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English (M.A.)

English (M.A.)

English M.A. Student Handbook

 
 

 For more information on program requirements, curriculum, and policies, please review our English M.A. Student Handbook.

Download the 2016-2017 English M.A. Student Handbook [.pdf - 317kb]

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FAQS

This website is designed to give current and prospective students an overview of our Master’s degree in English—its program requirements, curriculum, and policies—and to provide a first place to look for answers to any questions. Students should know, and must abide by, the University and Office of Graduate Studies policies as stated in the Florida Gulf Coast University General Catalogue for their year of matriculation.

What type of education does the FGCU MA in English provide?
The Master of Arts Program in English at Florida Gulf Coast University provides students with graduate education in the study of literature, culture, and writing. The curriculum stands on a strong foundation in literary studies, but it is flexible to meet the needs of students who are pursuing highly individualized goals: to begin or advance a teaching career at the elementary, secondary, or community college levels; to prepare to study in Ph.D. programs; or to plan a career in various professional fields in business, non-profit organizations, and government.

Our program provides genuine mentorship and collaborative work between faculty and students. Students can expect small classes, a supportive and well-published faculty, and opportunities to attend and present research at local and regional conferences.

How can I shape this program to suit my own academic and career interests?
There are three ways in which students can shape this program to suit their own academic interests.

They can gain work experience by completing an English Master’s Internship of their own design; pursue a specific research interest either by completing a Directed Research project or by completing a Directed Research project and the Thesis that grows out of that project; and shape the Comprehensive Exam (required of all students) by working with an MA faculty advisor to revise either the pre-1800 or post-1800 part of the Comprehensive Exam Reading List according to their interests.

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Comp Exam

When should I take the Comprehensive Exam?
All students must take the Comprehensive Exam during their last year of enrollment. This exam is designed to evaluate progress toward meeting the English Program Student Learning Outcomes. The exam will be administered in both the fall and spring semesters. To qualify to take the exam, students must have completed 21 credit hours in the MA Program.

NOTE: All students taking the Comprehensive Exam must be registered for at least one credit hour of coursework during the semester they take the exam. This coursework can take the form an MA seminar (3 credits) or a Master’s Internship (1-3 credits).

When is the exam administered?
The fall exam usually takes place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The spring exam takes place on a Saturday in April, usually during the second to last week of classes. These exam dates enable faculty to meet grading deadlines and enable MA students to avoid taking the exam while finishing their end-of-the-semester writing and grading.

Note: the Program Coordinator may schedule an exam session during the summer in order to enable students to graduate in August.

How do I register for the exam?
All students planning to take the Comprehensive Exam must declare their intention to take the exam in a particular semester to the MA Program Coordinator. The Coordinator will then enroll the student in ENG 6966: Master’s Comprehensive Exam by emailing the registrar.

On what material will I be tested on the exam?
All students will study from the general reading list, which will be made available at least one year prior to the semester in which the student plans to take the exam. The English graduate faculty at large develops the general list.

Students can choose whether to answer exam questions on both the pre-1800 and post-1800 parts of the general list (general questions) OR to answer questions on one part of the general list and specialized questions on a list agreed upon with a faculty advisor (specialized questions).

Therefore, students whose specialized lists contain primarily pre-1800 literature must study from the post-1800 part of the general reading list. Students whose specialized lists contain primarily post-1800 literature must study from the pre-1800 part of the general reading list.

What is the content of the General Reading List?
The English Program will annually review and revise the general reading list, which will be comprised of approximately 15 literary works written before 1800 as well as approximately 15 literary works written after 1800. CANVAS COMMUNITY.

What is the content of a Specialized Reading List?
The specialized reading list, developed by a student and his/her faculty advisor, must contain at least 10 substantial works of literature and/or literary theory or criticism. The works can be from any period or genre, but all should constitute one or two major areas of focus. For example, a specialized list might contain five works of Romantic literature and five of Victorian literature, or the list might contain only American literature of the late 20th century.

How do I develop a Specialized Reading List?
If a student elects to personalize the program by developing a specialized reading list, this specialized list must be developed by the student in conjunction with his/her faculty advisor in the semester prior to the one in which the student plans to take the Comprehensive Exam. The student develops a specialized list in conjunction with a faculty advisor chosen from the English graduate faculty, according to the advisor’s expertise in the student’s chosen area(s).

