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MASTERS OF ARTS PROGRAM

The Master of Arts in Texts, Technologies, and Literature provides an opportunity for advanced students to further their understanding of literature and a broad array of other texts, including digital, academic and those that function in everyday use, in relation to both historical and contemporary culture. The program welcomes students with undergraduate majors in such areas as American Studies, Media Studies, Communication Studies, Modern Languages and Literature, and Gender and Women’s Studies, as well as English. It is designed to accommodate students with a variety of interests and career paths, including those who are considering an academic career in English, whether in Rhetoric and Composition, Communication and Media Studies, or Literature; those interested in pursuing a Ph.D. (for example, in UMBC’s Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. program or the Ph.D. in English at Morgan State University); K-12 teachers looking for advanced training; and those entering communications, editorial, and/or digital media professions. Students may specialize in the study of print-based or multi-modal texts of particular periods or genres; rhetoric, communication, and composition; or language use and production in various settings. Students in the program will

  • explore a range of literatures in English and a variety of textual forms, media and practices in relation to their cultural contexts
  • develop advanced skills in reading, analyzing, and writing about texts, from the lyric poem to digital work in multi-media, and
  • have the opportunity to study language in use in various settings, or to specialize in the study of communication or the teaching of composition.

The department also offers qualified undergraduates an Accelerated BA/MA program that may culminate in the M.A. in Texts, Technologies, and Literature. The application deadline for Fall admission into the MA and BA/MA programs is May 1st.

MA Program Admissions and Degree Requirements

The Admission Requirements – The requirements for admission into the MA in TTL correspond to those set forth by UMBC’s Graduate School with the provision that the GRE, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample are also required. Applications must include three letters of recommendation that provide information about the applicant’s potential to engage in academic work at the graduate level. The TOEFL is required for international students. All application documents must be sent directly to the UMBC Graduate School, with the exception of the writing sample, which should be Emailed to Susan Harrell at Harrell@umbc.edu with a copy to Lucille McCarthy at mccarthy@umbc.edu.

The Degree Requirements – A minimum of thirty graduate credits, including six credits of core courses: ENGL 601, Methods of Interpretation (three credits); and ENGL 607, Language in Society (three credits).  Additional courses must be selected from graduate English courses in order to fulfill the following distribution requirement: at least one course in each of the following areas: (A) Critical Theory, Genre Study, Composition, Rhetoric, Communications, Media Studies; (B) World Literature; Gender, Minority, and Ethnic Studies; and (C) one course focused before 1800. Up to two approved graduate courses from MLLI, GWST, AMST, or LLC can be used toward a student’s electives. All students must choose either the MA Thesis Option (six credits of ENGL 799) or the MA Portfolio Option (three credits of ENGL 798), which are described in more detail below. The MA Degree Course Chart summarizes these requirements.  Every attempt is made to individualize the student’s total degree program to meet particular interests and career goals.

By the time students have completed 15 credits of graduate work they must select a faculty advisor. The Graduate Program Director should be consulted when selecting an advisor and only members of the Regular or Associate Graduate Faculty in the UMBC Department of English qualify. All students who have completed 15 credits must complete the Declaration of Faculty Advisor Form.

Students must be continuously enrolled in the program unless granted an authorized Leave of Absence (LOA). Students are limited to three authorized LOAs. All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within a five-year period

The MA Thesis Option – The thesis (six credits of ENGL 799) demonstrates a student’s ability to produce scholarship that draws upon primary and secondary sources as well as empirical data of various sorts. The thesis is generally 40 to 80 pages in length, but it may, if approved by the advisor, be presented in forms other than print.  During students’ first semester of ENGL 799, they work with their advisor to create a thesis proposal of 10-20 pages.  The proposal generally includes (1) a discussion of the research question that the thesis proposes to explore, (2) a review of the literature concerning this question (3) a preliminary bibliography and discussion of the sources to be used, (4) a discussion of the research methods to be used, and (5) a proposed outline. The proposal must be approved by a three-member thesis committee: the advisor and two faculty members chosen by the student. Committee members must sign the Thesis Proposal Approval Form. During the second semester of ENGL 799, the student completes the thesis under the advisor’s direction, and it is evaluated in an oral defense at semester’s end in front of the three-member thesis committee.

Students should refer to the Thesis Students Due Date Worksheet, which details forms and deadlines for thesis students prior to and during their two semesters of ENGL 799.

The MA Portfolio Option – Students who choose the Portfolio option must complete the Portfolio Proposal Approval Form during the semester prior to enrolling in ENGL 798, Portfolio Independent Study (three credits) with the approval of their advisor.  During this semester students create a portfolio that includes papers and projects that they produced in their previous MA coursework.  These are selected according to some criteria the student identifies, e.g., subject matter similarities, related research foci or methods, relevance to their workplace concerns, etc.  Then, in consultation with their advisor, they produce a synthetic essay or project of between 30 and 40 pages that connects and builds upon strands of their previous work. This project may, when approved by the advisor, be presented in forms other than print (see the Portfolio Guidelines)  At semester’s end, the portfolio is evaluated in an oral defense that is attended by two faculty members: the advisor and one other faculty member chosen by the student.

Students should refer to Portfolio Students Due Date Worksheet, which details forms and deadlines for portfolio students prior to and during ENGL 798.