English

Department Chairperson: Brenda Eatman Aghahowa

Graduate Program Advisor(s ):Jacqueline I. Bryant and Kelly Ellis

Graduate Faculty : Jacqueline I. Bryant, Kelly Ellis, William L. Howard, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Haki Madhubuti, Christine Ohale, Nnedi Okorafor, Nuru Yakubu Ubangiji

The Department of English offers two master’s degree programs: The Master of Arts in English and the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

While many students enter the Master of Arts degree program to prepare for teaching composition or literature in schools or on the postsecondary level, others enroll for the degree to acquire background and skills for careers in writing, publishing, and a variety of business fields. Courses that address such professional interests are built on a firm foundation of core studies in literature and criticism and are complemented by the traditional skills that the program also develops: analytical abilities, techniques of investigation, and organization and presentation of ideas. For some students, the Master of Arts degree in English is essential preparation for the doctoral degree. It is the highly recommended background for such professions as law. Above all, the degree supports professional aspirations by enriching the student’s personal life through the impartation of varied knowledge of cultural history and the many modes of vision for examining and enjoying literature.

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing is a terminal degree and the appropriate credential for the teaching of creative writing. Holders of the degree will be able not only to teach courses in creative writing, but also courses in African-American literature, African literature, Third World literature, as well as non-Black literature. The M.F.A. degree focuses on the study of writing through the crafting, performance, and publication of original work.

In addition to the master’s degree programs, the department offers a concentration in Black literature. Graduate-level courses also are available in television, theatre arts, and communication studies.

Master of Arts in English

Admission Requirements

Students applying to the master’s degree program in English must submit a graded English paper if they wish to be considered for full admission. Students also must write a paper on literary analysis during a 90-minute period scheduled at Chicago State University. The date of the scheduled writing period can be obtained from the Department of English, (773) 995-2189. Graduate applicants are not required to complete the English Qualifying Examination.

Depending on the assessment of the graded English paper, the assessment of the paper on literary analysis, and whether students have fulfilled general requirement #2, students could be: 1) denied admission; 2) conditionally admitted; 3) fully admitted. Fully- and conditionally-admitted students who do not produce an acceptable paper on literary analysis will be assigned to a supportive course (ENG 2800, 2100, or 2260). Students must register for the supportive course during the next semester and earn a grade of A or B. If a student fails to earn a grade of A or B in the assigned supportive course, the Department Graduate Committee will determine the student’s standing in the program.

Assessment

All MA degree students will be assessed in American Literature, African-American Literature, British Literature, and Linguistics as they enter the program, after completion of 21 credit hours, after completion of 30 credit hours, and upon completion of the program.

The department maintains an updated copy of its Assessment Report in SCI 320.

General Requirements

  • Fulfillment of the general requirements for admission to the graduate program.
  • Completion of 24 semester hours of undergraduate work in English with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • A minimum of half of the courses applied to the satisfaction of Master’s degree requirements must be at the 5000-level, including one seminar in American literature and one seminar in British literature.

Option 1

Completion of at least thirty credit hours of graduate level course work, exclusive of teaching methods courses, with grades averaging B (3.0) or above.

Successful completion of a comprehensive examination in English or American literature or linguistics after the student has accumulated at least 21 hours in the master’s degree program. Students will be given only two opportunities to successfully complete the comprehensive exam. 

Option 2

Completion of at least thirty-three credit hours of graduate level course work (including the thesis), exclusive of teaching methods courses, with grades averaging B (3.0) or above. (See graduate advisor for MA thesis guidelines.)

Specific Requirements

Completion of 30 semester hours of graduate work in English selected with the approval of the graduate advisor. Teaching methods courses are excluded.

Completion of the following courses, or their equivalents, is required on either the undergraduate or graduate level: ENG 4311/311 or 5411/411; 5331/331 or 5428/428; 4336/336 or 5436/436; 5415/415 and 5427/427; plus three courses in some combination of British and American literature.