How can I get my Specialized Reading List approved?
The specialized reading list must be approved by both the faculty advisor and the English MA Program Coordinator in the first two weeks of that semester. For example, a student who plans to take the Comprehensive Exam in Spring 2018 must create and have his/her list approved by the second week of the Fall 2017 semester.

How do I find a faculty advisor for my Specialized Reading List?
Because each MA faculty member usually advises no more than 2 students for a particular exam session (fall or spring), students will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, it is advisable for a student to meet with a faculty member in the spring of his/her first year of study in order to reserve a place as one of that faculty member’s 2 students for a particular exam session.

Who administers the exam? What is the exam format?
The English MA Program Coordinator will administer the exam. The exam will be five hours in length, with four hours devoted to composition and one hour for revision. The Program will work with the Office of Adaptive Services to provide assistance to students who might require special accommodations when taking the exam.

Typically, the exam consists of two parts, one based on the specialized reading list that is developed by the student’s faculty advisor and approved by the English MA Program Coordinator and the other based on the general reading list developed by the graduate faculty at large. However, students may elect to answer questions based solely on the general list (both pre-1800 and post-1800).

Students will choose 1 out of 2 questions for each part of the exam. Students will be required to demonstrate mastery over the texts on the reading lists and an ability to formulate a critical and historical contextualization of those texts in an argument. Exams will be graded according to the depth of analysis and coherence of argumentation they display.

How will my exam be evaluated?
Each student essay (name removed) will be evaluated by two MA faculty members. If the two readers of an essay disagree regarding the grade, the essay will receive evaluation by a third faculty member.

How many times may I take the exam?
Every student receives three attempts to pass the exam.

What happens if I fail part or all of the exam on my first attempt?
The second attempt: Any student who does not pass the exam on the first attempt may re-take the exam the following semester, studying from the same general and specialized reading lists as for the first attempt. The re-take will consist of four questions different from the ones on the original exam.

If a student passes one essay and fails the other, the student will retake only the failed portion of the exam.

The third attempt: Any student who does not pass the exam on the second attempt must take 1 additional 3-credit MA course while studying for the third attempt. The student should consult with faculty about the material on his/her reading lists during this semester. The student will study for the third attempt based on general and (if applicable) specialized reading lists agreed upon with the MA Program Coordinator.

If a student cannot compose adequate essays on the third attempt, the student will not be awarded a master’s degree.

During the re-take period, a student should meet only with the faculty advisor (if there is a specialized list) and the MA Program Coordinator about the general list essay(s) so as to avoid potentially conflicting advice. The advisor and coordinator can speak with the other original graders to clarify comments.

How may I appeal a Comprehensive Exam grade?
If a graduate student wishes to appeal the grade on the Comprehensive Exam, he or she should consult the procedures outlined by Graduate Studies on page 13 of their guidelines. 

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Thesis

The Master’s thesis option is recommended for students who have a specific and well-planned project. Successfully completing a thesis requires additional responsibilities for the student. The true capstone experience for the degree is the Comprehensive Exam, so the department strongly encourages students to attend to that requirement first and foremost.

The Master’s Thesis is not required of students planning to go to a Ph.D. program; indeed, graduates from the MA program who have gone on to doctoral programs have typically not chosen the thesis option. This option requires more reading, more research, more writing, and more revision than the coursework it replaces. Therefore, a student who has a highly defined project in mind might find the thesis option an appropriate challenge. The preparation, research, drafting, revising, and defending of the thesis generally demand a one-year commitment by the student. Students contemplating this option need to take a careful and thoughtful self-inventory.

What are the requirements for a master’s thesis?

The Master’s Thesis is a scholarly product, typically of 40-80 pages. The thesis will be a substantial product of research carried out under the close supervision of a faculty advisor and one additional reader, with their guidance. A successful thesis undertakes a highly specified and self-contained inquiry that requires a significant canvassing of the available scholarship. The thesis should be built on an appropriate, measured, and sophisticated theoretical or critical foundation, arising organically from the inquiry itself. The theoretical or critical approach should not be imposed as a systematic template. In other words, whatever the critical apparatus, it should serve the inquiry.

