The Department of English offers master’s and doctoral degrees in several areas of specialization: Literature and Cultural Theory; Rhetoric and Composition; Creative Writing; Professional and Technical Writing; and Media, Cinema, and Digital Studies. Students apply for admission to a specific area or concentration, but are encouraged to take classes in others. 

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Admission

An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  1. Undergraduate major in English or related field, with appropriate background for proposed concentration of study: Plan A, broad background in English and American literature; Plan B, literature, linguistics, and/or composition; Plan C, literature and creative writing; Plan G, professional writing; Plan H, background in media studies, film studies, or digital and/or popular culture.
  2. Undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  3. Three letters of recommendation to the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies from persons familiar with applicant’s academic ability and achievement.
  4. A sample of academic writing.
  5. For Plan C admission, an applicant must also submit samples of original fiction or poetry.

For more specific information about departmental requirements for admission and instructions for submitting, letters of recommendation, please visit the English Department’s Graduate Admissions Web page.

Credits and Courses

Students admitted to the master’s program earn the degree by completing a minimum of 30 credits of graduate coursework in English, writing a final project, and passing an oral examination at the conclusion of their coursework.

Although students must enroll initially in one of the five plans of study described below, students who demonstrate a capacity for doctoral work, and wish to earn a PhD at UWM, are advised to proceed as rapidly as possible to the PhD program. Ordinarily students are not allowed to proceed beyond 30 credits without having been admitted to the doctoral program. No more than 27 credits earned at the master’s level may be included in the 54 credits required for the PhD.

Plan A (Literature and Cultural Theory)

A minimum of 30 credits, including:

ENGLISH 703Introduction to Graduate Studies in Literature (must be taken in first semester)1
ENGLISH 720Modern Literary Theory3
Select 9 credits in literature courses (at least 3 credits pre-1800)9
Select 3 credits in 800-level seminar in literature or cultural theory3
Select 6 credits in cultural theory6
Select 8 credits of electives 18
Total Credits30

Additional Requirements

  • A final project, which shall be a paper of at least 30 pages which grows out of and significantly expands some aspect of the student’s literary studies.
  • An oral examination, usually lasting an hour and a half, which covers the final project and a separate 30-book reading list.
  • All credits must be 600-level or above, with no more than 6 credits at the 600 level. (ENGLISH 701 must be counted as an elective.)

Plan B (Rhetoric and Professional Writing)

A minimum of 30 credits, including:

A minimum of 3 credits of ENGLISH 705 is required. 13
Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement Colloquium
ENGLISH 712Theories in Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement3
ENGLISH 713Research Methods in Rhetorics, Literacies, and Community Engagement3
ENGLISH 750History of Rhetoric and Writing Studies3
Select 18 credits of electives 218
Writing for Nonprofits
Topics in Advanced Communications:
The Rhetoric of Argument
Information Design
Grant Writing
Technical Editing
Seminar in Rhetoric and Professional Writing:
Writing Pedagogies
Topics in Public and Professional Writing:
Advanced Internship in Writing and Community Engagement
Issues in Writing Research
Master's Project 3
Seminar in College Writing Pedagogy:
Seminar in Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement:
Total Credits30

Additional Requirements

  • A final project, which shall be a research paper appropriate to the student’s professional goals.
  • An oral examination, usually lasting an hour and a half, which covers the final project and a reading list of at least 30 texts not listed in the project bibliography or works cited list.
  • One course is strongly recommended in each of the following areas: Computers and Pedagogy (English at the 700 level); Research Methods

Note: Students who plan to apply to the PhD program are advised to select 6 credits in literature or language courses as part of their electives.

Plan C (Creative Writing)

A minimum of 30 credits, including:

Select 6 credits in 600- or 700-level literature courses (at least 3 credits at the 700 level)6
Select one of the following:6
Narrative Craft and Theory:
and Seminar in Fiction Writing:
Poetic Craft and Theory:
and Seminar in Poetry Writing:
Select 6 credits in writing courses at the 600 or 700 level6
Select 12 credits of electives 112
Total Credits30

Additional Requirements

  • No more than 12 credits may be earned in 600-level courses.
  • A final project, which shall be a collection of fiction and/or poetry, a novel, or other substantial work of imaginative writing.
  • An oral examination, usually lasting an hour and a half, which covers the final project and a reading list of at least 30 texts representative of the student’s literary background and interests.

