IUPUI Bulletins » Schools » liberal-arts » Graduate » Degree Programs » English


Degree Programs

IUPUI’s graduate English program has been designed to prepare students for careers in the analysis and production of “texts.” To this end, the program covers issues and skills in reading and writing, in the richest sense of these words, to prepare students to address these issues and to teach these skills. Graduates of the program should be prepared for such careers as teaching writing and literature; teaching English as a second language; and writing for business, government, and other professions.

In contrast to traditional Master of Arts programs, which place heavy emphasis on literary history, the IUPUI Master of Arts in English focuses on the application of English studies to contemporary situations and problems.  Because of IUPUI’s urban, nonresidential setting, its English graduate program will strive, in its curriculum and scheduling, to meet the special needs of part-time, nonresidential students.

Student Learning Outcomes

In contrast to traditional M.A. programs, which place heavy emphasis on literary history, the IUPUI program focuses on the application of English studies to contemporary situations and problems. Students completing the English M.A. curriculum will be able to:

  • Identify and define fundamental concepts, terms, and theories in two areas of graduate-level English studies (writing, creative writing, literature, linguistics).
  • Critically read, write about, and evaluate issues in English Studies.
  • Demonstrate advanced skills in reading, writing, and evaluating issues in the discipline of English Studies.
  • Apply various critical perspectives to a wide range of texts, including historical, theoretical, and literary material.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the cultural diversity of language and literatures.
  • Plan and present coherent, persuasive, and original oral and written arguments.
  • Design and conduct independent research.
  • Produce through a reflective writing process manuscripts suitable for publication.

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Master of Arts in English

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale in the student’s undergraduate major, documented by an official transcript. Applicants are normally expected to have been English majors, but admission will be considered also for those who otherwise demonstrate the competency necessary for successful graduate work in English.
  2. Applicants must have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test; preference is given to those who have earned a score of 160 on the Verbal exam. Applicants seeking financial support are encouraged to take the examination by December of the year prior to admission.
  3. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation.
  4.  Applicants must submit a 500-750 word personal statement. 

Foreign Language Requirements

None, but M.A. students continuing on for the Ph.D. are encouraged to validate their reading proficiency in a foreign language according to University Graduate School standards.


M.A. students must maintain a 3.0 (B) grade point average.

Course Requirements

Students may select one of the two options outlined below after consulting with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in English and/or other faculty advisors in English. Students will then submit a brief written statement to the DGS that presents a rationale for their choice. As can be seen in the following outline of the two alternative courses of study, students who choose not to write a thesis will be required to take eight additional credit hours of course work, for a total of 40 credit hours.

Core Courses:

At the beginning of your graduate career, you will take two core courses that provide an introduction to major areas in the discipline of English:

  • Language: G500: Introduction to the English Language, 4 credits
  • Literature: L506: Introductory Methods of Criticism/Research, 4 credits
  • Writing: W509: Introduction to Writing and Literacy Studies, 4 credits

Thesis Option:

  • Required Courses: Students must take two of the program’s three core courses for a total of 8 credit hours.
  • Electives: Students choose six courses in consultation with a faculty advisor for a total of 24 credit hours.  These 24 hours may include a third core course and up to 8 credit hours of Internship.
  • Required: MA thesis. 4 credit hours. 
  • Total: 36 credit hours

Non-thesis Option:

  • Required Courses: Students must take two of the program’s three core courses for a total of 8 credit hours
  • Electives: Students choose eight courses in consultation with a faculty advisor for a total of 32 credit hours. These 32 credit hours may include a third core course and up to 8 credit hours of Internship.
  • Total: 40 credit hours

The three core courses, which carry 4 credit hours each, provide an introduction to three major areas in the discipline of English: language (ENG-G 500: Introduction to the English Language), writing (ENG-W 509: Introduction to Writing and Literacy Studies), and literature (ENG-L 506: Introduction to Methods of Criticism and Research).  All students are required to take two of the three core courses, preferably at the beginning of the graduate program.


