Degree Requirements

Students applying to the master’s degree program in English must include a graded English paper. Students must also 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 exam.

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. Students conditionally admitted will be assigned to Eng 2280 and to other courses deemed necessary. Conditionally admitted students must successfully complete Eng 2280 or other courses deemed necessary for full admission into the master’s degree program. Fully admitted students who do not produce an acceptable paper on literary analysis will be assigned to Eng 5427.


  • Fulfillment of the general requirements for admission to the graduate program.
  • Completion of twenty-four semester hours of undergraduate work in English and the baccalaureate degree, with an acceptable grade point average.
  • 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 twenty-one 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.)
  • Completion of thirty 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 or 5411; 5331 or 5428; 4336 or 5436; 5415 and 5427; plus three courses in some combination of British and American literature

For successful completion of the graduate program in English, students must:

  1. be able to write coherent, well-organized exposition in several rhetorical modes using edited American English competently.
  2. understand and be able to use effectively a variety of rhetorical forms and strategies of informative writing and write for a variety of audiences.
  3. be familiar with the literature and major developments and writers of Great Britain and America.
  4. be familiar with a significant body of literature by American writers of color.
  5. be able to analyze works of literature, understand a variety of critical approaches, and demonstrate an awareness of the characteristic elements and techniques of the various genres.
  6. understand basic elements of language and of language development, history, dialects, and language acquisition.
  7. be able to think critically about issues and articulate varying points of view.
  8. be adept in solving problems involved in research and communication.
  9. be competent in operating word processing programs.
  10. be familiar with professional journals in the discipline.
  11. be familiar with professional organizations and become a participating member of at least one.
  12. be willing and able to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and outline a plan of self-improvement.