English M.A.

The Master of Arts degree in English is designed for students who desire the challenge of an intense study of literature. Graduates of the program will have a critical appreciation of literature, a thorough knowledge of scholarly tools and the preparation necessary to become competent writers and teachers of writing. The degree requires a total of 36 semester hours of graduate-level courses in English.

Students in the program receive substantial individual attention from faculty. There are opportunities for students to do research and publish on their own or with faculty, as well as opportunities for meeting important scholars and writers at both on-campus and off-campus conferences and events. In addition, graduate assistants gain valuable professional experience as editors, scholars or instructors.

Admission to the program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (4.0 scale) on all undergraduate work, a score of 156 or higher on the verbal section of the revised GRE (or a score of 550 or higher on the Verbal section of the previous version of the GRE) with a score of 4.5 or higher on the GRE Analytical Writing test, and an undergraduate major in English. This must also be supported by a writing sample and two letters of recommendation from referees who know the student’s work well and are prepared to comment on its quality.

The program will prepare the student for doctoral work in English or for careers demanding advanced skills in critical reading and writing. The degree can make one eligible for teaching at a two-year college, and certified teachers who complete the degree can extend their certification to the fifth-year level. The degree is also useful for anyone interested in a career in professional writing, administration, entertainment or public service.

Degree Requirements


Welcome to the Master of Arts in English

Available at the Milledgeville Campus

Our Master of Arts in English program is located in historic Milledgeville, Ga. The university is located approximately 100 miles from Atlanta and Augusta and 75 miles from Athens. Milledgeville is in the heart of the Middle Georgia area, which is close to several recreational sites. 

The library houses the Flannery O'Connor Collection and the department publishes the Flannery O'Connor Review and Arts and Letters.

A small graduate enrollment provides close interaction between students and faculty.

Degree requirements include:

  • 36 graduate semester hours in English, including Methods of Research and three other graduate seminars
  • Demonstrated reading proficiency in a foreign language
  • A written comprehensive examination 
  • A graduate thesis or graduate portfolio

All graduate courses are listed at the 5000- or 6000-level. Please note that whereas 6000-level courses are graduate seminars, 5000-level courses are cross-listed at the 4000-level and therefore include graduate and undergraduate students.

A common reading list for the comprehensive examination offers all students the opportunity to gain a breadth of knowledge about literature.

Students who wish to pursue a subject in depth may choose to write a thesis; those who would like to explore a variety of topics may choose the non-thesis option.

See the complete list of programs.


These accomplished, publishing faculty holding doctorates are among those available to guide you in your literary and cultural studies in these and other areas:

Alex Blazer, Post-Modern Studies
Dr. Blazer is an Associate Professor of English at Georgia College. After studying literature and photography at Denison University, he earned a Ph.D. in twentieth-century literature and critical theory at The Ohio State University. He previously taught at the University of Louisville and Grand Valley State University. His poetry scholarship focused on the relationship between critical theory and American poetry in the 1970's and 1980's. His research on the contemporary American novel examines the relationship between postmodern culture and existential madness. Dr. Blazer teaches a wide variety of courses in composition, writing about literature, poetry, drama, critical theory (particularly existentialism and psychoanalysis), and twenty- and twenty-first century American literature (particularly the postmodern novel and contemporary poetry).

Beauty Bragg, African American Studies
Dr. Bragg is Associate Professor at Georgia College, where she also contributes courses in Women’s Studies and Africana Studies. She has published essays and reviews in journals such as Meridians; feminism, race, transnationalism, The Journal of Popular Culture, and MELUS.  Currently, her research is focused on the intersections among African American femininity, hip hop culture and post-soul literary aesthetics.  Her essay “Feminism and the Streets: the female quest for independence in the era of transactional sexuality” is forthcoming in Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender and the Black International.