If the Master’s Thesis is a creative product, it must include a significant contextual statement, approximately 15-25 pages. This statement offers a full discussion of both historical and contemporary influences as well as an argument for the aims, aesthetics, and/or themes contained in the project. Thus, even a creative thesis will require significant reading and research to establish a critical context for the project.

How do I prepare to write a thesis?
Directed Research

The semester before enrolling in thesis hours, the student must take one of the four available Directed Research courses (AML 6910, CRW 6910, ENL 6910, or LIT 6910) under the direction of the proposed thesis advisor. A student cannot take the Directed Research course (AML 6910, CRW 6910, ENL 6910, or LIT 6910) until he or she has passed 18 graduate credit hours in English.

Please note that these Directed Research courses are electives; they do not fulfill the AML, ENL, LIT distribution requirements for the MA degree.

A passing grade in Directed Research does not constitute permission to register for ENG 6971 Thesis.

Note: it is possible to complete a Directed Research Project without writing a thesis.

How do I propose a Directed Research Project?
In order for a student to arrange a Directed Research course, he or she must apply by filling out the Directed Research Proposal Application on page 27 and writing a 750-word proposal, submitting the package to the English MA Program Coordinator. The proposal must be approved by the Program Coordinator, the proposed thesis advisor, and the proposed second reader. A successful proposal must indicate that the student has a workable and focused project in mind, and that he or she is fully capable of pursuing it.

Because of the extra academic burden involved in completing a thesis, a student must have 3.30 GPA or higher to qualify for a Directed Research course.

What are the required outcomes of a Directed Research Project?
In the Directed Research course, the student will write a detailed prospectus (approximately 5-7 pages), which includes an overview of the main argument, a review of existing scholarship on the subject, a fully annotated chapter outline, a working bibliography, and a workable timeline for completion of the thesis. This prospectus is the basis through which the student will become “qualified” to undertake the thesis project. The prospectus must be approved by the proposed thesis advisor, the proposed second reader, and the English MA Program Coordinator in order for the student to have permission to pursue the thesis project. Taking a Directed Research course does not automatically qualify the student for the thesis project.

A successful Directed Research project should indicate that the student has completed most of the expected research and engaged in significant drafting of the thesis. A Directed Research project that fails this level of achievement will disqualify a student from enrolling in ENG 6971 Thesis.

How do I register to write a thesis?

After the prospectus has been approved by the proposed thesis advisor, the proposed second reader, and the English MA Program Coordinator, and after a successful performance in the Directed Research course, the student enrolls in ENG 6971. A student cannot take ENG 6971 until he/she has passed 24 graduate credit hours in English.

What is the thesis development process?
The student and thesis advisor should meet periodically to review completed sections of the thesis. The thesis should be completely drafted by the mid-term of the semester. Please review Student and Faculty Responsibilities below.

The second reader is expected to review and sign the thesis proposal, read the thesis after it has been drafted and reviewed by the thesis advisor, and offer comments toward a final draft. Once the thesis has gone through its revisions, the thesis advisor and second reader will decide whether or not the thesis meets department expectations.

What is a thesis defense?
The thesis defense consists of a presentation of a self-contained element of the thesis (this could be a section of the thesis, an introduction, a summation, etc.) in a conference-paper format: a 20-minute oral presentation, with follow-up questions and discussion following. The student should consult with his/her advisor about the scope and focus of this presentation. The aim of the thesis defense is to replicate a professional activity expected of scholars producing original work.

The MA Thesis Defense is a required component of the Thesis Option.

Successful completion of the thesis, approval by the thesis advisor, second reader, and English MA Program Coordinator, and a successful thesis defense will earn a grade of “S” (satisfactory) for ENG 6971.

If one or more of the above criteria are not met, the student receives a “U” (unsatisfactory) for ENG 6971 and can take up to one year to complete all thesis requirements. If the student fails to complete all thesis requirements within one year, the student does not receive credit for ENG 6971 and is required to take another 3-credit elective to complete the course requirements for the program.

What are the steps that lead to a completed thesis?

