Stephen F. Austin State University

Degree Programs

Graduate Programs

Background Requirements for Majors and Minors in English


For clear admission to the graduate program (i.e., as a degree-seeking student in English), a student must have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale during the last sixty credit hours of undergraduate work and in upper-level undergraduate English courses, as well as acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Exam (General Test). Although students may be granted probationary admission with a GPA below 3.0, no students may be granted probationary admission with a GPA below 2.7.

Ordinarily, an English major with an undergraduate degree from an accredited college is eligible to pursue graduate study in English; however, any student with fewer than 24 semester hours of undergraduate credit in English will need to complete additional work to establish a background for graduate study.

Students may be admitted to a graduate minor in English after admission to the graduate school in another department and evaluation of the student's academic background by the Director of Graduate Studies in English.

Graduate Handbook (to be posted soon)

Application Requirements

All interested applicants must complete a Texas Common Application Form, which can be accessed here, and submit the following materials as a part of their application package to the program:

1. A cover letter / letter of interest;

2. A curriculum vitae;

3. A 10-12 page writing sample (if applying to the program's literature track, the writing sample should be a piece of literary analysis; if applying to the program's creative writing track, the writing sample should be a collection of poetry, a short story, or a piece of creative non-fiction);

4. Three letters of recommendation; and

5. Official undergraduate transcripts.

Applications to the program are accepted on an ongoing basis. However, students seeking admittance to the program for a fall start date must have a completed application package on file no later than JULY 31ST. Students seeking admittance to the program for a spring start date must have a completed application package on file no later than NOVEMBER 30TH.

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of two-year graduate assistantships are awarded each year for study beginning normally in the fall semester. Interested applicants should be prepared to submit a departmental assistantship application, three letters of recommendation, a letter of application, and academic transcripts. For preferential consideration, all materials must be submitted by the priority deadline, 31 March.

Assistantship Applications are available here. For additional information, students should contact either the Chair of the Department or the Director of Graduate Studies.

In their first year, graduate assistants may assist faculty in their research and/or gain professional experience in publishing by working as assistants to the editor of RE:AL, SFA's nationally recognized literary magazine, or as editing assistants for the SFA Press. Typically graduate assistants have the opportunity to teach freshman composition in their second year, provided they have completed eighteen hours of graduate coursework, and taken English 580: Composition Pedagogy in their first year of graduate study.

For preferential consideration, all materials must be submitted by the priority deadline, MARCH 31ST for a fall start date, and NOVEMBER 15TH for a spring start date.

Graduate Major in English (MA in English) : Core Requirements

Emphasis in this comprehensive, 36-hour degree program is upon the study of literature in its historical contexts, on theories of criticism and of linguistic analysis, and on the analysis of literary works. The program also stresses writing along with preparation for teaching and other professions.

In pursuing the MA, the graduate student should attempt to maintain a balanced programs of courses in American, British, and World Literature. The graduate student must also meet the following core requirements towards an MA in English:

1. A 400- or 500-level course in linguistics is required of all students who have had no similar undergraduate course;

2. All students must take at least one course in literature written before 1600;

3. All students are required to take the Bibliography and Methods of Research course (ENG 502) and the Literary Criticism course (ENG 585) during their first year of graduate study. Beyond these requirements, each student develops a plan of study in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, who will be as flexible as possible in matching departmental standards and strengths with the student's particular interests and abilities.

4. All students must fulfill the language requirement by presenting two years of undergraduate credit in a single foreign language or by passing a departmental reading examination in an ancient, classical, or modern foreign language. If a student has not completed two years of undergraduate credit in a single foreign language and has not taken or passed a reading examination, he/she is required to take twelve hours of credit in a single foreign language in addition to the thirty-six hours required of the Master's degree.

Completion Options for the Graduate English Major

All graduate students working towards an MA degree in English have two options to complete their degree: write a critical or creative thesis or take comprehensive exams. A student who elects to write a critical or creative thesis must complete thirty hours of coursework, and six hours of thesis research and thesis writing, for a total of thirty six graduate hours, and successfully defend the thesis in front of his/her thesis committee. A student who chooses to take comprehensive exams must pass a departmentally administered, written, nine hour set of exams in three areas.

For more information on these options, please consult the Graduate Handbook.

Graduate Minors in English and Creative Writing (for non-English MAs)

A student pursuing a graduate degree in an area outside the Department of English may take a first minor in English. The minor in English consists of nine or more semester hours of English as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Likewise, a student pursuing a graduate degree in an area outside the Department of English may minor in creative writing. This minor consists of nine or more hours in graduate creative writing courses. There is no thesis or public reading requirement, nor are the particular requirements for English MA students applicable. Enrollment in graduate creative writing courses and pursuit of the minor requires the consent of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Graduate Faculty

Professors

Mark Emil Sanders, Ph.D. in English, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Modern Poetry; Poetics; Creative Writing; 19th Century British Poetry; Great Plains Literature

Marc S. Guidry, Ph.D. in English, Louisiana State University
Medieval British literature; Linguistics

Associate Professors

Norjuan Q. Austin, Ph.D. in English, Illinois State University

Children's and young adult literature; African-American literature; English Literature

Michael Given, Ph.D. in English, Southern Illinois University
British Modernism; Irish literature
Ericka Hoagland, Ph.D. in English, Purdue University

Postcolonial Literature and Theory, Science Fiction, Travel Writing

Steven Marsden, Ph.D. in English, Texas A&M University

American romanticism; Early American literature

Michael J. Martin, Ph.D. in English, Illinois State University

Contemporary American literature; Young adult literature; Composition

Christine McDermott, Ph.D. in English, Purdue University

Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British and American literature; Creative writing; Journal editing

John McDermott, Ph.D. in English, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Creative writing; Twentieth-century American and British prose and drama

Elizabeth Tasker, Ph.D. in English, Georgia State University

Restoration literature

Kenneth Untiedt, Ph.D, in English, Texas Tech University

Folklore; Technical writing; American literature

Kevin R. West, Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, Indiana University
World literature (European emphasis); Medieval literature; Literature and religion

Assistant Professors

Andrew Brininstool, M.F.A., University of Houston
Creative writing
Denise Millstein, Ph.D, in English Literature, Louisiana State University
19th Century British Literature, Romantic and Victorian; Gender Studies and Queer Theory
Christopher Sams, Ph.D. in Romance Linguistics from the University at Buffalo, SUNY
Linguistics
Jessica Sams, Ph.D. in Linguistics, University of Colorado at Boulder
Linguistics

Ronald Tumelson, Ph.D. in English, University of Alabama

Shakespeare; Renaissance British Literature