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(585) 395-2503

Chairperson and Professor: Janie Hinds, PhD, University of Tulsa; Professors: Robert J. Gemmett, PhD, Syracuse University; Dean of International Programs and Associate Professor: John J. Perry, PhD, University of Pennsylvania; Graduate Coordinator and Associate Professor: Miriam E. Burstein, PhD, University of Chicago; Associate Professors: T. Gregory Garvey, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; J. Roger Kurtz, PhD, University of Iowa; Assistant Professors: Sharon Allen, PhD, Princeton University; Ralph W. Black, PhD, New York University; Stephen Fellner, PhD, University of Utah; Jennifer Haytock, PhD, University of North Carolina; Stefan Jurasinski, PhD, Indiana University; Megan Norcia, PhD, University of Florida; Joseph Ortiz, PhD, Princeton University; Lecturers: Jeanne Grinnan, MEd, SUNY Brockport; Louis Hillman, PhD, University of Rochester; Teresa Lehr, MA, SUNY Brockport; Sidney Rosenzwig, PhD, University of Rochester.

Applicants for matriculation in the Master of Arts in English program must submit a completed application that includes the following as part of the self-managed packet:

  1. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and prior graduate work; and
  2. Three letters of recommendation from persons in a position to assess the potential for significant academic achievement.
  3. Applicants for the Creative Writing track must submit a sample of their poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction of no more than 20 pages in length. Applicants for the Literature track must submit a nonfiction writing sample of no more than eight-10 pages in length.

Normally, an undergraduate major in English with a 3.0 "B" grade point average is required. The Graduate Record Examination is not required but is strongly recommended, especially from applicants with nontraditional preparation. For further information, contact Miriam Burstein, the Graduate Coordinator, at (585) 395-5827 or e-mail

Upon acceptance into the Master of Arts in English, each student is appointed an advisor from the faculty of the department. Before this appointment, the graduate coordinator counsels students informally and provides materials relating to the degree.

Financial Aid
For accepted students exhibiting superior promise, the department has a limited number of assistantships available that provide a stipend and a tuition waiver of up to nine credits per semester. They are awarded on a competitive basis with an April 1 application deadline. Further information on assistantships may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Studies, (585)395-2525.

General Degree Requirements
Students choose one of two tracks for the Master of Arts in English: Literature or Creative Writing. The Rhetoric and Composition track is currently suspended for review.

Each is a 36-credit program with distribution of some literature courses.

The following standards govern the awarding of degrees:

  1. Minimum graduate credits: A minimum grade point average of 3.0, and at least 15 credits must be at the 600 level. A maximum of 12 credits may be earned at other colleges and universities with the approval of the department. Four quarter-hours transfer as three credits. No course may be transferred in which a grade of less than "B" was received. Degree requirements must be completed within five years of the date of matriculation in the degree program.
  2. Thesis: All candidates must submit an individual thesis project demonstrating mastery of an important segment of their preparation. The thesis must be approved by a board of readers appointed by the Graduate Committee of the department. The thesis proposal must be approved in advance by the thesis director and two other members of the department. The thesis must be written under the guidance of a thesis director and be recommended to the Graduate Committee. From one to six credits may be granted for thesis research and writing. The thesis should be submitted at least four weeks before commencement to the Graduate Coordinator for departmental approval.

Specific Requirements

Number Literature Track Credits Credits
The following courses are required:
ENL 601 Bibliography and Methods of Research 3
One course in grammar, linguistics, sociolinguistics, history of language, or English literature before 1500.* 3
Course in British literature before 1800 3
Course in British literature after 1800 3
Course in American Literature before 1870 3
Course in American Literature after 1870 3
ENL 698 Thesis 1-6

The remaining credits in a candidate's Plan of Study are electives in the Department of English and/or other appropriate departments according to advisement. Up to six credits may be taken outside the Department of English with approval of the department.

