Graduate Courses

Graduate students studying English at William Carey University may choose to pursue either a Master of Education or a Master of Arts in English.  Each program is tailored to specific student needs and career goals.

Master of Education (MEd)

The English Department of William Carey University, in keeping with the goals statement as put forth by the Master of Education program, seeks to provide students with

  • academic credentials that may allow them to advance in the chosen field of employment
  • opportunities to specialize in the chosen field of English
  • opportunities to build upon their undergraduate studies and work experience
  • opportunities to become strong professional leaders within the English discipline

Ordinarily, the M.Ed. candidate who wishes to specialize in English will be an undergraduate English major or minor. In general, the M.Ed./English candidates should have a mastery of rhetoric, composition, literature, and pedagogy. Candidates who do not have an undergraduate major/minor in English will have their undergraduate transcript evaluated so that academic deficiencies in English may be addressed before beginning the graduate program in English. These deficiencies may require the candidate to enroll in additional undergraduate classes; these classes, however, may be taken for pass/fail credit.

Each M.Ed./English candidate will be assigned an academic advisor who will both guide the candidate in course selection and track the candidate's academic success.

Graduate English classes are typically offered on a rotation schedule as indicated at the end of each course description.

Master of Arts in English (MA)

Program overview

The Department of Language and Literature provides a strong academic curriculum and excellent instruction enriched with Christian values for students of all backgrounds to achieve their highest potential in scholarship. The Master of Arts (M.A.) in English extends the undergraduate curriculum and offers expanded study in language, literature, composition theory and practice, literary theory and criticism, literary history, cultural studies, and readings in diverse texts. Students in the program are expected to write with a high degree of accuracy, effectiveness, and fluency. The program will give emphasis to bibliographical study and research techniques at an advanced level. Students will be given the opportunity to read critically and appreciatively in the best of the world’s literatures.

Master’s level study in English, including required competence in a foreign language, prepares students for a variety of possible careers, including doctoral level study/research and college level teaching. In addition to graduate study and community college teaching, graduate study in English can lead to careers in publishing, professional writing, library work, and government service, as well as study and work in law and the ministry. Students may choose between thesis and non-thesis options in the planned curriculum, depending on interest in research, focus, and possibilities for further study.

Admission requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements for all graduate programs at William Carey University, admission to the M.A. in English is based upon the following criteria:

  1. At least 15 hours of undergraduate English courses with a 3.0 GPA in these courses, not including courses in the core curriculum;
  2. A combined score of 850 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE. Students may be admitted on a discretionary basis if GRE score is above 800 and they have at least a 3.5 undergraduate GPA.
  3. Critical writing sample (10-15 page paper in MLA format) and three letters of recommendation.
  4. Have 12 semester hours or intermediate level proficiency in one modern foreign language or agree to meet those requirements during the course of study for the M.A.


A minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work in English is required for the M.A. degree. The proposed degree would offer thesis (24 hours of course work plus 6 hours of thesis) and non-thesis (30 hours of course work) options, giving students increased flexibility and research opportunities. A new required course for all students in the M.A. program would focus on bibliography and research methods with special attention to reference tools and practical application. In the planned course, bibliographic inquiry, textual questions, data retrieval, and study in literary theory would be included. The course would serve as an introduction to the program and to graduate study in English. A second required course for all students would include study in the history of the English language. Other courses may be selected from the graduate course list which will be generally be offered on a two-year rotation schedule. In the last trimester of enrollment, candidates for the M.A. in English who elect the non-thesis option must take written comprehensive examinations based on course work; students who elect the thesis option must take an oral exam which will include a defense of the thesis.


A minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work in either the thesis option (24 hours of course work plus 6 hours of thesis) or the non-thesis option (30 hours of course work) is required.

  1. Six required semester hours for all M.A. students must be ENG 601 (bibliography and research) and ENG 516 (history of the English language);
  2. For non-thesis option, 24 semester hours of graduate electives in English chosen in consultation with advisor;
  3. For students electing the thesis option, 18 hours of graduate electives in English, chosen in consultation with advisor, and six hours of thesis, ENG 698 and ENG 699.
  4. In the last trimester of enrollment, candidates for the M.A. in English must take either a written comprehensive examination based on course work (non-thesis option) or an oral exam to include defense of the thesis (thesis option). If judged unsatisfactory, all or part of the written/oral examination may be retaken once in the following trimester or summer term.
  5. Students are reminded that no more than nine hours of the course work to be applied toward the degree can be at the 500 level. A 400 level course taken for undergraduate credit at Carey cannot be changed to graduate credit nor repeated for graduate credit on the 500 level. Students must maintain a B or 3.0 GPA to continue in the program, and graduate work must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. Students making a third grade of C or lower may not repeat any other courses and will be dismissed from the program.
  6. After nine hours are completed in the program, students will be required to complete a progress report with an advisor and complete a signed program of study for the degree.
  7. The foreign language requirement may be satisfied with 12 semester hours of undergraduate course work in one modern foreign language (or the equivalent of the intermediate level). An alternative option is the submission of an acceptable score demonstrating intermediate level proficiency on the CLEP in French, German or Spanish. If the student does not pass the CLEP in two attempts, a locally-administered test may be arranged. If the student does not pass the local exam, the foreign language requirement must be met by passing the intermediate level courses.