  • ENG-G 500 Introduction to the English Language (4 cr.) An introduction to the English language:  its nature, structure, and development.
  • ENG-G 513 Academic Writing Graduate Students (3 cr.) Designed to meet the academic writing needs of ESL graduate students from multiple disciplines, this course focuses on a variety of academic writing styles and disciplinary approaches to producing research papers and professional documents. Students practice paraphrasing, summarizing, critiquing discipline-related articles, as well as writing research proposals and a comprehensive research paper.
  • ENG-G 520 Communication Skills for Graduate Students and Internationals (3 cr.) Designed for graduate students who are non-native speakers of English, this course provides instruction on oral communication skills, academic presentation skills and basic teaching strategies for the U.S. classroom. The primary focus is on oral language skills necessary to present academic materials in English to an American audience. Language skills, teaching skills, and knowledge about the U.S. classroom culture will be developed through discussions and classroom observations/simulations. Presentations, teaching practice and regular conferences will focus on individual needs.
  • ENG-G 541 Materials Preparation for ESL (4 cr.)
  • ENG-G 625 Discourse Analysis and Introduction to Research (4 cr.) This course introduces students to current approaches to text and discourse coherence, including recent theories of cognitive and interactional text modeling.
  • ENG-G 652 English Language Sociolinguistics (4 cr.) This course investigates sociocultural aspects of language use and explores the relationships between language and society. The course provides background in various theoretical and methodological approaches to sociolinguistics. Other topics to be covered include gender and language, ethnicity and language, social factors in language acquisition, and bilingualism. Familiarity with basic issues and concepts in linguistics would be useful.
  • ENG-L 501 Professional Scholarship in Literature (4 cr.) Instruction in the materials, tools, and methods of research. The course is especially designed to familiarize beginning graduate students with the research expectations associated with graduate study in literature.
  • ENG-L 503 Teaching of Lit in College (2-4 cr.) Classroom teaching of literature in the light of current approaches.
  • ENG-L 506 Introduction to Methods of Criticism and Research (4 cr.) The conditions and assumptions of studying English, with emphasis on criticism and research on a culturally and historically diverse range of texts.
  • ENG-L 508 Practicum on Teaching Literature in College (2-4 cr.) Topics include syllabus construction, lecture and discussion techniques, use and evaluation of written work. Offered in two formats: as a practicum in course and syllabus design for a future undergraduate course; or as a practicum for AIs running concurrently with the related undergraduate course. 
  • ENG-L 553 Studies in Literature (4 cr.) Emphasis on thematic, analytic, and generic study. With consent of instructor, may be repeated once for credit.
  • ENG-L 590 Internship in English (1-4 cr.) A supervised internship in the uses of language in the workplace. (For prospective teachers, the workplace may be a class.) Each intern will be assigned a problem or new task and will develop the methods for solving the problem or completing the task. Interns will complete a portfolio of workplace writing and self-evaluation; they will also be visited by a faculty coordinator and evaluated in writing by their on-site supervisors.
  • ENG-L 606 Topics in African American Literature (4 cr.) Focuses on a particular genre, time period, or theme of African American literature. Examples: twentieth-century African American women's novels, black male identity in literature, kinship in African American literature, and African American autobiography. May be repeated twice for credit with different focuses.
  • ENG-L 625 Readings in Shakespeare (4 cr.) Critical analysis of selected tragedies, comedies, history plays, and poetry.
  • ENG-L 635 Readings in American Ethnic Literature and Culture (4 cr.) In-depth or comparative study of African-American, Asian American, Latino/a, Chicano/a, Native American, and/or other American ethnic literature and culture.
  • ENG-L 641 English Literature 1790-1900 (4 cr.) The course will explore the nexus between English literature, history, and print culture from the late sixteenth- to the early seventeenth century, using as our starting point England's unexpected (yet, perhaps, divinely inspired!) victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 - the event that established England as a naval, military, and commercial power on par with continental Europe. From this triumphant moment, we will follow the nation through several succession crises, religious controversies, economic turmoil, struggles over theatrical and print censorship, and violently contested debates about the nature of Kingship itself, all of which led to a Civil War, the closing of the public theaters, the beheading of Charles I, and the eventual Restoration of the monarchy after an uncomfortable period of Parliamentarian and Protectorate rule.
