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Graduate Program Overview

The Graduate Program in English at Fredonia


Degree Programs

The department has two graduate programs:

  • The Master of Arts in English program prepares students to enter the professions through a rigorous program that spans the field of English studies.
  • The Master of Arts in English 7-12 program for professional certification to teach grades 7-12 is for students already holding initial certification. The program emphasizes the importance of learning how to learn rather than becoming only storehouses of information and giving potential and practicing teachers the opportunity to discover, refine, or change their own approaches to the teaching of language, literature, and literacy.

The department also offers a 16-credit Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Professional Writing. The Professional Writing CAS is designed for students interested in becoming more expressive, powerful writers of nonfiction prose, including:

  • Working professionals who either are currently employed or will be seeking employment as experts in written communication;
  • Writers interested in deepening and broadening their writing skills for diverse contexts and audiences;
  • Graduate students in English and related fields;
  • Educators seeking writing-specific training and credentials;
  • Individuals who work in community service organizations; and
  • Individuals dedicated to cultural activities in the community.

The program is designed such that students can complete it in one academic year (two courses per academic semester for a total of four seminars, plus a required three-credit internship, plus an electronic portfolio reflecting work from these courses). Students can also take courses one semester at a time.

For more on our graduate and post-baccalaureate programs, contact:

Bruce Simon, Department Chairperson:

Jeanette McVicker:

Graduate Program Learning Goals:

Students will:

  • Broaden their understanding of English as a field and find their places within it;
  • Think critically about language and the contexts in which it is produced and received
  • Engage with and apply multiple research methodologies in order to express themselves in written and other media.

Both degree tracks -- Master of Arts in English and Master of Arts in English 7-12 (for Professional Certification) -- offer students multiple opportunities to engage with the diverse field of English studies. Students develop their skills as reflective readers, writers, and researchers. Starting with ENGL 500: Introduction to Graduate Studies, students will approach contemporary issues and problems through multiple methodological lenses, as they discover their own specific professional interests. By exposing students to fresh pedagogical initiatives, interdisciplinary critical methods, and historical currents, the program encourages students to work toward a required degree project that will best suit their professional needs. Courses will be selected from three streams. The program structure supports wide faculty participation to work closely with students in individual and collaborative research settings. Students will participate in departmental and campus events that showcase their research, culminating in a degree project which will provide them with tangible entry into the profession.

The division of our courses into three streams is part of what makes our graduate programs in English at Fredonia distinctive. This framework allows our students to customize their studies in ways that utilize our faculty expertise and advance the learning outcomes of our program.

TEXTS stream: Offers the opportunity for students to study in-depth textual production in a variety of forms from various regions and/or time periods. Individual courses could include a focus on a particular writer’s oeuvre, or a particular genre (for example, silent film, non-fiction essay, the bildungsroman, psychoanalysis) and the retracing of any significant developments therein.

CONTEXTS stream: Engages the multiple contexts in which texts are produced and received at particular moments in time. It promotes the study of the effects of such issues as globalization, institutionalization, class relations, gender, and race on the production and reception of texts. Individual courses could include, but are not restricted to, the study of particular movements and the presentation of a variety of methods, including cultural and interdisciplinary studies, historical approaches, pedagogical and rhetorical practices.

THEORIES stream: Provides opportunities for students to illuminate the underlying conceptual logics that govern texts and textual analysis. Theories of writing, critical theory, pedagogical theory, literary theory are all possible contributions to this stream, through which students will further develop their critical thinking process, their deeper sense of the history of the discipline of English, and their understanding of literature, language, teaching, and culture.


Degree Project Options

As students enter the Advanced Research Seminar, they will have finalized their choice of a degree project that best suits their career plans and use the seminar as a research workshop to prepare for the project selected. All degree projects are three (3) credit hours, taken as ENED or ENGL 696: Degree Project Completion. Options include:

  1. Thesis or Action Research Thesis: A formal analysis based on significant research exploring a critical issue or pedagogical problem within the field of English studies, offering fresh perspectives and successfully defended to the thesis committee during an oral thesis defense.
  2. Professional Presentation and Publication: Delivery of a scholarly conference paper (a graduate student or professional state, regional, or national conference in the field) together with submission of scholarly work to an appropriate journal, website, or anthology in the field of English studies representing significant research and analysis. Publication is not a requirement for the degree.
  3. Comprehensive Examination: With the guidance of faculty, students will sit for a two-part written exam: one based on the student’s research area; one, a field exam administered by the department. The written exam culminates in an oral conversation. Successful completion is required for the degree.


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