Course Descriptions

503 Advanced Grammar and Linguistics. Three hours. A study of the grammatical aspects of language—morphology syntax, semantics, phonetics, and phonology; the social aspects of language; and the biological aspects of language. 

504 Survey of Drama. Three hours. Critical and historical study of major plays from the classical Greek period through the 18th century.

506 The Pre-Renaissance Age. Three hours. The literature of the Middle Ages through the early English lyricists. 

507 Psychology and literature. Three hours. Study of selected literary texts in relation to issues and problems in psychology, including the use of psychology in literary theory and approaches to reading.

509 Pedagogical Grammar. Three hours. An examination of the philosophy of teaching grammar, a thorough review of traditional grammar, and a focus on eliminating the stylistic faults that most often impede reading and obscure meaning. 

511 The Age of Elizabethan/Jacobean Drama. Three hours. A survey of representative plays. 

515 History of the English Language. Three hours. A study of the history and development of the English language from its Indo- European ancestry to the twentieth century. 

524 The Novel. Three hours. A study of representative European and/or American novels selected from various literary, historic, or thematic types with an emphasis on various critical approaches. 

534 The Renaissance Age. Three hours. A critical study of non-epic and non-dramatic works of Milton and other seventeenth century writers. 

540 The Age of Enlightenment. Three hours. A study of British prose and poetry of the eighteenth century. 

550 The Romantic Age. Three hours. A study in the British prose and poetry of the early nineteenth century. 

560 The Victorian Age. Three hours. A study in the British prose and poetry of the middle and later nineteenth century. 

565 Development of the Short Story. Three hours. A study of selected short fiction as representative of the development of the genre. 

572 Contemporary Literature. Three hours. Poetry, fiction, and selected drama of the Western world from the late nineteenth century to the present. 

575 Modern and Contemporary Drama. Three hours. A study of Western dramatic literature from Ibsen to contemporary dramatists.

580 Studies in American Literature I. Three hours. Readings in works of American literature from its beginnings to 1865. 

581 Studies in American Literature II. Three hours. Readings in works of American literature from 1865 to the present. 

600 Creative Writing. Three hours. A study of artistic techniques in selected masterpieces of short fiction, drama, poetry, and the essay. During the course students will submit several original works following the review of each literary genre. 

601 Bibliography and research. Three hours. Required introduction to graduate study for all beginning students in M.A. program offering an introduction to current issues in the discipline and advanced instruction in research.

603 Seminar in American Literature, I. Three hours. A study of literature from the colonial, early national, and romantic periods. (even summer) 

604 Seminar in American Literature, II. Three hours. A study of literature from the realist to the post-modernist periods.
611 Seminar in World Literature to 1650. Three hours. A study of selected world masterpieces with emphasis on nonwestern authors and comparative literary analysis. 

612 Seminar in World Literature from 1650 to the present. Three hours. A study of selected world masterpieces with emphasis on nonwestern authors and comparative literary analysis. 

614 Seminar in Theories and Methods of Teaching Grammar. Three hours. A study of the competing theories of teaching grammar and application to the classroom. 

615 Seminar in Theories and Methods of Teaching Literature. Three hours. A study of literary theory and application to the classroom. 

616 Seminar in Theories and Methods of Teaching Composition. Three hours. A study of composition theories and application to the classroom. 

620 Seminar in Fiction. Three hours. An examination of major fictional works beginning with Don Quixote. 

622 Seminar in Poetry. Three hours. A study of the major developments in poetry. 

626 Seminar in Shakespearean Drama. Three hours. An in-depth study of selected Shakespearean plays. 

627 Seminar in Contemporary Drama. Three hours. A study of major dramatic works. 

630 Seminar in Literary Criticism. Three hours. Presents a broad overview both of the the schools of literary critical thought and of the major documents of literary theory. 

635 Seminar in Religion and Literature. Three hours. Establishes a working definition of religion and the religious experience that will be used to evaluate various works by western authors. 

640 Seminar in Mythology. Three hours. An overview of the basic elements of mythology followed by a brief survey of major world mythologies. 

655 Seminar in American Southern Literature. Three hours. Selected essays, fiction, folk tales, plays, and poetry by representative Southern authors, past, and present.

656 Seminar in Mississippi Writers. Three hours. A study of writers associated with Mississippi, focusing on modern and contemporary writers and texts.

657 Seminar in African-American Writers. Three hours. A study of selected writing by African Americans, ranging from early texts to contemporary.

698 Thesis I. Three hours. Includes preparation of proposal for graduate thesis and satisfactory progress in research as determined by advisor.

699 Thesis II. Three hours. Completion of thesis and oral defense as determined by thesis committee.