Overview of the Master's Program in English
Director of Graduate Studies: Professor Ricardo Ortiz
Academic Coordinator: Hannah Calkins
Welcome to the Master of Arts Program in English and American Literature at Georgetown University.
Georgetown's M.A. program in English offers students a breadth of choice and a variety of opportunities for scholarly and professional specialization and development; we welcome applications equally from students contemplating pursuing a Ph.D. elsewhere after completing the M.A. at Georgetown, as we do from present or prospective teachers of English in secondary schools, as well as from people hoping to pursue or to advance further in careers in writing and editing and many other fields requiring advanced skills in written communication, critical analysis and research. Our Master's degree students do not compete for attention or funding with Ph.D. students, and the Department offers a supportive environment for the transition from baccalaureate to graduate level work; many of our courses include segments on theory and methodology in order to aid in this transition. The twenty seminars offered each year reflect the faculty's broad interests but also allow students to design for themselves programs of study in several areas of concentration, including Medieval Studies, the Early Modern period, British and Trans-Atlantic 18th Century studies, Romanticism, British and American 19th Century studies, Critical Theory, and Irish and other Anglophone World literatures, as well as in a variety of emerging interdisciplinary fields, including: cultural studies, ethnic, race and post-colonial studies, gender and sexuality studies, and performance, film and media studies. In addition, the program boasts a strong commitment to training students in the teaching of writing through a combination of coursework, direct individual and group mentoring from Writing and other faculty, and hands-on, practical experience in apprentice-teaching and peer-tutoring settings. All graduate classes are seminars with an enrollment maximum of 18. Close student-faculty contact is a hallmark of the program.
Our program prides itself on helping interested students prepare themselves for a Ph.D. elsewhere. We have an excellent placement record: graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs at Brown University; UC Berkeley; UCLA; the University of Chicago; Columbia University; Cornell University; Duke University; Emory University; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; the University of Maryland; the University of Michigan; McGill University; New York University; the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Northwestern University; Oxford University; the University of Pennsylvania; Princeton University; Rutgers University; the University of Virginia; Washington University, St. Louis; Yale University and many others.
We have a strong placement record with local community colleges and private schools. Currently our graduates are in tenure track positions at Montgomery Community College and Prince George’s Community College as well as many others. Local private and public magnet schools have hired many of our graduates. We therefore offer a strong local alumni network that supports current graduates in their job searches.
For a more detailed representation of what some of our alumni are doing now, please see "After the MA."
The program is enhanced by the library and other archival facilities in the District of Columbia, including the Folger Shakespeare Library, where our students take advanced courses with nationally recognized scholars in the early modern period and in the long eighteenth century, as well as various entities within the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress and the National Archives. M.A. candidates also have access to a network of libraries through the Washington Consortium of Universities and have the opportunity to enroll in graduate level courses at these institutions, which include the University of Maryland, the George Washington University, American University, and George Mason University.
Every year the program makes offers of funding packages, usually including both full tuition and a stipend, to a limited but significant number of entering students, and guarantees to those students full tuition support in the second year as well. Many of those funding packages, including the Graduate Writing Associates and Community Scholars Associates Programs, feature specialized training in the teaching of writing across a wide variety of student populations, from traditional first-year university students, to adult learners returning to university study through Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies, to local high school and first-year college students from traditionally underserved and working-class communities. All second-year students are also invited to apply for a limited number of paid professional development positions designed to offer additional training in the teaching of writing as well as in areas of academic programming, administration and development. Graduate students are also invited to participate in the Apprenticeship in Teaching program offered by the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship. The program provides workshops and other opportunities to help graduate students develop as teachers. The program is committed to helping all of its students support themselves while they study with us, and quite regularly distributes information about additional paid employment opportunities both on campus and in the DC area.
The Georgetown English MA program offers two plans for completion of the Master's degree, both of which require 30 course credits:
The curricular option consists of nine elective courses (27 credits) plus a capstone course (3 credits) to be taken in the Spring Term of the second year. The capstone course will guide students through the development of an academic portfolio based on previous coursework, a portfolio that best captures each student's intellectual or professional concentration in the program, and which might serve as the student's informal certification in a particular practice (including, for example: the teaching of writing, pedagogy and new media, arts programming) or a particular field (including, for example: Medieval Studies, American Studies, Postcolonial Studies). The portfolio project will include an oral presentation component that will be folded into the work of the capstone course. Students opting for the curricular option will work with both a faculty portfolio mentor and the capstone instructor in developing and presenting the portfolio material in the capstone course.
The thesis option consists of eight elective courses (24 credits), a thesis research seminar to be taken in the fall of the second year (3 credits), and a directed study with the thesis mentor in the spring of the second year (3 credits). Students opting to write a thesis will adhere to a strict schedule of deadlines for submitting drafts of the thesis to their thesis mentor and eventually to a second reader; these two faculty members will comprise the student's thesis defense committee. Students will submit a complete draft of the thesis to their defense committee by spring break of their second year, in preparation for a required 2-hour oral thesis defense to be completed no later than the first Friday in April. Students will then submit a finished version of their approved thesis by the relevant deadlines to the Program and to the Graduate School for the timely completion of their degree.
Both plans allow students to earn the degree in a 4-semester, two-year schedule. Almost all students in the program have full-time status and successfully complete their work in 4 semesters.
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