Feb 22, 2024  
2011-2012 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2017 
2011-2012 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2017 [Archived Catalog]

English (MA)

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Affiliation: School of Arts & Letters


The field of English study has become increasingly diverse. It has responded to the theoretical challenges of deconstruction, feminism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, and New Historicism; it has tried to make sense of the postmodern and postcolonial present; it has watched its anthologies swell with the expansion of the canon. An ongoing revolution in the discipline has been occurring, and it is not over yet.

Given this continuing revolution in the field, the Truman graduate program in English offers students flexibility and possibility. In keeping with the mission statement of the University, our program “grows naturally out of the philosophy, values, content, and desired outcomes of a liberal arts education.” Our graduate faculty have expertise in many traditional areas of study as well as in recent interests of our discipline. We will assist students in finding their niche of disciplinary interest, be it in linguistics, literary theory, pedagogy, a particular literature, or creative writing.

While one goal of our undergraduate major is breadth of exposure, the MA in English offers an opportunity for in-depth exploration in one corner of the discipline which the student finds useful and fascinating. As expressed in the University mission statement, our program is “committed to the advancement of knowledge, to freedom of thought and inquiry.” 

Although one of our greatest strengths is our flexibility, the personal attention each student receives is also central to our program. Each student works closely with a faculty advisor; this strong bond between advisors and advisees is essential for graduate students tailoring their own course of study. 

Selected candidates who show exceptional promise in college teaching may compete for generous teaching stipends. As apprentice teachers, they will hone their professional techniques and shape philosophies of teaching and composition. Few graduate programs offer such opportunities. 

Our program offers a variety of courses in literary theory, composition theory, rhetorical theory, creative writing, and linguistics (and additional coursework for the graduate teaching assistants). We also offer, based on needs and interests, advanced courses with rotating topics. In accordance with the University mission, students approach “creative and critical thought through effective reading and research.” Our ultimate aims are leadership development in a select community of exceptionally able students, scholars, teachers, and creative writers; the nurturing of a lifetime commitment to writing and literature; and, for those who desire it, serious preparation for work on the doctoral level. A plethora of pathways paradoxically leads to these simple goals so characteristic of our liberal arts mission and so useful outside the academy. As with our fellow Missourian Thomas Stearns Eliot, in our end is our beginning. 


Applicants should submit the following materials to the Graduate Dean in the Graduate Office:

  • Undergraduate transcripts from an accredited college or university showing an overall grade point average of 3.0 or better.
  • Graduate Record Examination scores on the general section, usually above the fiftieth percentile.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • A statement of academic experience, aspiration, and philosophy.
  • Other evidence of service and academic promise.


Graduate Record Exam percentile rankings corresponding to mean scaled scores for incoming English students, fiscal year 2010:

Analytical Writing: 62.31%
Quantitative: 53.77%
Verbal: 73.31%

Average GPA of incoming English students, fiscal year 2010: 3.41.


English MA options:

Thesis Option: Students electing the thesis option will complete 32 credit hours in English graduate coursework and a 4 credit hour thesis, to a total of 36 credit hours.  At least half of the English graduate coursework must be at the 600-level.

Non-Thesis Option: Students electing the non-thesis option must complete 40 credit hours in English graduate coursework; additionally, they must successfully complete a 1 credit hour final summative portfolio preparation course, producing a portfolio of their English graduate coursework.  At least half of the English graduate coursework must be at the 600-level.


Course Offerings:


All English GTRAs are required to take ENG 620G, Composition Theory and Pedagogy and ENG 698G, Evaluating College English Teaching.

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