About the Program
The Master of Arts in English affords students the flexibility to tailor their course of study to meet their individual wishes and professional goals. This highly versatile program offers courses in three areas of emphasis—Literary Studies, Cultural Studies, and Professional and Academic Writing.
The program enables students to pursue a variety of goals: prepare for or advance in a career in teaching; pursue an advanced degree in literary study; or work in the fields of publishing, editing, and technical or professional writing. There are no “tracks” in the program to which students are limited; the areas of emphasis are open to all students at all times throughout their studies. Each student meets with the Director of the Graduate Program to tailor an individualized program of coursework.
To enhance professional readiness, the student may undertake a Career Internship in English in any one of several fields related to the study of writing and literary study. Available any time from the student’s second semester on, the internship is a 3-credit experience conducted under the supervision of the program Director, the field supervisor, and an appropriate member of the English Department, where relevant.
Students are further encouraged to consider study abroad as a component of their program. They may take up to 9 credits of work in English and related fields at foreign institutions through Arcadia’s College of Global Studies or other venues for study abroad that the university offers. Short-term summer study led by current faculty is also available to graduate students in several foreign countries. These options can be especially valuable for graduate students whose personal or professional circumstances prevent them from pursuing long-term study-abroad options.
Literary and Cultural Studies
This is the principal “area of emphasis” in Arcadia’s English M.A.program. The richness and variety of its offerings attest to the breadth of the faculty’s varied interests in literature and Cultural Studies, and can truly be said to be unusual in its scope. Students who aspire to go on for doctoral studies; current high-school and community college teachers; professionals from different backgrounds who hunger for the stimulation of literary study and serious critical thinking—these are among the individuals who come together in Arcadia’s graduate English classes.
The range of offerings encompass courses that cover sweeping historical epochs; courses that focus on a single author or on a cluster of such authors; courses that revolve around a literary theme, genre, or movement; courses that look at the literature of a given region, ethnic group, or cultural background.
In all of the courses in this area of emphasis, effective writing is central. Proud of its pioneering role in the nation’s Writing Across the Curriculum movement, Arcadia—and specifically the Master of Arts in English program—stresses the centrality of rigorous critical thinking, argumentation, and refined interpretive skills to the serious study of literature.
Professional Writing, Composition, & Rhetoric
This area of emphasis is valuable for those who are interested in the power of critical writing, communication, and new media. While this area has the least number of courses in this Master’s program, and does not feature studio courses in media training, the university offers a number of courses pertinent to the student’s interest: journalism; technical writing; writing and editing for magazines; language study, rhetorical writing, writing for radio and television; writing for the health industry, for the web and the new media, and grant writing for non-profits. Such courses as these enhance the student’s preparation for professional work. Students pursuing this area of emphasis are especially encouraged to undertake a Career Internship in English to fortify their credentials for when they enter the marketplace.
Beyond the classroom, students in the program have exciting opportunities to meet professional writers and connect with them personally by participating in workshops open only to Arcadia students. Writers appear here in programs such as, the “Writers Return to Campus” Series, the “Visiting Writers Series” and Department faculty host scholars and speakers throughout the academic year.
The “Writers Return to Campus” series invites back to campus former students of Arcadia who have achieved, or are achieving, notable literary success. Novelists, short-story writers, Children’s Fiction and Young Adult Literature writers, poets, playwrights, memoirists, creative-nonfiction writers, even former students who have become noted publishers or literary impresarios—all have been invited to conduct workshops for our students and to give readings of their works that are open to the public. Refreshments and books sales—and signings by the authors—regularly accompany these events. The motto of this program is “You can get there from here,” inasmuch as Arcadia has proved a fruitful training ground for literary ambition.
The “Visiting Writers” Series attracts both up-and-coming writers and well-established professionals whose works have already gained wide recognition. A host of the best-known writers in our culture have been our guests in this program, which seeks to celebrate breadth and diversity. Over the years, the series has hosted Pulitzer-Prizewinning poet Gwendolyn Brooks and novelist Richard Russo; American Poet Laureate Ted Kooser; National Book Award-winning poets Gerald Stern and Jean Valentine; Marilynn Robinson, National Book Award for fiction; renowned novelists, memoirists, and short-story writers John Edgar Wideman and Tobias Wolff; Rome Prize winner Karl Kirchwey; lauded fiction writer Robin Black; blind poet and essayist Steven Kuusisto; novelists Brad Watson and Tom Franklin, and most recently, Guggenheim Fellow and poet Jericho Brown … the list of distinguished guests goes on.
The workshops that students get to attend with all of these writers enable the participants (limited to ten in each of the workshops) to submit, in advance, a sample of their work in the appropriate genre for the visiting writer to read and respond to. The workshops are “closed door” experiences for our students, who may be undergraduates or graduate students; no one—no “guests,” no professors—are permitted in the room with the writer and ten students. What results is a remarkable experience for our students: the chance to have meaningful exchanges with professionals.
Arcadia University offers graduate students in English a variety of short-term study-abroad opportunities. The programs in question vary in length and in the number of credits allotted for the course. Up to 9 of a graduate student’s 36 total required graduate credits may be applied to study-abroad courses. Students may pursue these short-term study-abroad endeavors in countries.
While most of the study-abroad courses for graduate students are short-term, there is a 9-credit career internship in London option that lasts for one full semester and which may be pursued during either the fall or the spring semester.
Specific information on study-abroad opportunities for graduate students is available on The College of Global Studies’ website, http://www.arcadia.edu/abroad/. It is also recommended that graduate students interested in study-abroad opportunities speak with a mentor within The Office of International Affairs and with the English Graduate Program Director.
Study Abroad Transfer Credit: In addition to policies regarding transfer credit, students may request transfer of a maximum of 9 credits of graduate study earned through The College of Global Studies (TCGS), with prior written approval of their faculty adviser. Students who transferred credits taken prior to admission may transfer a total of 9 credits, including those taken through TCGS.
0 entry-level transfer credits: Arcadia accepts 9 TCGS credits.
3 entry-level transfer credits: Arcadia accepts 6 TCGS credits.
6 entry-level transfer credits: Arcadia accepts 3 TCGS credits.