  • ENG-L 643 Readings in Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures (4 cr.) Study of literature within the historical, cultural and political context of European colonialism and anti- or post-colonial resistance. Topics might include the role of literature in the formation of nations and national consciousness, literatures of particular nations, or postcolonial theory.
  • ENG-L 650 Studies in American Literature to 1900 (4 cr.) Intensive study of one writer, a group of writers, or a theme or form significant in the period.
  • ENG-L 657 Readings in Literature and Critical Thinking (4 cr.) Study of major movements, figures, or topics in literary and/or critical theory.
  • ENG-L 666 Survey of Children's Literature (3-4 cr.) A survey of literature written for children and adolescents from the medieval period to the present.
  • ENG-L 673 Studies in Women and Literature (4 cr.) Women's literary accomplishments and representations of women in English from the sixteenth century to the present.
  • ENG-L 680 Special Topics in Literary Study and Theory (4 cr.) Reading in sociological, political, psychological, and other approaches to literature.
  • ENG-L 695 Individual Readings in English (1-4 cr.) Enables students to work on a reading project that they initiate, plan, and complete under the direction of an English department faculty member. Credit hours depend on scope of project.
  • ENG-L 699 M.A. Thesis (4 cr.) A. Thesis.
  • ENG-W 500 Teaching Writing: Issues and Approaches (4 cr.) Consideration of fundamental issues in the teaching of writing and the major approaches to composition instruction. Specific topics include teaching invention and revision, diagnosing errors, teaching style and organization, making assignments, and evaluating student writing.
  • ENG-W 501 Practicum on Teaching of Composition (1-4 cr.) Practical teaching of composition; current theories and policies.
  • ENG-W 508 Creative Writing for Teachers (4 cr.) Offers current and future teachers insights into the creative writing process, teaches them to think as writers do, suggest strategies for critiquing creative work, and provide guidance in developing creative-writing curriculum. Emphasis on hands-on writing activities in three genres, adaptable for use with students at entry level.
  • ENG-W 509 Introduction to Writing and Literacy Studies (4 cr.) This is the core course in the writing and literacy track of the English master's program. Students will read, analyze, discuss, and write about key issues in writing and literacy, laying a foundation for further study. Special emphasis will be placed on research methods in this field.
  • ENG-W 510 Computers and Composition (4 cr.) Based in current theories about the process of writing, this course surveys the use of computer programs (such as word processing) as writing tools, computer-assisted instruction as teaching aids and computer programs as research aids to study writing.
  • ENG-W 511 Writing Fiction (4 cr.) A graduate-level fiction writing workshop. Seminar study of advanced techniques in the writing of fiction, both short stories and the novel. Workshop discussion of advanced student work in progress.
  • ENG-W 513 Writing Poetry (4 cr.) Poetry writing workshop on the study of prosody and form (including formal elements of free verse) in the context of writing by class members.
  • ENG-W 533 Science Writing (1 cr.) C: COMM-C 533; COMM-C 534. With an emphasis on shorter forms of writing, students discover voices, messages, and forms appropriate for bringing scientific expertise to non-science readers. They practice processes of response, revision, and editing to shape presentations for various readers, contexts, and paths of publication.
  • ENG-W 535 Advanced Science Writing (1 cr.) Each student identifies a complex project that includes long-forms and/or multi-genres of writing to deliver scientific expertise to non-science readers in a specific community or context. Collaborating through peer-critique and role-playing relevant readerships, students adjust their messages and modes of delivery.
  • ENG-W 590 Teaching Writing: Theories and Applications (4 cr.) Drawing on current scholarship and relevant statements from the rhetorical tradition, this course examines theoretical assumptions in the design of classroom practices.
  • ENG-W 597 Writing Center: Theory and Practice (4 cr.) Writing Center Theory & Practice is designed to examine the techniques of consulting with writers, as well as the various theories that guide and inform consulting. The course will focus on the practical components of writing center work and how writing center and composition theories can be applied to a variety of settings, including but not limited to college, middle school, high school, professional, and other community settings. In particular, this course will train students to consult with writers in the IUPUI University Writing Center. Specific topics will include writing process, collaborative learning, approaches to consulting, consultant roles, consulting strategies for multiple populations of students (including but not limited to multilingual writers, first-generation students, returning students), cultural divides in writing centers, the use of technology and multimodal composing in writing centers, online consulting, assessment and research in writing centers, and composition and learning theories that influence writing center work and resource development.