Craig Callender, Linguistics
Dr. Callender has been a professor at Georgia College since 2008. He completed a PhD in Linguistics at the University of South Carolina, and regularly teaches courses in Linguistics, Medieval Literature, and World Literature. His research centers on historical linguistics, dialectology, and phonological systems in West Germanic.

Pete Carriere, Literary and Composition Studies
Dr. Carriere is Professor of English and Writing Center Coordinator at Georgia College. His areas of expertise are Composition Theory, Nineteenth-Century British Literature, and British Modernism.

Marshall Bruce Gentry, Flannery O'Connor Studies 
Dr. Gentry has earned English degrees from Arkansas, Chicago, and the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his PhD. After eighteen years at the University of Indianapolis, where he served as chair of the English Department, in 2003 he became Professor of English at Georgia College in Milledgeville and Editor of the Flannery O’Connor Review. He is the author of the book-length study Flannery O’Connor’s Religion of the Grotesque, published by the University Press of Mississippi and available in paperback. He is the editor of The Cartoons of Flannery O’Connor at Georgia College and co-editor of At Home with Flannery O’Connor: An Oral History. His articles on O’Connor’s works appear in Flannery O’Connor’s Radical Reality, "On the Subject of the Feminist Business": Re-Reading Flannery O’Connor, Flannery O’Connor: New Perspectives, and The Southern Quarterly. Publications by Gentry on other American fiction writers include Conversations with Raymond Carver (a collection of Carver’s interviews, for which Gentry was co-editor) and articles on such writers as E. L. Doctorow, Philip Roth, and Raymond Carver in Contemporary Literature, South Atlantic Review, The CEA Critic, Shofar, and South Carolina Review. In 2007, Gentry was co-director with John D. Cox for “Reconsidering Flannery O’Connor,” a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College and University Teachers; the Institute brought 24 college professors to Milledgeville for a month of studying O’Connor’s works. Gentry has also co-directed O’Connor conferences in Milledgeville in 2006, 2008, and 2011.

Mary Magoulick, Interdisciplinary Studies
Dr. Magoulick has publications in folklore and literature, Native American studies, and women and popular culture. She also works on nature writing, literature of the Islamic world, and global perspectives. She holds a PhD in folklore from Indiana University, an MA in English from University of Virginia, and a BA in English from University of Michigan—Dearborn. She has traveled widely, teaching, living, and exploring in over 30 countries. She believes cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives enhance the study of literature.

Eustace Palmer, Interdisciplinary and International Studies
Dr. Palmer received his MA in English Language and Literature and Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. A native Sierra Leonean, Dr. Palmer was Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone, Dean of the School of Arts, and Dean of Graduate Studies, before relocating to the United States and becoming a naturalized American citizen. He has had extensive teaching experience both in Africa and the United States. He has served as African Scholar in Residence at Randolph Macon Women’s College in Virginia and as Visiting Fulbright Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin. His current position is Professor of English at Georgia College. Dr. Palmer’s main areas of specialization are eighteenth-century English Literature and African Literature. Universally regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on African Literature, Dr. Palmer has published scores of articles and reviews on African and English Literatures and is the author of eight books: Studies on the English Novel, An Introduction to the African Novel, The Growth of the African Novel, Knowledge Is More Than Mere Words: A Critical Introduction to Sierra Leonean Literature (jointly edited with Professor Michael Porter),  New Essays on the African Novel, A Hanging Is Announced (fiction), Canfira’s Travels (fiction, and A Tale of There Women (fiction). For several years he was Associate Editor of African Literature Today, one of the leading journals on African literature, and is a past President of the African Literature Association, a worldwide association devoted to the promotion, study and teaching of African Literature. He received the African Literature Association’s “Distinguished Member” award in 2012 for his commitment to teaching and scholarship in African Literature, and was named Georgia College and State University’s “Distinguished Professor” for 2010/2011.