MA Thesis General Requirements

The thesis for the MA in English is a research treatise that develops a well-supported argument to advance a literary relationship, insight, synthesis, or interpretation that cannot be found in print and that demonstrates the student’s ability to write publishable scholarship. Prerequisites for admission to English 5498/498 (Master’s Thesis) include:

The student completes a minimum of twenty-seven hours of graduate English courses inclusive of English 5427/427 (Methods and Materials of Literary Research) and English 5331/331G (Literary Criticism) with a minimum overall G.P.A. of 3.0.

The student and advisor select committee (department chair ex officio).

The student submits and defends prospectus for the committee’s approval.

The student registers in English 5498/498. Consecutive requirements for the thesis include:

The student submits completed sections of the thesis to the committee at least twice between the prospectus defense and the thesis defense.

Student defends thesis (within two attempts).

Committee members indicate their acceptance of the thesis by their signatures.

Graduate advisor submits thesis to the graduate dean for approval.

Master of Fine Arts

For admission to the MFA Program, students must submit the application form, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, GRE general test scores, and a personal essay describing the nature of their writing and their writing process. Also required is a portfolio of creative work: for poets, 20 pages of poetry; for fiction and creative non-fiction writers, 40 pages of prose.

General Requirements

Fulfillment of the general requirements for admission to the graduate program.

Completion of a baccalaureate degree in the arts and sciences from
an accredited college or university, with a GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale).

Completion of 36 hours of graduate-level course work, exclusive of teaching methods courses, with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or better.

Completion of the MFA thesis (minimum 30 poems or 5 short stories [at least 100 pages] or 150 pages of a novel or creative non-fiction).

Completion of a comprehensive examination in African-American or non-African American literature.

Completion of an oral presentation of the student’s thesis.

Specific Requirements

Workshops/Forms Courses 15 credit hours

Select six hours from ENG 5461/461, 5463/463, and 5465/465; six hours from ENG 5380/380, 5381/381, and 5383/383; and three hours from ENG 5337, 5367/367 or 5368/368.

Publishing/Practicum 6 credit hours

ENG 5456/456 and 3 additional hours.

Literature 9 credit hours

Select 9 hours, of which 3 hours must be a seminar from ENG 5321/321, 5322/322, 5323/323, 5324/324, 5331/331, 5332/332, 5370/370, 5371/371, 5382/382, 5384/384, 5390/390, 5411/411, 5428/428, 5441/441, 5442/442, 5443/443, 5447/447, 5452/452, or 5453/453.

Thesis

Take six hours of ENG 5498 and give a public reading of excerpts of the thesis.6 credit hours

Course Offerings

English (ENG)

Note: The prerequisite for any 5000-level English course is the successful completion of the English Qualifying Examination or the Graduate English Entrance Examination.

5312/312 ADVANCED EDITING (3)

Prerequisites:English Graduate Students: Any graduate-level language or linguistics course (grade of B or higher), or ENG 2100/210 (grade of B or higher; there is no graduate level for this course), or consent of the department. Non-English Graduate Students: Any graduate-level language or linguistics course or ENG 2100/210 (grade of B or higher).

Advanced study and practice of the skills of writing and editing nonfiction. Research, writing, and refinement of various types of texts (such as journalism articles and political speeches), combined with the use of universal proofreader’s marks to edit texts for accuracy, completeness, clarity, coherence, and cohesion. Consideration of the legal and ethical requirements and responsibilities of editors.

5306/306 ADOLESCENT LITERATURE (3)

Survey of the literature appropriate for adolescent readers, including literature written by women, African Americans, and writers of various ethnic and minority groups. Emphasis on critical analysis and evaluation of works useful for teaching adolescent literature in secondary schools.

5314/314 VICTORIAN LITERATURE (3)

Prerequisites: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Examination or the Graduate English Entrance Exam.

Representative works from the Victorian period (1830-1901), including poets such as Tennyson, R. Browning, Arnold, E. B. Browning, the Pre-Raphaelites, Swinburne, Wilde, and W. S. Gilbert as well as prose writers such as Carlyle, Arnold, Darwin, Pater, Dickens, Trollope, and Thackeray.

