2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Department of Language, Literature, and Writing

Chairperson:  Michael Hobbs

Graduate Faculty:  Ashley Davis Black, Richard Black, Wayne Chandler, Eric Dickey, John Gallaher, Robin Gallaher, Joseph Haughey, Michael Hobbs, Trevor Meyer, Ildiko Olasz, Jose Palacios Perez, Luke Rolfes, Jenny Rytting, Richard Sonnenmoser

Department Telephone:  (660) 562-1265

Program Description and Mission

The M.A. in English and M.S.Ed. in English programs are designed to reflect the breadth and depth of the field. Most classes are designated by broad umbrella topics with specific changes in content each semester, so that the classes may be retaken. The flexible content of the classes offers students both the variety of texts and topics and the intensity of concentration that are appropriate to advanced students. It also allows the flexibility to incorporate current theories and trends into the curriculum.

The 500-level literature courses are designated by the traditional geographical, historical and genre boundaries. These courses require that students become proficient at reading, writing and researching literary texts from a variety of times and places. The Advanced Creative Writing umbrella course is offered with changing emphasis and genre.

The 600-level seminar classes are organized conceptually rather than by historical or geographic boundaries, requiring advanced students to focus on issues of genre, on particular literary themes or theories, or on the close study of specific figures and groups. These provide concentrated study at the Master’s level and good preparation for more advanced study, if students choose to pursue it.

In addition to literary study and creative writing, the department offers courses that focus on language theory and/or writing pedagogy. Pedagogy classes offer both theoretical study and guided practical experience in teaching college composition.

Portfolio Assessment/Thesis Option

Early in the penultimate semester of the English M.A. or M.S.Ed. program, the student will select a group of three faculty members to serve as an advisory and assessment committee for the portfolio, designating one of them to serve as chair. A student wishing to pursue the thesis option in lieu of a portfolio must present a prospectus of the proposed thesis and an accompanying reading list, which must be approved by the graduate advisor, the department chairperson, and the chosen advisory and assessment committee. If the thesis proposal is not approved, the student will instead complete the standard portfolio.  During or before the final semester, the degree candidate will submit the portfolio or thesis to the committee for approval. Once the portfolio or thesis is approved, the committee chair will schedule a date for an oral defense. A failing portfolio or thesis may be revised and resubmitted one time only.


Program Admission Requirements

Admission requirements are:

  1. Compliance with all of the eligibility requirements as set forth in this catalog.
  2. Completion of a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  3. Submission of a writing sample of 8-15 double-spaced pages (which may have been written for an upper-level undergraduate course) and a statement of intent of approximately 500 words.
  4. Acceptance to graduate study by the department graduate committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements but whose writing sample and statement of intent demonstrate readiness for graduate work may be accepted on the condition that they maintain a 3.00 GPA for the first nine hours of graduate study.


Applicants who do not major or minor in English as undergraduates will be required to enroll in at least one of four undergraduate surveys of English or American literature and to pass the class with a minimum grade of “C”.