Katie Simon, Early American Literature
Professor Simon is an Associate Professor of Early American Literature in the Department of English and Rhetoric, and an Affiliated Faculty in the Program in Women's Studies. After earning a B.A. in English literature from U.C. Berkeley, and an M.A. in English literature from Mills College, Professor Simon completed a PhD in English with a special concentration in Gender and Women's Studies from U.C. Berkeley. Her graduate work focused on American autobiographies from the 18th and 19th centuries. Her current work focuses on issues of freedom and captivity in 19th-century American literature. Her book project is entitled "Something Akin to Freedom: Race, Space, and the Body in 19th-Century American Literature," and includes studies of authors such as Henry David Thoreau, William Wells Brown, Harriet Wilson, Herman Melville, and Sophia Hawthorne. Her work has appeared in Women's Studies: An Inter-disciplinary Journal and in Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life. She teaches courses such as American Literature to 1865, Critical Approaches to Literature, seminars in Thoreau and Melville, and a freshman seminar entitled Public and Collective Memory. She was awarded Georgia College's Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014.

Elaine Whitaker, Medieval Studies 
Dr. Whitaker received her PhD from New York University in English and American literature. She specializes in late medieval manuscripts and early printed books; she also publishes in composition theory and pedagogy.


Prospective students are encouraged to apply prior to
July 1st for the Fall Semester, November 15th for Spring Semester,
and April 1st for Maymester and Summer Semesters. 


Application for Admission

For application procedures, click here.


Requirements for Regular Admission

  • Undergraduate major in English
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (4.0 scale) on all undergraduate work


Transcripts

One official copy of all transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions should be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office at the time of application.


Standardized Tests

English requires the GRE (general test only) for admission. A score of 156 or higher on the Verbal section of the GRE, and a score of 4.5 or higher on the Analytical Writing section is required.


Letters of Recommendation

The application must also be supported by two letters of recommendation from referees who know the student's work well and who are qualified to comment on its quality. The letters should be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office (letters may be mailed or faxed):
 

Graduate Admissions Office

Kate Marshall
Campus Box 107
Milledgeville, GA 31061
grad-admit@gcsu.edu
478-445-6289
 

Writing Sample 

A 10-15 page critical essay in English must also be submitted with your application. Writing samples should be submitted directly to:

Dr. Jennifer Flaherty  
MA Program Coordinator 
Department of English and Rhetoric
Arts & Sciences 3-22 
Georgia College & State University 
Campus Box 44 
Milledgeville, GA 31061           
jennifer.flaherty@gcsu.edu 
478-445-3180 or 478-445-4581

Students who do not meet requirements for regular admission may be admitted provisionally.

Information about Graduate Assistantships.



Graduate Seminars

All MA students must take four 6000 level seminars:

ENGL 6601       Graduate Seminar in Methods of Research                        (3 semester hours)

ENGL 6680       Graduate Seminar in Studies in Literature                          (3 semester hours)

ENGL 6685       Graduate Seminar in Critical Approaches to Literature     (3 semester hours)

ENGL 6690       Graduate Seminar in Variable Topics                                   (3 semester hours) 

All students should take ENGL 6601 as soon as possible, preferably in the first term of graduate work. ENGL 6601 is a prerequisite for ENGL 6970 Thesis.
 

Previous Graduate Seminars

Fall 2012 Graduate Seminar Descriptions  

6601: Methods of Research (taught by Dr. Michael Riley)

This course will help you to develop the basics needed to perform the sophisticated research expected for graduate-level work in British and American language and literature. It will provide a very brief overview of the history of textual production and book history, as well as introducing you to various issues raised by that history, e.g.: How can we evaluate the legitimacy of a particular edition for the use(s) we intend (teaching, pleasure reading, as a basis for scholarly research, and so on)? How do texts get established, both at their origin and later, in the activity known as the "scholarly edition"? How do we find materials, both primary and secondary, to support our research? What are the basics schools of scholarly inquiry whence we can conduct our research? More particularly (and depending upon your interests), we will go more deeply into a variety of possible questions such as, what is "The First Folio," and what do the terms "first" and "folio" mean? What is the difference between the two quarto editions of King Lear? How did we get the text of "Beowulf"? What is the publication history of Dickens' novels and how did it differ from the norm? Is the author's final text always a preferred one? The assignments are designed to give you practical experience working with various reference sources, as well as grappling with issues you will face as a scholar and/or teacher of literature.