Number Course Credits
Creative Writing Track
The following courses are required:
ENL 572 Critical Approaches to Literature 3
ENL 601 Bibliography and Methods of Research (Note: ENL 502 Poetry: Theory and Practice may be substituted for the above with permission of the department.) 3
One course in linguistics, sociolinguistics, grammar, or English literature before 1500* 3
Creative Writing Workshops 9-12
Course in British literature before 1800 3
Course in American literature before 1870 3
Thesis (creative) 1-6
Literature electives 9

Number Class Credits
Rhetoric/Composition Track (currently suspended)
The following courses are required:
ENL 601 Bibliography and Methods of Research 3
ENL 603 History and Theory of Rhetoric and Composition 3
ENL 605 Teaching College Composition (Prerequisite to ENL 606) 3
ENL 606 College Composition Practicum 3
Two courses in linguistics, sociolinguistics, history of language, grammar or English literature before 1500* 6
Course in British literature before 1800 3
Course in American literature to 1870 3
Electives 6-12
Thesis 1-6

*An MA candidate may not use a single English Literature before 1500 course to satisfy more than one requirement.

Normally, students with a GPA below 3.0 will not be permitted to register for ENL 698 Thesis.

Many course offerings in the Department of English also may be applied to the area of liberal arts and sciences requirement in the MS in Education programs, or may be used as electives in those and other programs as determined through the advisement process.

Students may take graduate courses in English without being matriculated. A maximum of nine credits of such courses may, if appropriate, be applied later toward the MA in English.

English Courses

ENL 502 Poetry: Theory and Practice (A). Explores issues in contemporary poetic theory, study of selected poets, close readings of texts. Intended for creative writers and serious readers. 1-3 Cr.

ENL 503 The Writer's Craft (A). Requires students to meet with the directors of the Writers Forum and guest artists and critics to discuss contemporary literature and the creative process. Contact the department for the names of guests to appear in the semester and for other details. May be repeated once for credit. 1-3 Cr. Every Semester

ENL 505 Creative Writing for Teachers (A). Explores how to stimulate writing and creative response to literature. Examines contemporary literature for models and requires students to develop writing exercises and to produce and discuss individual work. Reviews and analyzes current material on the teaching of creative writing. 3 Cr.

ENL 511 Chaucer and His Contemporaries (A). Examines a variety of works by Chaucer. Emphasizes The Canterbury Tales. 3 Cr.

ENL 512 Medieval British Literature (A). Studies medieval British literature in its principal forms; lyric, drama, allegory and romance; its antecedents in Old English literature; its influence on 15th-century writers; its connections to European and Middle Eastern literatures. 3 Cr.

ENL 516 The British Renaissance (A). Studies selected poetry, fiction, criticism, drama and philosophy by British writers from More to Milton. 3 Cr.

ENL 517 The Age of Dryden, Pope, and Johnson (A). Requires students to read selected works from British literature written between 1660 and 1800, including samples from Dryden, Congreve, Pope, Swift, Defoe and Johnson, and to describe some of the ways these writers resolve the tensions created by the competing demands of reason, tradition and the imagination during this period. 3 Cr.

ENL 518 Significant Themes in British Literature (A). Studies the relation of British literature to Empire-building and Imperialism, with special focus on texts relating to the "high imperialism" of the late-19th century. 3 Cr.

ENL 519 English Romantic Writers (A). Covers major authors of the Romantic period (from Blake through Keats); examines significant figures in Romantic literature (such as Byronic heroes and Wordsworth's wanderers); and assesses Romanticism as a cultural phenomenon. 3 Cr.

ENL 520 Victorians and Others (A). Examines contributions of the era, such as the writing of Tennyson, Browning, Dickens and others from 1832 to World War I, to the development of British literary thought and artistry. 3 Cr.

ENL 521 Seminar in British Writers (A). Studies significant authors treated singly or in coherent combinations. Content varies with appropriate subtitles provided for the individual course. May be repeated for credit with significant change in focus. 3 Cr.

ENL 524 Modern British Literature (A). Studies major British dramatists, poets and novelists of the early 20th century. Usually includes Shaw, Woolf, Lawrence and Auden. 3 Cr.

ENL 525 Contemporary British Literature (A). Studies major British writers in the later 20th and 21st centuries. Usually includes Amis, Osborne, Lessing, Pinter, Golding, Shaffer and Ishiguro. 3 Cr.

