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Master of Arts in English

University requirements for the M.A. are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.


Students in the major who are interested in further postgraduate work in English may apply for Stanford's coterminal master's program. Candidates for a coterminal master's degree must fulfill all requirements for the M.A. in English (including the graduate language requirement), as well as general and major requirements for the B.A. in English. A minimum GPA of 3.7 in the major is required of those applying for the coterminal master's degree. Students must also take the general GRE exam in the year in which they apply. No courses used to satisfy the B.A. requirements (either as General Education Requirements or department requirements) may be applied toward the M.A. No courses taken more than two quarters prior to admission to the coterminal master's program may be used to meet the 45-unit University minimum requirement for the master's degree. For University coterminal degree program rules and University application forms, see University requirements for the coterminal M.A. are described in the "Coterminal Bachelor's and Master's Degrees" section of this bulletin.

M.A. candidates must complete with a 3.0 (B) grade point average (GPA) at least nine courses (a minimum of 45 units), at least two of which must be 300-level courses. Ordinarily, graduate students enroll in courses numbered 200 and above. They may take no more than two courses numbered 101-199 without the consent of the Director of Graduate Studies, and no more than two courses outside the department. The master's student may take no more than 10 units of directed reading and research (ENGLISH 398). No creative writing courses may be used to fulfill the requirements. M.A. candidates must also demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language. (For ways of fulfilling this requirement, see the section below on language requirements for the Ph.D.) Interested students should consult their faculty adviser or the graduate program adviser for further details.


Required Courses

  1. Two courses in literature before 1800 (5 units each)
  2. Two courses in literature after 1800 (5 units each)

Elective Courses—Five courses (5 units each) which should represent a mixture of survey and specialized courses chosen to guarantee familiarity with a majority of the works on the qualifying exam reading list for doctoral candidates. Candidates who can demonstrate unusually strong preparation in the history of English literature may undertake a 40 to 60 page master's thesis. Each student is responsible for finding an adviser, who must approve the proposed topic before the end of Winter Quarter prior to anticipated graduation. Candidates register for up to 10 units of ENGLISH 399 with the faculty member who supervises the thesis work. The thesis is read and graded by the adviser and one other member of the English faculty.

Candidates who write a master's thesis may petition to be excused from up to 10 units of the electives described above. The additional 35 units normally consist of the four required courses and three elective courses. These courses are chosen by the student and approved by the adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies.


Students interested in becoming middle school and high school teachers of English may apply for admission to the coterminal teaching program (CTP) of the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) in the School of Education. CTP students complete a special curriculum in English language, composition, and literature that combines a full English major with supplemental course work in subjects commonly taught in California public schools and a core program of foundational courses in educational theory and practice. They are then admitted to STEP for a fifth year of pedagogical study and practice teaching. Students who complete the curriculum requirements are able to enter STEP without the necessity of taking either the GRE or the usual subject matter assessment tests. At the end of five years, CTP students receive a B.A. in English, an M.A. in Education, and a California Secondary Teaching Credential. Students normally apply to the coterminal teaching program at the end of their sophomore year or at the beginning of their junior year. For complete program details and for information on how to apply, consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies in English or the CTP coordinator in the School of Education.

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