6680: The Nature of Story (taught by Dr. Mary Magoulick)

We will consider “the nature of story” in its two senses – understanding narrative theoretically and artistically, and understanding connections between narrative and the environment or landscape. We will thus read myths, contemporary literature, theories of myth and narrative, consider information about nature and the environment, watch films, and read ideas on connections between the environment and human culture. The course will be exploratory in nature, but takes as an assumption that many myths and works of literature are intimately informed by and reflective of the natural world. What this mythic reflection of the human relationship to and conception of nature reveals, is to be discovered. But even from the outset, students should anticipate examining questions surrounding current environmental destruction (by humans). This is a graduate seminar, thus dependent upon strong student input and participation.


Comprehensive Examination 
In the last term of class work, or as soon as possible after the last term of class work, the student must pass a comprehensive examination.

The examination has two parts and is based on the MA reading list:

  • A text-specific essay
  • An essay demonstrating broad, comprehensive reading.


Examination Description:  
The examination is devised and administered by members of the English Graduate Faculty in consultation with the Coordinator of the MA in English.  

  1. The examination is given in the last week of the fall and spring terms, but not in the summer term.  
  2. A student wishing to take the examination should notify the Coordinator in writing by the end of the first week of the term in which the student wishes to take the examination.  
  3. The examination committee will consist of three members of the English Graduate Faculty, one of whom will serve as chair. 
  4. The examination committee will award the grade of pass with distinction, pass, low pass, or fail for each section of the exam.
  5. The Coordinator will inform the students of the exam results. The student must pass both parts. A student may retake a failed portion without having to retake the passed portion. A student who fails any portion of the examination may not retake a failed portion until the next term.

 

MA Comprehensive Exam Reading List

British Texts

  1. Early Medieval: Beowulf*
  2. Late Medieval: Chaucer, from The Canterbury Tales*
  3. Renaissance Drama: Shakespeare, Hamlet and King Lear; Marlowe, Doctor Faustus*; Johnson, Volpone*
  4. Seventeenth Century Metaphysical Poetry: Donne*, Herbert*, Marvel*
  5. Seventeenth Century: Milton, Paradise Lost*
  6. Eighteenth Century: Fielding, Tom Jones
  7. Eighteenth Century: Swift, Gulliver’s Travels
  8. Eighteenth Century: Pope, The Rape of the Lock
  9. Nineteenth Century Romantic Verse: Wordsworth*, Coleridge*, Keats*
  10. Nineteenth Century Romantic Novel: Bronte, Wuthering Heights
  11. Nineteenth Century Victorian Novel: Dickens, Great Expectations
  12. Nineteenth Century Victorian Novel: Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
  13. Nineteenth Century Victorian Poetry: Tennyson*, Browning*, Arnold*
  14. Irish Renaissance: Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Yeats, poetry*
  15. Twentieth Century Modernism: Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Beckett, Waiting for Godot


American Texts

  1. Captivity and Slave Narratives: Rowlandson** and Douglass**
  2. Transcendentalism: Emerson**, Thoreau**, Hawthorne**, Melville**
  3. Nineteenth Century Poetry: Whitman**, Dickinson**
  4. Regionalist, Realist, Naturalist Fiction: Twain**, Chesnutt**, Wharton**, Jewett**, Crane**
  5. Modernist Fiction: Faulkner**, Fitzgerald**, Hemingway**
  6. Modernist Poetry: Eliot**; Williams**; Moore**; Stein, Tender Buttons
  7. Harlem Renaissance: Hughes**, McKay**, Hurston**, Larsen**
  8. Modern Drama: O’Neill**, Williams**, Glaspell**
  9. Postwar/Contemporary Fiction: Morrison, Song of Solomon
  10. Postwar/Contemporary Poetry: Ginsberg**, Bishop**, Brooks**, Harjo**


