2009-2010 Graduate Catalog

Graduate Studies in English

Curriculum | Courses

Bryce Sullivan ,
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Andrea Stover, Director, Graduate Studies in English

Cynthia Cox, David Curtis, Corinne Dale, Sandra Smith Hutchins, Marcia A. McDonald, Margaret P. Monteverde, Douglas Murray, John H.E. Paine, Robbie Pinter, Annette Sisson, Bonnie Kathryn Smith, Andrea Stover, James W. Wells

The Master of Arts in English Degree


Reading and writing are acts of love and survival-pursued for the intense pleasures of creativity and imagination and for the human need to communicate. The Master of Arts in English at Belmont University calls students to explore the written word: the means by which we know our past, understand our present, and envision our future. Our faculty members- through teaching, mentoring, and collaboration-seek to expand students' knowledge and understanding of literature and writing by aiding their developing abilities in critical reading, in practical literary analysis, in scholarly research, and in effective written and oral communication.


In the M.A. in English at Belmont, courses are designed to build on strengths and knowledge from students' undergraduate and professional experiences and to broaden their awareness of literary studies and writing. The graduate faculty is committed to fostering the skills of critical and historical reading as well as creative and analytical writing, and to increasing student expertise in scholarly research. The program engages students in reading literature from American, British and World traditions, introduces them to theories of writing and literature, and invites them to write in a variety of genres and styles including fiction or poetry, literary criticism, creative non-fiction (including memoir and the essay), and ethnography. The program encourages students to develop professionally through preparing presentations, compiling reflective portfolios, and researching and writing scholarly and creative theses on topics of their choice. The M.A. in English at Belmont prepares students for Ph.D. programs in literature, composition, or creative writing; graduates have also pursued careers in teaching, publishing, business, law, and entertainment.


The Master of Arts Program in English:

1. promotes effective, creative, and reflective reading, writing, and critical thinking;
2. presents literature and language within historical and cultural contexts;
3. introduces students to diverse strategies for interpreting literature;
4. explores with students the structures, complexities, and development of language;
5. assists students interested in developing as creative writers;
6. integrates local and global learning experiences into the curriculum;
7. requires students to develop research skills by employing current professional standards and emerging technologies-and to think critically about these resources and tools
8. engages students in independent research and long-term writing projects
9. encourages professional and poised oral presentations

M.Ed. with Specialization in English

The Master of Education may be earned with a specialization in English. For information about this program, please see the description in the Graduate Studies in Education section of this bulletin. Application for this program is through the Department of Education. The English courses and the faculty for this program are listed in this section.

Academic Policies

A. Requirements for Admission - Master of Arts in English

Applications for admission to the M.A. program are available from the Graduate Office in the Department of Literature and Language and on our web site ( www.belmont.edu). In addition to the completed application form, the prospective student must submit the following application portfolio:

  1. Official copies of all college and university transcripts.
  2. A writing sample from a recent academic or professional setting.
  3. A writing sample prepared especially for the admissions portfolio.
  4. Graduate Record Examination scores (general test only).
  5. Two letters of recommendation.
  6. A $50.00 non-refundable application fee.

The admissions form provides complete instructions for submitting each of the above items. In addition to the portfolio, the prospective student must have an interview with the Director of Graduate Studies.

Each application portfolio will be reviewed to assess the overall abilities of the applicant and the potential for success in this program. Students lacking sufficient undergraduate preparation in English may be required to take additional undergraduate courses prior to admission to candidacy. Applicants are accepted on a rolling admissions pattern; thus, each applicant will be notified of the admissions committee's decision shortly after the admissions portfolio is completed.

B. Financial Aid

A limited number of scholarship grants are available both to entering and continuing students. Applications are available through the Graduate Office in the Department of English.

C. Limitation on Completion of Requirements

A student must complete all degree requirements within six years of entrance into the program. Petitions for extension must be addressed to the Director of Graduate Studies in English and are granted only in exceptional circumstances.

D. Study Abroad

Study in Britain and other countries is possible through Belmont programs. Please see Kathy Skinner in the Office of International Education or the coordinator for study in English speaking countries (CCSA), Dr. Margaret Monteverde, in the English Department for further information.