  1. Student submits a 750-word project proposal to the English MA Program Coordinator, proposed thesis advisor, and proposed second reader. Approval of this proposal is required before admission to a Directed Research course.
  2. If the proposal is approved, the student enrolls in LIT, CRW, AML, or ENL 6910, Directed Research, staffed by the proposed thesis advisor. Student conducts research and begins preliminary writing for the thesis project in this course. The student produces a formal thesis prospectus for approval by the proposed thesis advisor, proposed second reader, and English MA Program Coordinator.
  3. If the prospectus is approved, the student enrolls in ENG 6971: Thesis.
  4. During ENG 6971, the student drafts, revises, and finishes the thesis in accordance with departmental expectations. The thesis must receive the approval of thesis advisor and second reader.
  5. The student defends the thesis.
  6. The student uploads his/her thesis into ProQuest in accordance with university guidelines. In ProQuest, the student will order the Library Copy of this work, which the Library will forward to the Department of Language and Literature. The approximate cost of the Library Copy is $25.

What are my responsibilities as a thesis student?

  • The student is expected to take the initiative in finding a thesis topic and in beginning to research it as soon as possible, even before submitting the initial proposal.
  • It is the student's responsibility to assemble a thesis committee.
  • The student should meet with his/her thesis advisor based on the demands of the thesis project.
  • The student should respond actively to feedback provided by the advisor and second reader and revise thesis drafts accordingly.
  • The student must meet the deadlines and conform the thesis to University specifications.

What are my thesis advisor’s responsibilities?

 

  • The thesis advisor should meet with the student based on the demands of the project, provide guidance, and respond to drafts in a timely fashion.
  • After the thesis advisor approves a complete draft, the advisor will notify the second reader that the thesis is ready for review.
  • The second reader will comment on the draft in written form and forward his or her comments to the student and the thesis advisor.
  • Once the student—after receiving these responses—completes a final draft, the thesis advisor will convene with the second reader and formally reach a determination regarding whether the thesis meets expectations.
  • To adequately serve students, a faculty member should agree to serve on no more than two thesis committees at a time, whether as an advisor or second reader. Status as a graduate faculty member indicates that the faculty member is willing to serve as an advisor or reader for qualified thesis projects. 

Who retains a copy of my completed thesis?
The finished manuscript is a scholarly work that is the product of extensive research and related preparation. The University Library will retain an electronic copy of your thesis in its digital library. The Department of Language of Literature will retain the Library Copy (hard copy) of the thesis. The thesis will then become a visible and permanent measure of the quality of scholarship expected at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Because they are measures of the quality of scholarship produced at FGCU, theses must adhere to a uniform standard of format and construction to preserve the work. All English theses must meet both university and department guidelines.

Please see university and department forms and guidelines.

FGCU Thesis Guidelines

1. Title Page
The title page will include the

  • author’s full legal name
  • full title of the thesis
  • name of the university and administrative unit
  • year in which the thesis was approved

The title page should be structured as shown in the sample on page 30.

2. Approval Page
The approval page (with signatures) should be structured as shown in the attached model on page 31 and must include the

  • thesis title
  • degree awarded e.g. MA in English
  • date the thesis was approved by the MA in English faculty
  • name and signature of the student
  • name and signature of each committee member

3. Digital Format: accompanying materials can be uploaded through ProQuest as Supplemental Materials/Files

  • If such materials are integral to the thesis/dissertation, they must accompany each submission.
  • Photographs and other illustrative materials will be printed directly on the page.
  • ProQuest requires a 1-inch margin on every page of the thesis.

4. Copies of the Thesis
FGCU has implemented the ProQuest publication system for the purpose of archiving theses and dissertations. Candidates for master’s degrees who are completing a thesis must submit their final thesis electronically through ProQuest UMI ETD prior to the published deadline. This is a university requirement for graduation; failure to meet the ProQuest deadline will result in the student’s graduation being delayed.

Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines and Submission information can be found here under the ProQuest link (https://www2.fgcu.edu/Graduate/12002.asp ) along with the Approval Sheet required for committee signatures. Keep in mind that the deadlines at this site are for final submission of the approved thesis. Therefore, you must submit the thesis to your supervisor and committee early enough for all approvals to be obtained before the published ProQuest deadline.