  • ENG-W 600 Topics in Rhetoric and Composition (4 cr.) Covers selected issues in current composition and rhetorical theory
  • ENG-W 605 Writing Project Summer Institute (3-6 cr.) By application and invitation only.  For teachers from K-university, who together consider major issues involved in the teaching of writing and explore the pedagogical approaches inherent in these issues.  The institute explores current theories of writing and their application in the classroom.  Preference given to active classroom teachers.
  • ENG-W 609 Directed Writing Projects (1-4 cr.) Individual creative or critical writing projects negotiated with the professor who agrees to offer tutorial assistance. Credit hours will vary according to the scope of the project.
  • ENG-W 615 Graduate Creative Nonfiction Writing (4 cr.) Writing workshop in such modes as personal essay, autobiography, and documentary.
  • ENG-W 697 Independent Study in Writing 1 (3 cr.)
  • ENG-Z 520 Second-Language Development (3 cr.) Introduction to linguistic, psychological, cognitive, social, and sociocultural approaches to second language development. Explores relationship between second language development and such topics as age, gender, motivation, cognition, and cross-linguistic and sociological influences.
  • ENG-Z 523 TESOL Methods (3 cr.) This course is designed to help teachers understand, recognize and address the language acquisition challenges of non-native English speakers, both in the U.S. and abroad. The course stresses the development and use of practical techniques and materials to teach ESL based on second-language acquisition principles.
  • ENG-Z 536 Pedagogical Grammar (3 cr.) The focus of this course is on understanding the functions that grammar fulfills in oral and written communication, analyzing those aspects of grammar most problematic for English language learners, and exploring approaches to helping learners understand and use those structures in meaningful communicative contexts. The course combines theoretical discussion about various aspects of grammar with consideration of how to prepare effective lessons for teaching grammar to learners of different ages, proficiency levels and needs.
  • ENG-Z 545 TESOL Practicum (3 cr.) P: ENG-Z 520 and ENG-Z 523. Students will be placed with a supervising teacher in a class for adult learners of English as a second language. Students will observe and assist the teacher, and then have the opportunity to create, teach and assess lessons. 
  • ENG-Z 541 English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and Materials Development (3 cr.) P: ENG-Z 523 or instructor's permission. English for Specific Purposes (ESP) focuses on the analysis and teaching of English, including the development of appropriate materials, that meet specific language needs of non-native speakers in specific contexts for specific purposes. This course explores and applies the theoretical principles for identifying the needs, developing curricula and preparing teaching materials for ESP contexts.
  • ENG-Z 570 Second Language Writing (3 cr.) This course explores theories and practices in the teaching and evaluation of second language writing (SLW) as well as connections between first and second language writing, literacy, and culture. Students learn how to identify writing needs, design tasks, and assess writing, and form a philosophy of teaching SLW.
  • ENG-Z 575 Second Language Learning and Technology (3 cr.) Explores the theory, use, and issues of using technology in second language instruction, focusing specifically on the acquisition of intercultural competence, culture, and pragmatics.
  • ENG-Z 598 TESOL Internship (3 cr.) P: Completion of ENG-Z 520 and ENG-Z 523, or instructor's approval, and placement by TESOL Program into an approved internship site. The TESOL Internship is designed to provide students with a supervised internship experience in a professional ESL or EFL context. Interns will gain practical, hands-on experience in TESOL, including teaching, research, and/or program administration.
  • ENG-Z 600 Seminar in TESOL (3 cr.) Topics in this course will vary, but will focus on current issues in TESOL and applied linguistics. May be taken more than once with different topics. Up to 9 credit hours.
  • ENG-Z 690 Advanced Readings in TESOL (1-4 cr.) P: Approval of Instructor. Directed reading on a focused topic in TESOL and applied linguistics that students initiate, plan, and complete under the direction of an English department faculty member. Credit hours depend on scope of project. May be repeated for up to 6 credit hours.
  • ENG-Z 699 MA Thesis - TESOL (3 cr.) P: Approval of instructor. MA thesis on an issue in TESOL/applied linguistics.