MA English Online Handbook
Welcome to the MA English (English Studies) program offered entirely online! This unique master's degree provides a selection of representative courses from across our disciplinary areas of study (literature; writing, rhetorics and literacies; linguistics; film and media studies; cultural studies) including some courses that investigate the relationship between our discipline and others across the campus, such as science and English. After completion of this degree, you will be able to articulate and translate complex cultural, historical, literary, and artistic ideas into accessible material for a general audience and prepare yourself for career opportunities in public humanities, libraries, teaching, and museums.
Below you will find information on upcoming classes, requirements, and other pertinent information as you continue through the program. We will keep this page updated often.
For questions, please email the Academic Success Advisor Elizabeth Downs. In peak times, responses may take up to 48 hours to return Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Arizona time.
Culture of Respect: Graduate students are expected to treat their peers, faculty, and staff with respect and conduct themselves in a professional manner. Disrespectful behavior on the part of students toward any member of the ASU community will not be tolerated. Students can expect to be treated with courtesy and professionalism, and the same is expected of them. Students are welcome to contact the department with any questions or concerns.
The program is 10 courses (30 credit hours). With the exception of the capstone, classes can be taken in any order:
- ENG 501 Approaches to Research (3 credit hours)
- Linguistics (3 credit hours) - options include:
- LIN 510 Linguistics
- LIN 517 History of the English Language
- Literature (3 credit hours) - options include:
- ENG 502 Contemporary Critical Theories
- ENG 504 Topic: Posthumanism
- ENG 534 Topic: Shakespeare
- ENG 535 Topic: Studies in Jane Austen
- ENG 536 Topic: American Captivities
- ENG 536 Topic: The 19th Century American Novel
- ENG 560 Topic: Magical Realism as a Global Genre
- ENG 560 Topic: English Drama 1660-1789
- ENG/WWS 568 World War II in Literature
- ENG 598 Studies in Environmental Humanities
- Writing, Rhetoric, and Literacies (3 credit hours) - options include:
- ENG 551 Topic: Classical Rhetorics
- ENG 552 Composition Studies
- ENG 553 Technologies of Writing
- ENG 556 Theories of Literacy
- English Education (3 credit hours) - options include:
- ENG 507 Methods/Issues Teaching Composition
- ENG 540 Teaching Young Adult Literature
- ENG 598 Topic: Teaching Literacy for Action and Change
- Electives (12 credit hours): 6 of these credits should be additional courses from those listed above and 6 of these credits can be taken outside of the department (Foreign Language is an example or they can be taken from other online 500-level courses in the department with an ENG, LIN or FMS prefix)
- ENG 597 Graduate Capstone Seminar (3 credit hours) - taken in the last semester
^Foreign Language (SPA/GER/FRE/ITA) courses are pre-approved electives, however, other courses (ie. BLE, History, etc.) will need to be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Online Director.
There is also a Foreign Language Requirement.
See the typical Graduate Online Course Rotation for planning purposes. Please note that the courses are subject to change.
To receive permission to enroll in an FMS course or courses, please send an email to the professor of the course to get approval (emailing the professor does not guarantee approval, it is up to the professor’s discretion). Indicate you are an MA English online student. Then fill out the Course Override Form. Select the Instructor Permission request type. A screenshot of an email from the faculty member approving this override is required. Make sure to fill out the form completely before submitting.
Once the override has been granted, then you can register on your MyASU homepage.
Once in the program, and before completion of requirements, students will demonstrate a “reading knowledge” of a foreign language at the intermediate level. English graduate students have several ways to meet this requirement (see webpage for details). Old English is currently not offered as an ASU Online course. Students should fulfill their language requirement early in the program so it does not delay graduation.
International students whose native language is not English will have this requirement waived once the Plan of Study (iPOS) has been approved with a full committee.
U.S students who are bilingual must still demonstrate a reading knowledge in the second language. To waive the language requirement, documentation or proof in the form of a certificate, a class or indication of bilingual work in a job will be required.
Students who do not have a background in a language can take a Reading Knowledge course offered by the School of International Letters and Cultures (SPA 550, FRE 550, GER 550, ITA 550). A grade of B or better in a reading knowledge course meets the language requirement. No additional test is necessary. These courses count as outside the department elective credit and will be applied toward the 30 credit hours required for the program (see the program requirements for details on electives).
Note: The iPOS will not automatically update your language requirement to show as complete. Please email Elizabeth Downs to manually update it once the grade is posted.