5. Multiple Volumes

  • Each subsequent volume will include a title page that duplicates the title page of the first volume.
  • Each volume will be identified as Volume I, II, etc.
  • The page numbering follows consecutively from one volume to another.

6. Copyright

  • Information on copyright registration is available from the US Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/).
  • The student is responsible for any fees associated with securing a copyright.
  • The student is also responsible for inserting the copyright notice on an un-numbered page immediately preceding the title page.
  • Please note that the current copyright laws do protect your thesis even without securing copyright registration.
  • We recommend that the student select Traditional Publishing through ProQuest. This option is free. Copyright through ProQuest costs approximately $55.00.

 

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Internships

When may I propose an internship?
Any second-year MA student may submit a proposal for an internship to the English MA Program Coordinator. The standard internship structure is 3 elective credits for 135 hours of work. However, students may take ENG 6940 English Master’s Internship for 1 to 6 credit(s) of their 33 total credits.

What types of work are appropriate for an internship?
Library science work, editing, academic research, and writing for professional publications are all appropriate types of internship work. If you wish to seek an internship, register on Eagle Careerlink through the office of Internships & Co-operative Programs online at www.fgcu.edu/internships/ and complete the Internship Proposal Form on page 26 for the English MA Program Coordinator. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his/her internship location is registered with Eagle Careerlink.

Some internship contacts:

  • FGCU Archives, Special Collections, & Digital Initiatives
    Contact Melissa Minds VandeBurgt mvandeburgt@fgcu.edu
  • FGCU Library Ambassadors
    Contact FYE Librarian Heather Snapp hsnapp@fgcu.edu
  • Writing Center Any MA student may apply for a paid position under the supervision of the Writing Center Director. Individual tutor positions are paid at an hourly rate. Special projects provide potential internship opportunities.
    Contact Carol Bledsoe cbledsoe@fgcu.edu: send as Word attachments a résumé, 3 writing samples, and a list of 3 references—at least 2 of which must be FGCU staff.
  • The Mangrove Review, the student-edited literary magazine at FGCU, offers opportunities for volunteer editor positions. Contact Jill Allen jallen@fgcu.edu
  • FGCU Sanibel Island Writers’ Conference provides volunteer opportunities in exchange for free attendance at this annual conference. Contact Tom DeMarchi tdemarch@fgcu.edu

Is there an English honor society at FGCU?

Sigma Tau Delta is an international honor society for both undergraduate and graduate students of English language and literature. MA students, whether full-time or part-time, may join provided that they have a 3.3 GPA in their English coursework and pay a one-time $45 application fee. Contact sigma@eagle.fgcu.edu

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Student Assistantships

Does this program offer funded graduate assistantships?

Yes, Graduate Assistantships, which include a stipend and may include a tuition-based fee waiver, are available on a competitive basis—the student’s initial admission package determines placement. The English MA Program Coordinator, in consultation with English faculty and the Chair of the Department of Language and Literature, tenders the offers for Graduate Assistantships. These assistantships require ten hours (five hours if on half assistantship offer) of work per week for a semester (fifteen weeks total), and they are usually allocated for positions as tutors in the Writing Center. However, depending upon university support, assistantships might also be available for duties as a research assistant with a faculty member, classroom assistant for a faculty member, editor with The Mangrove Review or Aquila, or staff assistant for the FGCU Writers’ Conference. A graduate assistant must enroll in at least six credit hours per semester. See page 32 for a detailed list of duties and responsibilities.

What are the requirements and responsibilities of a graduate assistant?
Minimum Requirements for Graduate Assistants

  • Formal acceptance into the MA program in English and letter of invitation to become a graduate assistant.
  • Registration for 6-9 graduate credit hours per semester. Graduate assistants must complete 18 credit hours of graduate coursework in English during their first year in order to be eligible for a teaching assistantship in their second year.

Responsibilities for Graduate Assistants in the Writing Center

  • You must commit to serving either 5 or 10 hours per week in the Writing Center as a tutor.
  • You must maintain good academic standing (3.0 GPA) and perform all duties at an acceptable level in order to maintain your assistantship and to have it continued for the full academic year.

