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Graduate Students

The Department of English offers a wide variety of graduate coursework in British and American literature, composition and rhetoric, creative writing, linguistics, pedagogy, literary theory, and film. We host or support three graduate programs: the M.A. in English, the M.A.T. in English Education, and a Composition & Literary Studies Graduate Certificate. On this page you will find details of the final projects and/or exams for the M.A. and the M.A.T. as well as upcoming courses in the English program.

English M.A. Program Tracks

The M.A. program offers two tracks in order to fit students’ goals and proclivities: one in which students complete a research-based project and one in which students complete the comprehensive exams.

Master’s Project

Students may choose to complete a Master’s Project, which is worth three hours of course credit. The Project usually takes the form of a research paper of approximately thirty pages, often on a topic initially developed in a graduate course. However, the Master’s Project may also involve a creative work (poems, short stories, or chapters of a novel, for example). In order to complete the degree requirements, the student makes a public presentation of the Project before an audience of students and faculty. The public presentation of the Master’s Project is an approved equivalent for the comprehensive examinations.


Comprehensive Examinations

The comprehensive examinations are written examinations, administered over a two-day period, in response to questions about texts that are taken from reading lists constructed according to the student’s areas of interest. Prior to the exam, students construct three reading lists, to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, according to the following criteria:

  • Genre: literary texts in one genre from at least three chronological periods;
  • Period: literary texts drawn from three periods of British and American literary history;
  • Criticism and theory: critical and theoretical essays and books that address the works on lists (1) and (2).

English M.A.T. Capstone Project

A capstone is a culminating academic and intellectual experience. The capstone is a project initiated by the candidate designed to build on the content and aims of the their program. The capstone can take various forms, including a portfolio, a teacher action research project, curriculum design, policy analysis, or a scholarly article/presentation. Capstones are designed to be developed during the program and be based on the content of the program as well as the candidate's particular professional experience. Ideally, capstones are developed around a topic that the candidate hopes to explore further and that matters to their work in the classroom. The details of the project will be developed by the candidate in conjunction with an EED adviser and introduced in the program’s gateway course: EED 600: Introduction to Graduate Studies: Issues, Trends, and Topics in English Education. There is no formal defense of the final project, and an advisory committee is not required.

Upcoming Graduate English Courses

For the most update information, please visit the live UNC schedule and latest graduate catalog.