May 27, 2024  
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2020-2021 
Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG] See drop-down menu above to access other catalogs.

English, MA

Department: English 

The Master of Arts degree in English (MA) is a flexible degree program aimed at students interested in research and advanced study in literature, composition/rhetoric, creative writing, TESOL, film and English pedagogy. Designed to deepen knowledge of the various fields of the discipline of English, the degree enhances students’ understanding of the roles that language, literature, writing and rhetoric play in human societies and individual lives. Through course work, students hone their critical thinking, reading, writing, editing, research and presentation skills. Some students are practicing secondary school teachers who seek a master’s degree in English for professional licensure and career advancement, and others intend to pursue college teaching and academic scholarship as a career. While the MA degree prepares the majority of students to teach English in secondary school and college settings, other English alumni employ skills developed in the program in their work as editors and copywriters, creative and technical writers, entrepreneurs, librarians, and administrators of cultural institutions. By strengthening students’ communication and research skills and professional qualifications, our program provides a foundation for success in a diverse array of careers.


Learning Outcomes   

Standard Admission Requirements

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 based upon four years of course work or a 3.0 undergraduate GPA based upon work completed in their junior and senior years
  • An undergraduate major or minor in English, or at least five English courses at the undergraduate or graduate level. Comparable preparation in other humanities fields will be considered.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Ideally, at least two of the recommenders should be faculty members, although applicants with relevant and extensive work experience could submit letters from other professionals or supervisors.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work
  • Resumé
  • A 450-500 word statement of purpose, including reasons for undertaking the degree, relevant experience and aptitude, career goals and academic topics of interest within English studies

International applicants should also submit the following, in addition to all the requirements for standard admission:

  • If English is not the student’s native language, English language proficiency exam scores (either the TOEFL or IELTS) are required unless the student has completed a college-level degree that was taught entirely in English. To apply for the MA in English, the minimum score for the IELTS is 6.0, and minimum TOEFL is 79 on the internet-based test, yet those scores do not guarantee admission. Scores of at least 6.5 for IELTS and 84 for the TOEFL are preferred.
  • The official transcript should be accompanied by a notarized translation of the transcript with descriptive titles of courses and an explanation of the marking system, indicating the minimum and maximum marks given.
  • See more detailed information on the graduate admissions website for international applicants.

Expedited Admission Requirements

Expedited admission is offered to applicants who graduated from Bridgewater State University with a BA in English within the past five years, and who earned a minimum GPA of 3.5 in English major course work. Applicants meeting these criteria should submit a 450-500 word statement of purpose, official transcripts and one letter of recommendation from a member of the graduate faculty in the English department.

Early Admissions Program Requirements

The Early Admissions program is for juniors and seniors majoring in English at Bridgewater State University who wish to take two graduate English courses for undergraduate credit, and thereby accelerate the completion of their MA in English. Students could complete a BA and an MA in English within five years if they choose to be full-time students. Benefits include a waiver of the application fee and reduced tuition costs (equivalent to saving six credits at the graduate rate). Students interested in this opportunity should contact the DGCE Graduate English Coordinator early in their junior year.

If accepted, students will be granted special status to enroll in two graduate English courses for undergraduate credit. One of these courses will be ENGL 500 - Introduction to Graduate Study in English , and the other will be determined with advising from the DGCE Graduate English Coordinator. Tuition for these courses will be at the undergraduate course rate.

  • Applicants must be English majors at Bridgewater State who have a minimum 3.5 GPA in the English major and a minimum 3.3 overall GPA.
  • Applicants must have completed 18 credits in the English major, including a research methods course and another 300-level course.
  • Students may apply at any time after the completion of their first semester of junior year (or 75 credits).
  • Students must submit an application through the Graduate Admissions site that includes official transcripts of all undergraduate course work; one letter of recommendation from a member of the graduate faculty in the English department; and a 450-500 word statement of purpose, including reasons for undertaking the MA degree, relevant experience and aptitude, career goals and academic topics of interest within English studies. The $50 admissions fee will be waived.
  • Undergraduate students’ financial aid package will apply to graduate courses taken for undergraduate credit, and there will be no additional charge for taking a graduate course in the evening.
  • One of the two graduate courses taken as an undergraduate may be counted as a substitute for any course requirement for the English BA except for the senior seminar, with approval of the English Department Chair.
  • Once the students complete their BA, the two graduate courses that they have completed will be transferred to their MA course requirements if they receive a minimum grade of “B”.

Program of Study

Exit requirement (6 credits)

Complete one of the following culminating exercises:

Thesis option

Students who choose this option will research and write a thesis, a work of independent scholarship or creative writing. Those who choose to write a thesis should select a thesis director and committee and submit a thesis proposal to the graduate school for approval. The completed thesis must be approved by the thesis director and thesis committee. While a six-credit thesis is the norm, a three-credit thesis may be elected for a project developed out of and expanding prior course work. If a student chooses a three-credit thesis, then an additional three-credit elective (any 500-level ENGL course) is required to fulfill the exit requiremet. Theses in creative writing must also include a 10-15 page essay situating the craft of the creative work in relation to scholarship relevant to the genre, style or thematic concerns.

Non-thesis option

Students who choose not to write a thesis must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Two additional electives (6 credits) in any 500-level English (ENGL) courses
  • Electronic submission of portfolio of revised writing produced in course work. Students must submit two research papers of 10-15 pages each and a presentation; concentrators in creative writing should also submit samples of their creative work. The graduate committee will evaluate portfolios to assess if the student has demonstrated proficiency in the skills outlined in the program’s learning outcomes. If the portfolio is deemed inadequate, students will be required to take a three-credit ENGL 503 - Directed Study  to revise the portfolio with faculty mentoring.

Total minimum credits: 33*

*For students in the early admissions program at BSU, two graduate English courses (six credits) taken as an undergraduate and completed with a minimum grade of “B” may be transferred to fulfill MA program requirements.

Optional concentrations

With their 15 credits of electives (including courses taken for the exit requirement), the student can opt to pursue a concentration in one of four fields. Those students wishing to take electives across the breadth of our curriculum areas would simply not choose a concentration. Students must have completed 12 credits for the MA in English, including ENGL 500 , before declaring a concentration for their electives. The four concentration areas are:

English, Composition and Rhetoric Concentration, MA  

English, Creative Writing Concentration, MA  

English, Linguistics Concentration, MA  

English, Literature and Film Concentration, MA