ENL 526 Irish Writers (A). Covers major contributions of Anglo-Irish authors to literature in English, including selected works of Beckett, Joyce, Shaw, Synge and Yeats. 3 Cr.

ENL 527 Women in the Novel (A). Examines in depth select novels, and on occasion novels from other countries, to consider their thematic forms and functions, their literary significance, and especially what they reveal about the roles of women and attitudes toward patriarchy. 3 Cr.

ENL 529 Roots of American Literature (A). Entails an intensive study of texts dealing with America between European contact and 1800. May include European fantasy writing, exploration and captivity narratives, Puritanism, texts of the American Revolution, and the origins of the American novel. Representative authors may be John Smith, Bradstreet, Rowlandson, Occum, Winthrop, Franklin, Otis Warren and Brockden Brown. 3 Cr.

ENL 530 American Literature: The Romantic Era (A). Entails an intensive study of the blossoming of American literature in the decades prior to the Civil War. Studies the growth of individualism and its impact on various groups of people by studying Transcendentalism, slave narratives and women's novels. Features major authors such as Cooper, Dickinson, Melville and Stowe. 3 Cr.

ENL 531 Transcendental Movement (A). Entails an intensive study of the influential Transcendentalist cultural and intellectual movement and its theories of aesthetics, spirituality, politics and culture. May include readings from Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Parker, Very, as well as important peripheral figures who were influenced by the movement such as Noyes, Garrison, Dickinson and Whitman. 3 Cr.

ENL 532 American Realism (A). Examines American realism which, with its emphasis on the representation of everyday events and lives, chronicles the social fabric of late 19th- and early 20th-century America by tackling issues such as industrialization, race relations, women's rights, immigration and class struggle. May include James, Chesnutt, Harper, Far, Dreiser, DuBois and Perkins Gilman. 3 Cr.

ENL 533 The Jazz Age to World War II (A). Study of selected American novelists and poets who deal with the cultural explosion of the period. May include Anderson, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Lewis, Eliot, Frost and others. 3 Cr.

ENL 534 American Literature of the Cold War Era (A). Examines the major literary movements in post-World War II America, paying special attention to the relationship between political, economic and cultural changes both inside and outside the United States, and American writing. May include Hersey, Okada, Friedan, Sontag, Mailer and Ginsberg. 3 Cr.

ENL 535 Modern American Poetry (A). An investigation into the formative period 1910 - 1945 of 20th-century American verse, emphasizing significant figures from Robinson, Lowell and Frost to Cummings, Stein and Eliot. 3 Cr.

ENL 536 Postmodern American Poetry (A). Investigates American verse written after the mid-20th century, emphasizing figures such as Berryman and Lowell as well as their contemporaries Plath and Sexton and significant poets from more recent times. 3 Cr.

ENL 537 American Gothic (A). Starting with Poe, Brockden Brown and Hawthorn, traces the evolution of the Gothic to the present day. Considers other writers who've struggled to portray "the power of darkness": Bierce, Gilman, Lovecraft, Faulkner, O'Connor, Oates and Koja. 3 Cr.

ENL 538 American Poetry: Bradstreet to Whitman (A). Surveys American verse from its beginnings to the late 19th century, emphasizing representative poets such as Bradstreet and Whitman. 3 Cr.

ENL 539 Asian American Literature (A). Explores Asian-American literature and culture both historically and thematically with an emphasis on the development of Asian-American literary voices and identities from the mid-19th century to the present. Texts include major works of fiction, poetry, drama, prose, film and critical and theoretical essays to facilitate discussion. 3 Cr.

ENL 540 Literature of the American Family (A). Focuses on the family, family interaction, and family problems in modern American literature. Uses primary and secondary readings in sociology and history to provide a critical perspective on this topic. 3 Cr.

ENL 541 American Literature: 19th Century Women's Novel (A). Cross-listed as WMS 541. Entails an intensive study of the novel as a form of women's self-representation and cultural criticism. May include novels about family life, anti-slavery and temperance, slave narratives, historical novels, and representations of urban and industrial experience. 3 Cr.