E. Examinations and Thesis

The student's program culminates with written examinations and a thesis. The student will work with a mentor to prepare for the examination areas and to research and write the thesis. Each thesis will be bound and placed in the Bunch Library.

F. Language Requirement

All students must demonstrate competency (reading ability equivalent to second-semester intermediate level undergraduate course) in a second language prior to graduation from the M.A. program. This competency can be demonstrated in several ways, including credit on undergraduate transcript, departmentally-administered reading examination, study at a reputable language institute, or completing coursework while enrolled in the M.A. program. Please see the Director of Graduate Studies in English for details.


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Master of Arts in English-Literature Emphasis Hours
ENG 5000, Practical Literary Criticism   3  
Reading courses (from ENG 5810,5820,5830, & 5840)   6  
Electives (only 3 hours of which may be Writing courses)   15  

English 6700 & 6800, Research and Thesis**

** Students receiving the grade of IP in ENG 6800 must enroll in ENG 6801-6804 Thesis Completion (see course description)

Total Hours 30

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Master of Arts in English-Writing Emphasis Hours
English 5000, Practical Literary Criticism   3  
Reading courses (from ENG 5810,5820,5830, & 5840)   6  
Writing Courses   12  
Electives   3  

English 6700 & 6800, Research and Thesis

** Students receiving the grade of IP in ENG 6800 must enroll in ENG 6801-6804 Thesis Completion (see course description) 

Total Hours     30
Master of Arts in English-Non-Thesis Option Hours
English 5000, Practical Literary Criticism   3  
Reading courses (from ENG 5810,5820,5830, & 5840)   9  
Electives   18  
English 6600, Portfolio and Comprehensive Examination   0  
Total Hours     30

  English Courses (ENG)

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The following courses are offered on a three-year rotation. At least two courses are offered each semester and in the summer sessions.

ENG 5000. Practical Literary Criticism (3). This course offers the opportunity to research and study selected works of literature from a variety of contemporary theoretical approaches. It aims to increase students' ability to evaluate and apply these approaches. Required for M.A. students. Recommended for M.Ed. students.

ENG 5040. History of the English Language (3). (offered concurrently with ENG 3500).The origins and development of the English Language are studied in the context of linguistics and socio-political influences. Attention is also paid to the on-going processes affecting modern English.

ENG 5300. Special Topics (3). Studies of special literary topics or studies of a single author or work will be offered. Students may also take the special topics course for writing-intensive studies of special topics not covered by regular course offerings.

ENG 5700. Practicum in Scholarly Editing (1). Participation is by invitation only. May be repeated no more than twice. Under supervision of faculty who are active editors of a scholarly journal or are engaged in a scholarly-editing project, students will participate in all phases of the selecting and editing process.

ENG 5720. Practicum in Pedagogy (1-3). Introduces students to pedagogies used in teaching literature, language, and/or writing. Students will work closely with a faculty mentor in the classroom.

ENG 5810. Readings in British Literature I (3). Readings emphasizing the historical development of British literature from a broad spectrum of representative works through the Renaissance.

ENG 5820. Readings in British Literature II (3). Readings emphasizing the historical development of British literature from a broad spectrum of representative works from the Restoration through the Victorian period.

ENG 5830. Readings in American Literature (3). Readings emphasizing the historical development of American literature from a broad spectrum of representative works, from beginnings through the nineteenth century.

ENG 5840. Readings in Twentieth-Century Literature (3). A broad spectrum of readings emphasizing the historical development of representative modern and contemporary British, American, and/or World literature written in English.

ENG 5950. Study Abroad. (1-6). Various study-abroad opportunities are available through Belmont. Consult the Director of International Studies Abroad for program details.

ENG 6110. Medieval Literature (3). Major texts from the Anglo-Saxon and later medieval periods are explored in the context of the major social developments of the period. Issues such as translation, the canon, and critical history will also be explored.

ENG 6120. Renaissance Literature (3). Key works and genres from 1500-1660 (excluding Shakespeare) are studied.

ENG 6140. Shakespeare (3). The course surveys the canon and considers the plays from literary, theatrical, historical, and cultural perspectives.

ENG 6160. Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Literature (3). Consideration of selected fiction, poetry, and/or drama of Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Britain in light of Enlightenment social and political histories and of contemporary theory.

