M.A. in English
The graduate program in English at Georgia Southern University prepares its students for a variety of careers or for advanced doctoral work. Students who enroll in the Master of Arts program in English enjoy the engaging atmosphere of graduate study and work closely with faculty members. Admitting 10-12 students a year, the program fosters a genuine sense of community while providing students opportunities for professional development unusual for our size.
Graduate English faculty at Georgia Southern are published scholars whose specialties are as diverse as the courses within the program. Faculty members create a stimulating and innovative learning environment for graduate students. The Center for Irish Research and Teaching adds dimension to the graduate English program. The Department also houses two international journals, the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies and Exemplar: The Journal of South Asian Studies, sponsors the annual British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Conference, and coordinates the American Literature Association’s Symposium on American Fiction in Savannah. These programs enable students to become actively involved in editorial work and organizing and participating in conferences and advanced literary research.
The Master of Arts in English at Georgia Southern requires 36 semester hours of coursework and serves both the full-time and part-time student. Assistantships that provide tuition remission and a stipend are available to full-time graduate students on a competitive basis. View a two-year schedule of graduate seminars
All materials for admission should be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions unless otherwise indicated.
- Completed requirements for the Bachelor’s degree in a college accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting associations.
- A 3.0 (4.0 scale) cumulative grade point average or higher on all undergraduate work.
- An undergraduate major or the equivalent in the proposed field of study.
- Two letters of recommendation by persons familiar with the applicant’s academic experience.
- A sample of the applicant’s scholarly writing of at least 12-15 pages.
- Statement of Purpose (250-500) words. This statement should address the applicant’s academic achievements and major accomplishments, contributions to or experiences in this field of study, pertinent extra-curricular activities, and the reasons why he or she wishes to attend Georgia Southern. While the personal statement is only one of many factors the graduate admissions committee considers when making admission decisions, it helps provide context for the rest of the application.
Provisional admission is sometimes possible if a candidate has better than a 2.75 (4.0 scale) cumulative GPA on undergraduate college work. Students who do not meet provisional requirements may appeal to a departmental committee of graduate faculty members for admission.
Candidates for the M.A. in English must complete 30 hours of graduate courses, including English 7131, 7618, and at least 18 hours (six three-hour courses) on the seminar (6000-7000) level. Upon approval of the director of the M.A. program in English, students may count up to six graduate hours in non-ENGL courses toward the English M.A. To complete the degree, students must write and successfully defend a thesis. Guidelines are below.
Students are encouraged to begin thinking about and researching possible thesis topics during the first year of study. During the second semester, students will take ENGL 7618 Thesis Prep in order to prepare for the thesis project. Students will ask a professor to direct the thesis. The subject matter of the thesis should be within the professor’s field(s) of expertise. For crucial information on the thesis and its electronic formatting, students should consult the College of Graduate Studies ETD web site. The professor and the student should discuss the significance and viability of the thesis topic, and at the beginning of the second year of full-time study (or after the completion of 18 credit hours) the student submits a Thesis Prospectus Form to the thesis committee for approval.
In addition to this form from the College of Graduate Studies, the student should submit a prospectus of a minimum of 500 words detailing his or her planned subject; this prospectus should also include a separate bibliography (a working bibliography) of primary and secondary sources used for the thesis. The prospectus will then be forwarded to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval. During the first term of taking 3 thesis hours the student will make substantial progress on the thesis in order to be able to complete the thesis in time to submit it by the deadline of the term when the student plans to graduate.
With an eye on the deadlines, the student and director devise a timetable for completion of the thesis.
The student should seek feedback and criticism from the director as the thesis progresses. A good idea would be for the student to submit each chapter as it becomes completed, and the professor should meet within a week to discuss the marked draft with the student. The director and student will work around occasional delays necessitated by other commitments of the director.
The student should consult and follow this timetable for the thesis process. The dates are geared to the date for the “Final Deadline to hold terminal thesis defenses” as specified by the University’s Academic Calendar. The specific dates for each semester will be posted on the College of Graduate Studies’ web page.
- Eight weeks before the thesis defense
Last possible date to submit a completed draft of the thesis to the director. When the draft thesis has been completed and the director has found it generally satisfactory (the student and director may meet several times before this happens), then and only then is it ready to be sent on to the other committee members (readers). By this point the draft must be free of all surface and grammatical errors.
- Six weeks before the thesis defense
The director should submit the thesis to the committee readers. The readers must be allowed at least two weeks to critique and return the thesis to the major professor, who will then sit down with the student to discuss the called-for changes, or suggestions for revision. These may be substantive or minor. The student will make the revisions. When these are completed, the director and student will meet again to discuss whether they have been satisfactorily implemented.
- Two weeks before the thesis defense
The director submits the thesis to committee readers. The main office schedules a date for the defense (orals) that is agreeable to all parties.
- One week prior to the deadline to submit electronic theses to the College of Graduate Studies for final format review
Final date for the defense of the thesis. The committee may find it necessary for the student to make further but probably non-substantive changes.
- At the deadline to submit electronic theses to the College of Graduate Studies for final format review
Having followed carefully the guidelines on the College of Graduate Studies ETD web site, the student submits the approved and defended thesis in PDF format to the College of Graduate Studies. See the section “How and where do I submit my PDF document for format check?” on the ETD web site.
Once the student makes any revisions in formatting required by the College of Graduate Studies, he or she submits the final document in PDF format to the College of Graduate Studies ETD site, using the Upload Thesis/Dissertation for Final Submission function at the site. Follow the upload procedures listed.
- Creating Your Individual Deadlines
Working from the University’s Academic Calendar, note the final day for submission of a thesis, and create your personal deadlines using the guidelines above.
- Finishing the thesis during the summer: a note for summer terms A and B
Students completing the thesis during the summer should work closely with their Director in order to comply with the University’s deadlines.
After Grad School
If you decide to continue with graduate work beyond the M.A., you should know about a policy adopted by the Council of Graduate Schools. “Acceptance of an offer of financial support (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties. Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15.” For more information, see the full policy.
Advice for Those Interested in Applying for English Graduate School,” by Linda Troost.
- MLA’s “Advice to Graduate Students: From Application to Career“
- MLA’s “Professionalism in Perspective“
Have Questions? Contact Us
Dr. Mary Villeponteaux
Director of Graduate Studies for the Department
PO Box 8023
Last updated: 5/4/2022