ENL 542 Topics in Women's Literature (A). Cross-listed as WMS 542. Provides an advanced study of women in literature and women's literature, focusing, for example, on some aspect of female lives, such as adolescence; on one or more female authors writing in a shared tradition, genre, or period; or on women writing on a common topic or from perspectives held in common. 3 Cr.

ENL 545 American Modernism (A). Focuses upon writers of the first half of the 20th century who defined American modernism by consciously breaking away from artistic conventions of the 19th century through experimentation in language, form, style and a heightened awareness of writing itself. May include Pound, Stein, Hemingway, Neale Hurston, Hughes and Faulkner. 3 Cr.

ENL 546 American Writers and Travel, 1870-1930 (A). Studies significant authors treated singly or in coherent combinations. Content varies with appropriate subtitles provided. May be repeated for credit with significant change in focus. 3 Cr.

ENL 550 Standard English and Its Varieties (A). Examines the development of Standard English and other varieties from a sociolinguistic, historical perspective. Provides a study of language acquisition, regional and social dialects, and the distinction between grammar and usage. Includes practice in and testing of contemporary usage. 3 Cr.

ENL 551 Linguistics (A). Studies phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics. 3 Cr.

ENL 555 Sociolinguistics (A). Studies language in social context. Analyzes problems in social dialects and communications, jargons, slang, bilingualism and language of social conflict. 3 Cr.

ENL 557 Women and Film (A). Cross-listed as WMS 557. Focuses on films by women. Considers the following questions: Have women filmmakers depicted the world differently from "dominant" cinema? What possibilities exist for forms of "feminine" film discourse that are truly different from dominant film discourse? What has been the history of women filmmakers? How many of these women have indeed tried to speak a different "language"? 3 Cr.

ENL 558 Great American Film Actors: Selected Topics (A). Closely studies great actors of American film who have lent their unique talents to film tradition and analyzes artistic, social, personal, cultural aspects of these actors and their careers. Focus and actors selected may vary, but may not be repeated for credit. 3 Cr.

ENL 560 Great American Film Directors (A). Using various critical perspectives, studies in depth the selected American film directors- Hitchcock, Capra, Welles. Specific focus indicated by subtitle. May be repeated for credit with significant change in focus. 3 Cr.

ENL 562 Selected Topics in Film (A). Explores significant themes and/or eras in film, for example: films of the 1950s, romantic couples, musicals, detective and western films, and film noir in cultural context. Specific topics shown by subtitle. May be repeated for credit with significant change in topic. 3 Cr.

ENL 563 Great International Film Directors (A). Using a variety of critical perspectives, studies in depth the major films of selected international film directors. Normally focuses on two or three directors such as Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Truffaut, Renoir, Eisenstein, Sagawa and others. Specific focus indicated by subtitle; may be repeated for credit with significant change in focus. 3 Cr.

ENL 564 The Film Star (A). Focuses on the contribution of the actor to the film, differences between acting for silent and for sound films, and differences in acting on stage and in film. Includes film screenings and discussions. 3 Cr.

ENL 565 American Film Comedy (A). Surveys the development of American comic style in film from the silent era to today. Includes screenings of films from Sennett's "Keystone" slapstick to Allen's cerebral comedy; the function of comedy; the theory of laughter; comic visions of America; and personal style vs. genre in comedy. 3 Cr.

ENL 566 Studies in Literary Modes (A). Studies an important literary mode through reading, analysis and creation of selected works within selected mode. 3 Cr.

ENL 567 Tragedy as a Genre (A). Investigates tragedy as both a literary genre and a way of interpreting the world. Considers both personal and cosmic aspects of tragedy in literary works from differing eras and cultures. 3 Cr.

ENL 570 Women's Popular Culture (A). Explores women's popular culture to engender a cultural analysis. Considers such questions as how women's popular culture responds to women's psychosocial needs and how it functions within the dominant culture. Examines samples of the fiction and films that represent 20th-century American women's popular culture. 3 Cr.