ENG 6180. Nineteenth-Century British Literature (3). Leading writers of the Romantic and/or Victorian periods are studied in light of themes and controversies of the nineteenth century.

ENG 6210. Early American Literature (3). Studies of authors and/or major literary and cultural trends from the first explorations of America through the Revolution and early National period.

ENG 6230. African American Literature (3). Examines literature by and/or about African Americans in the context of cultural and literary traditions.

ENG 6250. Nineteenth-Century American Literature (3). The literature of the American Renaissance and/or American Realism will be studied.

ENG 6310. Twentieth-Century Literature (3). Major works of fiction or poetry illustrating the developments in twentieth-century fiction or poetry will be studied.

ENG 6320. Topics in World Literature (3). This seminar will examine a literary genre, theme, or set of relations that may occur across the literatures of the world and throughout literary history. Topics will very, but the course will, through the consideration of works from several literatures, seek to establish literary points of reference both within and outside the European tradition.

ENG 6330. Regional/Ethnic Literature (3). The seminar will focus on the literature of regions such as the American South, or of ethnic groups such as African-Americans or American Indians.

ENG 6340. Gender Studies (3). An exploration of theories of gender; examines constructions and manipulations of gender in a variety of literary texts.

ENG 6370. Folklore Studies (3). This course examines folklore methodologies and genres. Seminar topics may include ethnographic research (fieldwork) and the study of folk groups; folk narratives; folk music and poetry; customs and rituals; folklore and literature. Formerly listed as ENGW 6430.

ENG 6380. Literary Criticism (3). An intensive survey of the major critical texts from the classical to the modern ages forms the basis for discussion and application of critical approaches to selected texts.

ENG 6410. Creative Writing (3). Devoted to the theory and practice of writing fiction and/or poetry with an emphasis on revision. May be repeated once for credit.

ENG 6420. Composition Theories (3). The course provides a basic overview of composition theories: audience analysis, writing process theory, writing to learn theory, discourse theory, invention in the rhetorical tradition. Other topics include evaluation, electronic discourse, and grammar.

ENG 6450. Writing and Social Issues (3).Each offering of this course will examine the politics of writing, particularly regarding issues of race, gender, and socioeconomics. The course may include a service-learning component.

ENG 6460. Writing and Identity (3).Each offering of this course will explore the connections between writing and identity. Students will read and write in one or more "expressive"; genres. Seminar topics may include memoir; autobiography; writing and spirituality; journal writing; blogging. May be repeated for credit (up to six hours).

ENG 6470. Writing in the Genres (3).Each offering of this course will focus on writing in a specific genre. Seminar topics may include: creative nonfiction ("literary journalism"); ethnography; nature writing; travel writing; expository writing; 'zine writing and other web-based writing. Students will both read and write in the genre under consideration. Course may be repeated given a different topic. May be repeated for credit (up to six hours).

ENG 6500. Special Topics in English Grammar and Linguistics (3).This course, which will vary in focus with individual offerings, builds on basic understanding of English grammar from History of the English Language by focusing on special topics in Advanced English Grammar and Linguistics. Course is repeatable once with different topics.

ENG 6600. Portfolio and Comprehensive Examination (0). ENG 6600 includes the terminal requirements for the Non-Thesis Option M.A. degree. The student must complete and submit a portfolio of representative course work and a synthesis essay, as well as pass the departmental written comprehensive examination. The student must register for this course in the last semester prior to graduation.

ENG 6700. Thesis Research (3). Directed by the faculty mentor, students undertake the research necessary to write the thesis; successful completion and approval of a prospectus by the thesis committee to receive a grade of "P" for this course.

ENG 6800. Thesis (3). Directed by the faculty mentor, students complete all the requirements for the thesis, including a formal public presentation of their finished work.

ENG 6801-6804. Thesis Continuation (1 credit hour each).Pre-requisite ENG 6700. P/F grade option only. Any student who has received an IP in ENG 6800 must enroll in this series of courses to allow for completion of that course after the original semester of enrollment. Thesis continuation sections must be taken consecutively and continuously until ENG 6800 is complete, to a maximum of 4 semesters or two years. If a student has not completed the thesis by that time, the only option for completing the M.A. in English program will be to switch at the end of that semester to the non-thesis option and complete nay outstanding requirements for that program. Hours do not count toward degree hours earned for the M.A. degree.

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