete a portfolio that demonstrates how they have grown as scholars and professionals during graduate study. The portfolio also traces the processes by which students have determined their next steps post-MA.

Portfolio Draft: Students will submit a draft of the portfolio during the semester before they are scheduled to graduate (i.e., their penultimate semester of coursework). Due dates for portfolio drafts are:

  • April 15 in Spring
  • November 15 in Fall

Feedback on Portfolio Draft: Students will receive written feedback at the start of the semester that follows draft submission. Drafts submitted in April will receive feedback by the start of Summer I (by the end of the first full week of classes, around June 1). Drafts submitted in November will receive feedback by the start of the spring semester (by the end of the first full week of classes, around January 20). This feedback will guide students in their preparations for the final submission, which will be assessed in part on the degree to which feedback has been implemented.

Assessment of Final Submission: Students will receive a grade of Pass/Fail on the final submission. If a portfolio receives a failing grade, students will have one opportunity to resubmit it. In such instances, students should meet individually with the graduate coordinator and the department chair, revise the portfolio, and resubmit it at the next opportunity (fall or spring).
For a complete description of the MA Portfolio Capstone, visit uca.edu/english/masters-program-in-english/.

[2] Graduate Course Links

Follow this link to ENGL course descriptions: course link.