Master of Arts in English

Graduate Directors: Professors Milla Riggio & Beverly Wall

Trinity College offers a Master of Arts in English intended for

  • Community college and high school faculty
  • Professionals

    in law, business, and other areas

  • College or university graduates considering a Ph.D. in English
  • College or university graduates desiring personal enrichment or enhancement of writing skills
 Courses are offered during the evening in the fall and spring terms and during two summer terms.
You have a choice of two concentrated tracks: “Literary Studies” and “Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Arts.”

Tracks at a Glance

Literary Studies – 10 credits, as follows:
•    ENGL 801, Theories of Literary Studies (1 credit)
•    One course in English literature (1 credit)
•    One course in American literature (1 credit)
•    One course emphasizing cultural contexts (1 credit)
•    Four electives from courses offered for either track (4 credits)
•    M.A. thesis (2 credits)
Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Arts – 10 credits, as follows:
•    ENGL 801, Theories and Methods of Literary Studies (1 credit)
•    ENGL 802, Theory and Practice of Rhetoric (1 credit)
•    Two additional courses designated for this track (2 credits)
•    Four electives from courses offered for either track (4 credits)
•    M.A. thesis or final project (2 credits)

Literary Studies

This concentration focuses on deepening your understanding of literature as a written medium and of how literature reflects and interacts with the various cultures that produce it. Although you may choose elective courses from all courses offered in the English graduate program, you are encouraged to think about how your selections impact the focus of your overall studies and, especially, how they ultimately reinforce and provide background for your choice of a thesis topic. Every course in the program will help to develop skills required for writing your thesis.
In consultation with your adviser, you should choose a thesis topic and submit a draft proposal to the program director in the semester before you begin work on the thesis itself. In addition, you will register for ENGL 954, Thesis I, and ENGL 952, Colloquium, during the fall term of your thesis year. During the spring term of your thesis year, you will register for ENGL 955, Thesis II. A grade of “In Progress” (IP) will be recorded for each term until the thesis is completed. When you complete your thesis, a grade will be assigned along with 2 credits. If you must take longer than 2 semesters to complete your thesis, you must apply and register for an extension (see Graduate Academic Regulations  for more information).

Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Arts

This concentration focuses on the arts of writing, rhetoric, and visual media, including film and the mixed modes of the Internet. It offers courses that explore various forms of language, logic, persuasion, and communication. In addition, the track focuses on the rhetorical strategies that writing and media arts draw upon to construct and contest ideas and values. You should be aware that this track is not meant as a substitute for an MFA or MA in fiction or poetry.
For your final exercise, you may write a 2-credit thesis or design and execute a 2-credit project, subject to approval of the English Department Graduate Studies Committee. Although this track focuses on study and analysis rather than production of film and other media, you may, with appropriate training, petition the Committee to produce a film as part of your final project.

Required Course Descriptions

The following course is required of all English MA students. We recommend that entering students enroll in this course during their first year of graduate study.
ENGL 801, Theories and Methods of Literary Studies
This seminar intends to develop graduate level competence in close reading of literary and theoretical texts, research methods for critical literary analysis, and advanced composition strategies for critical essays. We will emphasize critical reading and writing skills as well as contemporary theory and its application to literary studies. The course will also include a basic introduction to the concept of media arts. You will generate close reading essays and an annotated bibliography of critical sources, participate in peer review and revision workshops, and as a culmination of their reading and research process throughout the semester, produce a substantial critical essay.
In addition to ENGL 801, the following course is required of all students concentrating in Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Arts. It can also serve as an elective for the Literary Studies track.
ENGL 802, Theory and Practice of Rhetoric
Aristotle defined rhetoric over 2,000 years ago as “the art of discovering, in any given case, the available means of persuasion.” This course introduces you to the theoretical traditions of this art of persuasion from classical to contemporary times. We will test theory against practice as we examine speaking, writing, and multimodal media in oral, print, and digital cultures. We will explore the effects of rhetorical action and interaction on individuals and their diverse communities. We will also study the dynamics of evolving social and structural concepts of author, audience, genre, and style, including classical orations, personal essays, and hypertext writing. You will have an opportunity to experiment with as well as study genres that interest you.​