5316/316 WORLD MASTERPIECES (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Study of major forms, works, authors, and characteristics of classical literatures in Greece, Rome, Africa, the Middle East, and of Continental European literatures.

5321/321 BLACK WOMEN WRITERS (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Seminal pieces of Black women’s writing in all genres. Exploration of definitions of Black women’s writing by examining works of authors such as Jacobs, Harper, Larsen, Hurston, Walker, hooks, Morrison, McMillan, Sanchez, and Jordan.

5322/322 BLACK AMERICAN POETRY (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Black poetry in America from Wheatley to the present; emphasis on the twentieth century.

5323/323 WRIGHT, ELLISON AND BALDWIN (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

The study of three important Black writers of fiction and nonfiction. Focus on their portrayal of Blacks and on their conception of the role of Blacks in America.

5324/324 GWENDOLYN BROOKS SEMINAR (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

A study of selections from Brooks’ early poetry (1945-1960), her novel MaudMartha, her children’s books of poetry, and her post-1960s works.

5326/326 ENGLISH ROMANTIC LITERATURE (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam; ENG 2100/210, ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Representative works from the Romantic period (1790-1830), including the philosophical background and historical events (e.g., the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic wars) that both conditioned and were conditioned by the formal features of literary texts. Focus is on the poetry of Barbauld, Blake, Burns, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, as well as on the prose of Lamb, Hazlitt, DeQuincey, Mary Shelly, and Wollstonecraft.

5329/329 STUDIES IN THE NOVEL (3)

The novel as a literary type.

5331/331 LITERARY CRITICISM (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Critical approaches to the study of literature from the traditional to the post-structural.

5332/332 BLACK AMERICAN FICTION (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Selected masterpieces of Black American prose fiction.

5334/334 THE IMAGE OF BLACKS IN AMERICAN PROSE FICTION (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

The portrayal of Black characters in American prose fiction by writers such as Douglass, Stowe, Chesnutt, Twain, Hurston, Wright, Faulkner, Petry, Marshall, and Gaines.

5337 CLASSICAL RHETORIC (3)

Study of the history and fundamental principles of classical rhetoric and its relationship to contemporary persuasive oratory. Analysis of the structure and impact of current political and religious rhetoric through examination of speeches, sermons, essays, journalistic writing, etc. Practice in the use of rhetorical strategies to produce effective discourse.

5338/338 LANGUAGE (3)

Language structure and use. Phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, typology, acquisition, historical development, speech acts, writing, dialects, registers, standards, and attitudes.

5339/339 CURRENT ENGLISH USAGE (3)

Study of variations in American English usage.

5341/341 AMERICAN LITERATURE SINCE 1918 (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Selections from the works of authors, including Ellison, Faulkner, Frost, Hemingway, Morrison, O’Conner, Petry, Williams, and Wright.

5342/342 BRITISH LITERATURE SINCE 1918 (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

An introduction to the birth of twentieth-century British literature, with attention to its social and cultural history, as well as its philosophical and cultural foundations. Texts are selected from the works of writers such as Hardy, Yeats, Forster, Woolf, Joyce, Lawrence, Eliot, Pinter, Geoffrey Hill, Heaney, Stoppard, and Rushdie. 

5343/343 CONTEMPORARY WORLD LITERATURE (3)

Significant works from various languages.

5345/345 AMERICAN LITERATURE, 1820-1865 (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 226 or consent of the department.

Selections from the works of Emerson, Hawthorne, Poe, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, and others.

5346/346 AMERICAN LITERATURE 1865-1918 (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Selections from the works of Twain, Howells, James, Crane, Emily Dickinson, Chesnutt, Chopin, Wharton, Dreiser, Cather, and other American writers.

5347/347 TEACHING COMPOSITION/FIELD (3)

Prerequisite: Admission to the College of Education, ELCF 5500/353 and READ 4100/306 (or concurrent enrollment in ELCF 5500/353 and READ 4100/306), and consent of the department.

