Dec 05, 2023  
2016-17 Graduate Catalog 
2016-17 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

English, M.A.E.

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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 three areas of emphasis—literary study, creative writing, and technical and professional writing. It stresses effective writing in a broad array of genres, critical thinking, and interpretive skills, even as it fosters the growth of initiative and self-confidence—qualities much in demand in today’s professional world. Small classes and the dedicated attention of graduate faculty ensure a nurturing environment for growth.

The program enables students to pursue a variety of goals: prepare for or advance in a career in teaching; embark on a professional career as a creative writer; 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 three areas of emphasis are open to all students at all times throughout their studies. Each student meets with the Director of Graduate Studies 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 literature. Available any time from the student’s second semester on, the internship is an unpaid, 3-credit experience conducted under the supervision of the degree program’s coordinator and an appropriate member of the English Department.

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 is available to graduate students in several foreign countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, and Greece; 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 Critical Studies

This is the principal “area of emphasis” in Arcadia’s Master of Arts in English program. The richness and variety of its offerings attest to the breadth of the faculty’s varied interests in literature, 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 is impressive: it encompasses courses that cover sweeping historical epochs; courses that focus on a single great author or on a cluster of such authors; courses that revolve around a literary theme or genre; courses that look at a literary movement, or else focus on the literature of a given region, ethnic group, or cultural background; courses that reach out to farther corners of the world … and then there are interdisciplinary courses that look, for example, at the way film links literature in different countries of the world.

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 and refined interpretive skills to the serious study of literature.

Creative Writing

Both in its curriculum and in extra-curricular ways, Arcadia’s Master of Arts in English offers an exciting creative writing program. This area of emphasis does more than help students prepare themselves to become serious writers; it also strengthens their potential as teachers, both at the secondary and post-secondary levels, and deepens and enriches their appreciation of literature.

Technical and Professional Writing

This area of emphasis is valuable for those who want to work in the media or in the corporate sector. While it is the least emphasized of the three areas in this Master’s program, and does not feature studio courses in media training, it nonetheless offers a number of courses pertinent to the student’s interest: journalism; technical writing; writing and editing for magazines; 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.

Visiting Writers

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 two different programs, The “Writers Return to Campus” Series and the “Visiting Writers Series.” The first of these programs invites back to campus former students of Arcadia who have achieved, or are achieving, notable literary success. Novelists, short-story writers, children 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. 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 most recently …the list of distinguished guests goes on.

The workshops that students get to attend with 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 “closeddoor” 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 go one-on-one with a real “pro.”

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements, the following requirements must be met:

  1. A graduate application, including personal statement, to be completed online at
  2. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a recommended GPA of 3.0 or better. The undergraduate major should be in one of the traditional liberal arts or in a professional or pre-professional field and accompanied by strong undergraduate training in English.
  3. One official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended. Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Transcripts must be sent from the issuing school in a sealed envelope and contain the appropriate signatures and seals to be considered official.
  4. Two letters of recommendation. The letters must be of a professional not personal nature. If the student has been out of school five years or less, at least one letter must come from a professor.
  5. A personal interview with the program Coordinator.
  6. A writing sample, if deemed necessary by the program Coordinator.
  7. International applicants should visit for detailed information on admission requirements and application procedures. Official results from the TOEFL or IELTS are required for all students for whom English is a second language or who have not earned degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required.

All application materials must be sent to the Office of Enrollment Management.

Rolling Admission: Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year. Students may start in the Fall, Spring or Summer semester.


2016-17 Tuition: $720 per credit


Deferred Payment– $40
Audit– $720 per course


  • Full-time (9 or more credits): $60 per year
  • Part-time (less than 9 credits): $30 per semester
  • Evening Parking (attending class after 4 p.m.): No charge

Financial Aid: Graduate students who have been accepted into a degree program and are enrolled for at least 6 credits per semester are eligible to apply for financial aid. Please visit for information regarding required forms and documents, most of which can be submitted online.

Graduate assistantships are available to all students registered for at least 9 credits per semester, or 6 credits throughout the summer session. Students may apply for assistantships upon acceptance and registration. Questions regarding graduate assistantships should be directed to the College of Graduate Studies at 215-572-2925.

Federal Loans: Graduate students are eligible to borrow through the federal Stafford Loan and federal PLUS Loan programs. Arcadia University, in partnership with AES/PHEAA, offers the no-fee Arcadia University Preferred Stafford Loan Program, which provides students with benefits that include: Origination and guarantee fee waivers Interest rate reduction during repayment Superior administration and servicing All financial aid paperwork not submitted online should be sent to the Office of Enrollment Management/Financial Aid. Please e-mail or call 1-877-ARCADIA (1-877-272-2342) with additional questions.

Study Abroad

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 such as Italy, Greece, England, France, Ireland, Scotland, and Tanzania.

While most of the study-abroad courses for graduate students are short-term, there is a 9-credit career internship in London which 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, It is also recommended that graduate students interested in study-abroad opportunities speak with a director within The College of Global Studies and with Dr. Wertime.

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 the TCGS.

For example:

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.

Degree Requirements

36 credits of graduate-level coursework are required for completion of the degree program.

Elective Courses (21-24 credits)

Either seven or eight courses in English and related Humanities disciplines chosen in consultation with the program advisor. These may include a maximum of two graduate-level courses taken among the following Humanities disciplines: History; Philosophy; Religion; International Studies; International Peace and Conflict Resolution; Art History; Music; Theatre; and courses identified specifically as Humanities courses (e.g., The Introductory Humanities Seminar, The Philadelphia Seminar, and the Humanities Colloquium). Students in the program are allowed to take up to two Independent Study research projects (EN 689 ) under the supervision of qualified and willing professors during their degree work. Application for the approval of independent studies must be made in writing to the Department of English ahead of the semester in which the Independent Study is to be undertaken. Students may not undertake Independent Study during their first semester in the program. Again, a Career Internship in English (EN 670 ) may be undertaken once in the course of the student’s program, pending the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies in English, who must be consulted prior to the beginning of the internship. As with Independent Study, the Career Internship in English may not be pursued during the student’s first semester in the program. The Internship is a graded course, as are all the other courses offered in the program. No courses are offered on a Pass/fail basis.

Additional Information

Students in the program are normally expected to complete degree requirements by undertaking a 3-credit culminating project under the supervision of one or more members of the Department. Under exceptional circumstances, students will be granted the opportunity to write a master’s thesis for 6 credits under the supervision of one or more members of the Department. To undertake a thesis, students must submit a thesis proposal and accompanying documents as required by the Department. Students do not automatically have the right to write a thesis; they may do so only if their application for the thesis is approved.

Students who do not complete the thesis or master’s project at the end of their coursework, or at the end of the semester or session in which they are enrolled in a departmental thesis or culminating project course, are required to enroll in an ongoing non-credit thesis writing course until all work is completed and approved (EN 697 ). A fee equivalent to 1 graduate credit for a 3-credit culminating master’s project and 2 graduate credits for a 6-credit culminating thesis will be assessed for each semester or part thereof during which the thesis or capstone project is incomplete. (For these purposes, all the summer sessions together will count as one semester.)

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