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Master’s Essay

  • An option for all M.A. concentrations except Creative Writing, where the thesis is required.

The Master’s Essay entails a minimum of 25 pages of scholarly or critical writing, modeled on the academic journal article. The essay is expected to show originality, rigor of argument, and thoroughness of research. The Master’s Essay may begin as a seminar paper, but it requires significantly more research and reflection than is usually possible in that form.

The student prepares the essay while registered for English 6930 under the direction of a member of the English graduate faculty. The student should have chosen his or her director by the end of the Fall semester of the second year. Late in the Fall or early in the Spring, the student should submit to the director a short prospectus (5-10 pages) that describes the essay topic, overviews relevant criticism, and discusses the author’s theoretical perspective. During the writing of the essay, usually in the Spring semester, the student enrolls in English 6930.

The Master’s Essay must be submitted no later than the last day of class of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. Within a week’s time thereafter, the essay director must inform the Director of Graduate Studies of whether the essay is satisfactory or unsatisfactory; the director has the option of giving a satisfactory essay either a letter grade or credit.

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