Approaches to teaching grammar, mechanics, usage, style, and organization in narrative, descriptive, expository, and argumentative writing. Field hours required.

5349/349 THE ENGLISH NOVEL (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

English novels from Defoe to the present.

5350//350 RESTORATION AND EARLY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE (3)

Prerequisites: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam or the Graduate English Entrance Exam.

Selected works of Restoration and Augustan British literature (1660-1743) by authors such as Dryden, Butler, Bunyan, Rochester, Wycherley, Behn, Prior, Swift, Addison, Steele, Thomson, Pope, Gray, and Hogarth.

5351/351 LATER EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE (3)

Prerequisites: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam or the Graduate English Entrance Exam.

Selected works of later eighteenth-century British literature (1743-1798) by authors such as Collins, Gray, Richardson, Fielding, Joseph Warton, Thomas Warton, Johnson, Boswell, Goldsmith, Crabbe, and Cowper.

5355/355 MODERN WORLD DRAMA (3)

Selected plays by such dramatists as Ibsen, Chekhov, Strindberg, Pirandello, Brecht, and Ionesco.

5356/356 THE EXPERIENCE OF FILM (3)

Survey of major films both recent and classic. Discussion of techniques and themes, with screenings of representative works in various genres. Screenings and discussion.

5357/357 THE ENGLISH RENAISSANCE (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam or the Graduate English Entrance Exam.

Representative works written between 1485 and 1603, including poets such as Wyatt, Surrey, Spenser, Raleigh and Drayton as well as prose writers such as Machiavelli, Calvin, Hooker, Fox, Cranmer; also, one of Marlowe’s dramas.

5358/358 ENGLISH LITERATURE OF THE 17TH CENTURY (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Significant works of the seventeenth century, exclusive of those “neoclassical” authors identified with the Restoration of monarchy in 1660 and on into the eighteenth century; emphasis, therefore, is on poets such as Jonson, Donne, Herrick, Herbert, Crashaw, Marvell, Lovelace, Carew, Suckling, Vaughan, Wallar, Traherne, and Milton, as well as on such political, religious, and scientific prose writers as Hobbes, Burton, Winstanley, Browne, and Bacon; also on Jonson’s Volpon and Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi.

5360/360 TEACHING LITERATURE (3)

Prerequisite: Admission to the College of Education.

Approaches to teaching literature through reading, writing, and non-print media. Stresses practical development of teaching materials.

5361/361 LANGUAGE AND CULTURE (3)

Regional and social variations in American English.

5366/366 TEACHING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (3)

Prerequisite: ENG 4338/338 or consent of the department.

Theories of second language learning and acquisition. Emphasis on the works of the theorists such as Krashen and Cummins. Sociolinguistic and sociocultural issues concerning second language explored.

5367/367 SPECIAL TOPICS IN ENGLISH (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English qualifying examination or the Graduate English Entrance Examination.

Intensive study of a selected subject. May be taken twice for credit if the topics are different.

5368/368 WORKSHOP IN ENGLISH (1-3)

Prerequisite: Major in English or consent of the department.

Special study of a selected subject. May be taken twice for credit if the topics are different.

5370/370 THE AMERICAN ETHNIC EXPERIENCE IN LITERATURE (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Comparative study of ethnic cultures in America through an analysis of their fiction, poetry and drama.

5377/377 TEACHING WRITING IN A MULTICULTURAL SETTING (3)

Techniques related to the problems of teaching writing in a multiethnic classroom.

5378/378 METHODS AND MATERIALS FOR TEACHING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE /FIELD (3)

Prerequisites: BIL 200, ENG 5338/338G, and ENG 5366/366G or consent of the department; admission to the College of Education.

Techniques, methods and materials for teaching English as a second language. Development of a unit and lesson plans that will include teacher-made materials to be used with limited-English proficient students. Fifteen hours of supervised tutoring.

5379/379 WORKSHOP IN PUBLISHING (3)

Prerequisite: Graduate English Entrance Examination.

Study of book publishing process with emphases on concepts such as editing, design, production, marketing, sales, and the law. Methods of publishing other materials such as articles, poetry, and short stories. Exploration of career opportunities in publishing.