International Texts

  1. Africa: Achebe, Things Fall Apart
  2. Europe: Kafka, The Trial
  3. Middle East: Mahfouz, Midaq Alley
  4. India: Roy, The God of Small Things
  5. South America: Allende, The House of the Spirits


*selections from The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th ed.

**selections from The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th ed.


Students who choose the thesis option should seek out a member of the English Graduate Faculty as a thesis advisor after they have completed 18 semester hours.

Thesis Committee

The thesis committee consists of the thesis advisor and two other faculty members. One of these two committee members must be from the English Graduate Faculty; the other may be from the Graduate Faculty in another department.

Writing and Defending the Thesis:

  • The student should develop a two-page thesis proposal under the direction of the thesis committee.    
  • The thesis must demonstrate scholarly research on a literary topic of considerable depth, should normally have between 50 and 100 pages of text, and should also include a comprehensive list of works cited.                       
  • The thesis should be prepared in the documentation style recommended by the Modern Language Association and should meet the criteria for theses as established by the University.
  • Copies of the completed thesis in unbound form should be submitted to the thesis committee for a critical reading at least four weeks before the end of the semester in which the student completes all requirements for the degree.
  • The oral defense of the thesis should be held at least two weeks before the end of the relevant semester. The defense will normally take at least one hour and will demonstrate the student's knowledge of the thesis topic and the implications of the thesis for the general study of literature.

For additional information on requirements and deadlines, please see the graduate catalog or contact the Graduate Coordinator.


Students who choose the non-thesis option submit a writing portfolio after they have passed the comprehensive exam.

Portfolio Requirements

  • The writing portfolio must be at least 35 pages. 
  • It must include a brief reflective essay as its introduction, followed by revisions of three research papers written during the student's course of study at Georgia College.
  • The portfolio must include the original and revised versions of the papers.


The papers included in the portfolio should illustrate the student's finest scholarly work and must demonstrate an appropriate level of disciplinary competence and scholarly expertise.

The introduction should describe the papers selected and reflect on the development of the student as a scholarly writer and professional.  

Because the rhetorical situation of the portfolio is different from a term paper, and revise three papers' claims that engage an audience of scholars in diverse literary fields with no knowledge of the original courses' context and content.

This portfolio, submitted to the Coordinator of the MA in English for a critical reading at least four weeks before the end of the semester in which the student completes all requirements for the degree, will be awarded a pass with distinction, pass, or fail by a committee consisting of members of the English Graduate Faculty. Students whose portfolio is not awarded a passing grade may revise and resubmit the portfolio during the following fall or spring semester.


Q: Who should I contact for more information about the Master of Arts in English Program at Georgia College?

A:    Dr. Jennifer Flaherty    
       MA Program Coordinator 
       Department of English and Rhetoric 
       Georgia College & State University 
       Campus Box 44 
       Milledgeville, GA 31061           
       jennifer.flaherty@gcsu.edu 
       478-445-3180 or 478-445-4581
 

Q: What time are classes usually offered?

A: The majority of our courses are offered before 5pm, but during the fall and spring semesters there are also a few evening courses available.
 

Q: Are the required 6000 level graduate seminars offered during the summer?

A: We do not offer any of the required seminars during the summer.
 

Q: Is there a particular order that I should take the seminars in?

A: The program is designed so that English 6601, Methods of Research, should be the first seminar students take. If this is not possible, students should take this course as soon as they can.

 

Department of English and Rhetoric
Arts & Sciences room 3-03  |  Campus Box 44
Milledgeville, GA 31061
Phone: (478) 445-4581
Fax: (478) 445-5961