Plan G (Professional Writing)

A minimum of 30 credits, selected in consultation with the student’s advisor, including:

Core
A minimum of 3 credits of ENGLISH 705 is required. 13
Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement Colloquium
ENGLISH 712Theories in Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement3
800-Level Seminar in Professional Writing 2
ENGLISH 855Seminar in Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement: (recommended)3
700-Level Professional Writing Practice or Pedagogy 3
Select 12 credits of the following which are especially recommended: 412
Topics in Advanced Communications: (Subtitle)
Creative Nonfiction for Publication
Editing and Publishing
Information Design
Grant Writing
Technical Editing
Writing Pedagogies
Seminar in Professional Writing Theory and Pedagogy
Writing for Business Management
Advanced Professional Writing
Rhetoric, Writing, and Information Technology
Advanced Project Management for Professional Writers
Topics in Public and Professional Writing: (Subtitle)
Internship or Elective
Select an Internship or 700-level elective in Professional Writing that could lead to a final project 53
Additional Requirements
Select 6 credits in consultation with the student’s advisor6
Total Credits30

Note: Students who elect to complete a workplace project should expect to prepare a 30-page report justifying the project development and decisions in relationship to the relevant scholarly literature and/or in terms of empirical methods or studies conducted by the student.

Plan H (Media, Cinema, and Digital Studies)

ENGLISH 742Media Culture3
Select 9 credits in 700-level seminars in digital studies (theory, criticism, or writing) film and/or media9
Select two of the following:6
Rhetoric, Writing, and Information Technology
Theories in Public Rhetorics and Community Engagement
Narrative Craft and Theory: (Subtitle)
Modern Literary Theory
Approaches to the Modern I
Approaches to the Modern II
Discourse Analysis
Women Writers:
Native American Literature:
African American Literature:
Seminar in Theories of Composition and Rhetoric:
Seminar in Critical Writing
Seminar in Contemporary Literature:
Seminar in Comparative Literature:
Seminar in African American Literature:
Seminar in Women Writers:
Seminar in Modern Literature:
Seminar in Feminist Critical Theory:
Seminar in Critical Theory:
Select 12 credits of electives in courses numbered 700 and above 112
Total Credits30

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a Major Professor to advise and supervise the student’s work as specified in Graduate School regulations. The coordinator of the student’s concentration serves as an initial advisor.

Final Project

A research paper or other project appropriate to the student’s professional goals.

Oral Examination

Usually lasting an hour and a half, the oral exam covers the final project and a reading list of at least 30 texts not listed in the project bibliography or works cited list.

Regulations Concerning Final Projects and Oral Examinations

  1. Students should consult with their advisors before completing 24 credits to determine a final project. Ordinarily, it is a revised and expanded course or seminar paper of at least 30 pages. The project should demonstrate the student’s skills in research, critical analysis, argumentation, and prose style. For students in Plan C (Creative Writing), the project is a substantial portfolio, the exact character of which is determined in consultation with the student’s MA Committee. The project serves both as a concluding effort at the master’s level and also as an indication of a student’s potential for doctoral study.
  2. In consultation with the student, the Director of Graduate Studies appoints an MA Examining Committee. At least two of the three members must be English Graduate Faculty. The MA Examining Committee administers the final Oral Examination, covering the project and a separate reading list of at least 30 texts, to be selected by the student and approved by the Committee.
  3. The project must be submitted and the oral examination completed within one year after the completion of 24 credits. Students should remember that a maximum of 27 credits at the master’s level is applicable to the PhD 54 credit requirement.
  4. The Examining Committee offers a recommendation regarding the student’s qualifications for further graduate study at the doctoral level. The Committee Chair puts this recommendation in writing and places it in the student’s academic file.
  5. Students who fail the oral examination may be required to revise their final project, retake the examination, or both. The oral examination may be retaken only once. No additional credits may be earned for the revision of the project after a failed examination. For further information regarding the MA project and examination, see the English Graduate Program Handbook.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.