ENL 572 Critical Approaches to Literature (A). Analyzes literary texts in terms of form and content. Requires students to write papers of analysis from at least three literary perspectives, classify and describe perspectives of various critics, and define critical terms. 3 Cr. Every Semester

ENL 574 Caribbean Literature (A). Surveys 20th-century literature from the Caribbean, including drama, poetry and narrative. Includes Anglophone writers as well as non-English works in translation. Examines literature in the context of historical and cultural issues such as the nature of Caribbean identity, the role of language and the reconstruction of history. 3 Cr.

ENL 575 Postcolonial Literature (A). Surveys some of the most lively literature being produced these days from those areas of the world that were formerly European colonies: in particular, the Caribbean, Africa and South Asia. Introduces what is sometimes called the "postcolonial condition," exploring what it is and how writers have responded to it. 3 Cr.

ENL 576 Magical Realism (A). Introduces the important 20th-century literary movement known as magical realism. Examines its roots in Latin America as well as its adoption in other areas, with particular attention to the historical context in each case. 3 Cr.

ENL 577 Issues in Science Fiction (A). Explores significant developments in the history of speculative and science fiction, and studies major themes such as sex, science and prejudice. Includes representative authors such as Wells, Asimov, Heinlein and Le Guin. 3 Cr.

ENL 578 Seminar in World Literature (A). Provides a study of significant authors or topics in world literature (i.e., other than British/American). Content varies, with appropriate subtitles for each individual course. May be repeated for credit with significant change in topic and content. 3 Cr.

ENL 581 English Grammar (A). Studies a variety of options writers have when they generate sentences by applying transformational rules; examines definitions of parts of speech and an explanation of their use in sentences; and analyzes passages of prose and poetry in terms of options made available by the workings of grammar. 3 Cr.

ENL 582 Children's Literature (A). Covers conventions of children's literature, development of genres of children's literature, and bibliographical and critical resources in the field. 3 Cr.

ENL 584 Young Adult Literature (A). Examines the needs of the young adult reader and surveys genre literature as well as literature in content areas. 3 Cr. Every Semester

ENL 591 Advanced Fiction Writers Workshop (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permisssion. An advanced seminar specializing in the writing of fiction and in the applied criticism of fiction. Requires students to bring manuscript to a polished state of form, style and content. May be repeated for credit. 3 Cr.

ENL 592 Advanced Poetry Writers Seminar (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permisssion. A seminar specializing in the writing of poetry. Requires intensive critical discussion and revision, and some consideration of work by selected contemporaries. May be repeated for credit. 3 Cr.

ENL 593 The Creative Essay (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permisssion. Primarily a writing course in which students "workshop" essays. Explores the historical evolution of the essay and new forms it is taking. Requires students to read a variety of essays and create their own. May be repeated for credit. 3 Cr.

ENL 595 Literature of the Holocaust (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permisssion. Entails readings (both fiction and non-fiction) and discussion concerning Hitler's attempted destruction of the European Jews; and includes the work of survivors and victims, and incorporates esthetic, moral and political perspectives, with special emphasis on relevance for our time. 3 Cr.

ENL 596 Sex and Censorship (A). Considers the expression of sexual themes-and censorship of them -in contemporary literature, film and media. Includes topics such as the erotic in art, definitions of pornography and obscenity, evolution of censorship standards and practices, the Hollywood Code, the US Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970) and its critics, and recent feminist perspectives. 3 Cr.

ENL 599 Independent Study in English (B). Arranged in consultation with the professor-sponsor prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.

ENL 601 Bibliography and Methods of Research (A). Explores various approaches to the study of literature; training in bibliography; locating and evaluating literary evidence; and the nature and process of scholarly writing. Required early in the program for MA candidates. 3 Cr. Fall

ENL 602 Topics in Creative Writing (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permisssion. A creative writing workshop that focuses on fiction, non-fiction or poetry writing. Genre varies according to instructor. 3 Cr.

ENL 603 Theories of Rhetoric and Composition (A). Surveys important movements (from classical to contemporary times) and recent trends concerning the nature of writing. Explores major ideas in rhetorical theory as a conceptual backdrop for ongoing work in writing studies, research, education and related fields. Provides a forum for exchanging and testing those ideas. 3 Cr.

ENL 605 Teaching College Composition (A). Provides a systematic study of teaching college writing. Designed for prospective composition instructors, content is guided by: instruction in classroom practices informed by pedagogical and rhetorical theories; and preparation for teaching in a college composition program. 3 Cr.