5380/380 SEMINAR IN CREATIVE NON-FICTION (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the Graduate English Entrance Examination or permission of the graduate academic advisor.

Intensive study of a selected body of creative non-fiction. Individual research projects.

5381/381 SEMINAR IN FICTION (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the Graduate English Entrance Examination or permission of the graduate academic advisor.

Intensive study of a selected body of fiction. Individual research projects.

5382/382 THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

The study of selected literary works of the Harlem Renaissance spanning all genres. Exploration of the period writers and their works.

5383/383 SEMINAR IN POETRY (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the Graduate English Entrance Examination.

Intensive study of a representative body of poetry. Individual research projects.

5384/384 AFRICAN-AMERICAN AUTOBIOGRAPHY (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

The history and development of African-American autobiography with a focus on selected authors and their works.

5386/386 MORRISON, WALKER, HURSTON (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Careful examination of three major Black female writers: Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston. Exploration of their lives and writing and criticism of their works.

5390/390 WOMEN’S VOICES (3)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the English Qualifying Exam, ENG 2100/210, and ENG 2260/226 or consent of the department.

Literature by women: poetic, fictional, and intellectual discourse focusing on gender and social issues.

5395/395 INTERNSHIP IN WRITING (3-12)

Prerequisite: Consent of the department.

Qualified English majors may be recommended for one of the limited number of paid and unpaid writing internships available in the community. May be repeated for up to a maximum of twelve credit hours.

Note: All graduate students are eligible to enroll for 4000-level classes, except those designated as restricted to master’s degree students or requiring departmental permission. Prior consultation with the department is recommended.

5411/411 STUDIES IN SHAKESPEARE: INTENSIVE STUDY OF SELECTED PLAYS (3)

Successful Completion of the English Qualifying Examination or the Graduate English Entrance Examination.

Intensive study of Shakespeare’s plays selected to represent the five kinds into which critics have traditionally classified the dramatic works: tragedies, comedies, histories, problem plays, and late romances. Attention will be given to structure, characterization, setting, use of language, and dramaturgy. Attendance at a Chicago Shakespeare Theater performance of one of the plays studied in class.

5415/415 STUDIES IN CHAUCER (3)

The Canterbury Tales, Troilus, and Criseyde, and selected minor poems.

5427/427 METHODS AND MATERIALS OF LITERARY RESEARCH (3)

Introduction to bibliographic methods and preparation of the literary research paper.

5428/428 HISTORY OF LITERARY CRITICISM (3)

A historical survey of major texts in literary criticism from the Greeks to modern times.

5435/435 HISTORY OF ENGLISH (3)

Origins of the English language and its development from Old English to present day English.

5436/436 DESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR (3)

Phonology, morphology, and syntax of American English.

5441/441 ADVANCED STUDIES IN ENGLISH LITERATURE (3)

Intensive study of the works and contributions of a major writer or group of writers other than Shakespeare or Chaucer to English literature.

5442/442 ADVANCED STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE (3)

Intensive study of the works and contributions of a major writer or group of writers to American literature.

5443/443 ADVANCED STUDIES IN BLACK LITERATURE (3)

Prerequisite: Consent of the department.

Intensive study of the works and contributions by a major writer or writers to Black literature.

5447/447 SEMINAR IN BLACK LITERATURE (3)

Prerequisite: Consent of the department.

Research in a selected topic, e.g. the Harlem Renaissance or the Sixties and Seventies. 

5449/449 THE POLITICS OF LANGUAGE (3)

Prerequisite: Consent of the department.

The role and importance of language in the decision-making process; political, sociocultural, educational, psychological, and economic implications. Topics to be covered include language and power, multilingualism, language and the curriculum, language and gender, language planning, language and nation building, and language and culture.

5451/451 INDEPENDENT STUDY IN ENGLISH (1-3)

Individual work in English studies. (May be taken twice for credit.)

5452/452 SEMINAR IN ENGLISH LITERATURE

be repeated up to a maximum of six hours.