Stipend and Tuition waiver

  • You will receive a stipend of either $1,875 (for five hours of work/week) or $3,750 (for 10 hours of work/week) spread over 18 pay periods for the academic year.
  • You may receive a tuition waiver for up to 9 credit hours for the Fall semester. This waiver covers all matriculation fees, but you are still responsible for approximately $600 in other fees per semester.
  • Your tuition waiver and stipend are guaranteed only for one semester. If you fulfill all responsibilities listed above satisfactorily, your graduate assistantship can be extended into the Spring semester. If you remain in good standing, you can also receive a tuition waiver in the Spring semester.
  • Your contract will be discontinued and the stipend will be prorated if you do not maintain the responsibilities of this contract.

Contact Executive Secretary of the Department of Language and Literature Erica Krueger at ekrueger@fgcu.edu to initiate the employee sign-on process.

Does this program offer funded teaching assistantships?

Yes, a limited number of Teaching Assistantships are available each year. These Teaching Assistantships include a stipend and may include a tuition-based fee waiver in exchange for teaching one or two composition courses per semester. To qualify, a student must have 18 total graduate credit hours in English before the semester of teaching begins, and a student must take ENC 6745 and pass with a grade of B or higher. Please note that these are qualifying conditions; meeting them does not guarantee a Teaching Assistantship. Teaching Assistants may take 3-9 credit hours of coursework per semester.

These Teaching Assistantships are awarded competitively, based on the student’s record of academic achievement at the graduate level and achievement in working as a tutor, graduate assistant, or similar activity. The English MA Program Coordinator, in consultation with English faculty and the Chair of the Department of Language and Literature, tenders the offers for teaching assistantships.

In addition to standard student evaluations, teaching assistants will be evaluated through classroom observations by the First-Year Composition Coordinator and/or the English MA Program Coordinator in each of their two semesters of teaching. Classroom Observation Reports will be submitted to the student teacher as well as the English MA Program Coordinator and the First-Year Composition Coordinator. See pages 33-34 for a detailed list of duties and responsibilities.

Information for Teaching Assistants (Fall 2017-Spring 2018)

Minimum Requirements

  • You must announce your desire to become a TA early in the semester prior to the one in which you would be entering the classroom.
  • You must have taken and passed ENC 6745: Composition Pedagogy with a grade of B or better.
  • You must have completed 18 graduate credit hours in English.
  • You must be in good academic standing (3.0 GPA).
  • You must have the endorsement of the Director of Composition and the English MA Program Coordinator.

Responsibilities

  • You must assume all responsibilities associated with the planning and teaching of one or two sections of Freshman Composition per semester. These include the design of the syllabus and lesson plans for each class session, teaching and the management of class time, and all grading and evaluation of assignments.
  • You must participate in an active teaching cell with at least two other TAs in addition to continuing to work with a faculty mentor for pedagogy.
  • You must cooperate with the MA Coordinator and the Director of Composition to set up classroom observations within the first four weeks of class in both the Fall and Spring semesters.
  • You must perform all duties at an acceptable level in order to maintain your assistantship and to have it continued for the full academic year.

Stipend and Tuition Waiver

  • You will receive a stipend of $2,750 per course per semester, which will be spread over 9 pay periods.
  • You may receive a tuition waiver for up to 6 credit hours per semester. This waiver covers all matriculation fees, but you are still responsible for approximately $600 in other fees per semester.
  • Your tuition waiver and stipend are guaranteed only for one semester. If you fulfill all responsibilities listed above satisfactorily, your teaching assistantship may be extended into the Spring semester. If you remain in good standing, you may also receive a tuition waiver in the Spring semester. Your contract will be discontinued and the stipend will be prorated if you do not maintain the responsibilities of this contract.

Procedures for Becoming a TA

  • Submit a brief (one page) Curriculum Vitae (CV), or academic résumé, to the department’s Executive Secretary (Ms. Erica Krueger). The CV should include your contact information and sections for all of the following: your education, including the expected date of your MA; work experience, including any GAship and Writing Center tutorial work; relevant graduate coursework (ENC 6745 should top the list); any publications and/or conference presentations you might have; and areas of teaching/research interest. You may include awards and references as well.
  • Arrange to have official transcripts sent to the department’s Executive Secretary (Ms. Erica Krueger).