ENL 606 Practicum in Teaching College Composition (A). Prerequisite: ENL 605. Provides experience in teaching or tutoring composition and pedagogical support for it under the guidance of a writing specialist. Requires students to apply to actual classroom or tutorial settings the principles of contemporary writing studies. Enables students to gain practical experience in planning, developing materials, instructing and evaluating student progress. Includes teaching a section of ENL 112 or equivalent course at another college, or tutoring composition 12 hours per week at the Student Learning Center. Assignment to practicum experience is based on the instructor's recommendation and student preference. 3 Cr.

ENL 610 Studies in Early and Middle English (A). Covers literature of the early- and middle-English periods, with particular emphasis on literary, historical, social and political background of the period. 3 Cr.

ENL 616 Studies in the English Renaissance (A). Covers selected writings of important authors between 1550 and 1642, such as Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, Jonson and Webster. 3 Cr.

ENL 621 Eighteenth Century Literature (A). Emphasizes two or more significant British authors in the period 1660 - 1800. 3 Cr.

ENL 624 British Romantic Literature (A). Covers the British Romantic period, with an emphasis on the works of two or more of the major writers (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats). 3 Cr.

ENL 627 Studies in the Victorians (A). Covers the major poets, essayists and novelists from 1832 to 1901 (Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Newman, Dickens, Eliot and Hardy). 3 Cr.

ENL 630 Studies in Modern British Literature (A). Studies two or three major English authors of the 20th century. Typically includes Joyce, Woolf, Lawrence, Synge, Shaw, Auden, Eliot and Green. Specific focus indicated by subtitle. 3 Cr.

ENL 631 Studies in Contemporary British Writers (A). Studies two or three major contemporary English authors. Typically includes Pinter, Lessing, Fowles, Golding, Stoppard and Lodge. Specific focus indicated by subtitle. 3 Cr.

ENL 632 Studies in American Literature Before 1870 (A). Covers selected major authors before 1870. Includes authors such as Puritan writers, Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville and other important writers. Specific focus indicated by subtitle. May be repeated for credit with significant change in focus. 3 Cr.

ENL 636 Studies in American Literature 1870-1920 (A). Studies two or three major authors from 1870 to 1920 such as Twain, Crane, Dreiser, Norris, Dickinson and Whitman. Specific focus indicated by subtitle. 3 Cr.

ENL 640 Studies in American Literature 1920-1945 (A). Studies two or three major authors from 1920 to 1945 such as Frost, Cummings, Faulkner, Hemingway, O'Neill and Fitzgerald. Specific focus indicated by subtitle. 3 Cr.

ENL 641 Studies in Contemporary American Literature (A). Studies two or three major authors since World War II such as Dickey, MacLeish, Albee, Roethke, Plath, Rich, Heller and Bellow. Specific focus indicated by subtitle. 3 Cr.

ENL 642 Postmodern American Fiction (A). Examines developments in American fiction since the 1960s. Explores the conditions and characteristics of postmodernism in the works of writers such as Barth, Barthelme, Coover, Doctorow, Morrison, Pynchon and Vonnegut. 3 Cr.

ENL 672 Contemporary Literary Theory and Practice (A). Studies contemporary literary theory and criticism. Among areas of literary theory, may consider one or more major paradigms: rhetorical, structuralist, poststructuralist, psychological, historical and gender-based theories. 3 Cr.

ENL 675 Seminar in Literary Figures (A). Provides an intensive study of selected literary figures and movements that may cross geographic and chronological boundaries such as the metaphysical writers Donne, Dickinson and Eliot. Specific focus indicated by subtitle. 3 Cr.

ENL 698 Thesis (A). Arranged with the thesis director. While thesis may be taken for one to six credits, normally students enroll for either three or six credits. 1-6 Cr. Every Semester

ENL 699 Independent Study in English (A). Designed individually through consultation between student and instructor to suit the student's needs and interests and the special competence of the instructor. Additional requirements may be imposed by the department. 1-6 Cr. Every Semester

Last Updated 11/20/18

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