We can also test MA online students for reading knowledge by translating a short passage from the students chosen language (Spanish, French, Italian, German) into English.
Procedure for Foreign Language Translation Test: Email your advisor Elizabeth Downs to plan a test date. The test must take place during Department of English business hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Arizona time (excluding holidays). Indicate your choice of language and select from the following list:
- Come si fa una tesi di laurea by Umberto Eco
- Il Costume Di Casa. Evidenze e misteri dell'ideologia italiana by Umberto Eco
- Il secondo diario minimo by Umberto Eco
- El laberinto de la soledad by Octavio Paz
- Culturas híbridas. Estrategias para entrar y salir de la modernidad by Néstor García Canclini
- Ni apocalípticos ni integrados : aventuras de la modernidad en América Latina by Martín Hopenhayn
- Medialität der Erinnerung: Uwe Johnson und der Dokumentarismus in der Nachkriegsliteratur by Alexandra Kleihues
- Die literarische Funktion von Kleidung in den Íslendingasögur und Íslendingaþættir by Anita Sauckel
- Der Holocaust in der literarischen Erinnerung: autobiografische Aufzeichnungen von Udo Dietmar und Elie Wiesel by Antonia Barboric
- Romantismes Européens et Romantisme Français by Pierre Brunel
- Les écrivains et leurs lectures Philosophiques texts gathered by Bruno Curatolo
- L’Histoire Interdite by Thierry Wolton
We will provide the passage for translation. The passage will range from 300 to 400 words. The examination should not last more than two hours and examinees are expected to translate the entire passage. We are looking for an accurate translation that preserves both idiomatic content and the diction of the text to the best degree possible. The short passage is to be rendered into comprehensible, grammatically correct English. The text is not to be summarized, nor is it to be translated mechanically word-by-word. (Note: we will be able to tell if the student resorted to translation tools.)
The translation test will be conducted entirely online. This is a pass/fail exam. You will be notified of your results in approximately two to four weeks.
Note: Students must be enrolled in at least one graduate credit the semester they take the test in.
All students taking the Graduate Foreign Language Exam through SILC will be charged a $100 fee. The fee entitles students to one exam. Payment must be received before the student takes the exam.
Students enrolled in the Online English MA program are required to file an online interactive plan of study (iPOS) with the Graduate College. The iPOS is accessed through the student's MyASU, under the "My Programs and Degree" section. The iPOS serves as an agreement between the student, academic unit, and the Graduate College to verify the type, quality, and acceptability of the coursework and culminating project required for the degree. The iPOS becomes the official record of your program plans and is a listing of what you have already taken, are presently taking, and will take to complete your requirements of 30 credits. The iPOS should be completed before the student reaches 15 credits (50%) in the program.
When filling in the Course Admin portion of the iPOS, students will list ENG 501 Approaches to Research as their "Required Core" and ENG 597 Capstone as their "Culminating Experience." Students will then fill in the other required courses and electives for the program in the English Studies section by clicking "Add English Studies." Students will leave the "Comparative Literature," "Literature," "Writing, Rhetorics, and Literacies" and "Open Courses" sections blank.
Students will list Kathleen Hicks as their chair and Elenore Long as their member for a full committee.
Once the iPOS is completed and submitted, students should email a "screenshot" of courses to their advisor Elizabeth Downs so she may approve the proposed courses and send the iPOS to Graduate College for final approval.
Program Requirements (with the exception of the capstone, classes can be taken in any order):
ENG 501 Approaches to Research (3 credit hours)
One course in linguistics (3): LIN 510, LIN 517
One course in literature (3): ENG 502, ENG 504, ENG 534, ENG 535, ENG 536, ENG 560, ENG/WWS 568, ENG 598 (Studies in Environmental Humanities)
One course in writing, rhetorics, and literacies (3): ENG 551, ENG 552, ENG 553, ENG 556
One course in English Education (3): ENG 507, ENG 540
Electives (12): 6 of these credits should be additional courses from those listed above and 6 of these credits can be taken outside of the department (Foreign Language^ courses are examples or they can be taken from other online courses in the department with an ENG, LIN or FMS prefix)
Culminating Experience: ENG 597 Graduate Capstone Seminar (3) - taken in the last semester
^Foreign Language (SPA/GER/FRE/ITA) courses are pre-approved electives, however, other courses (ie. BLE, History, etc.) will need to be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Online Director.
Since students are required to identify courses for future semesters on the iPOS, they should enter courses that best match program requirements and their area of interest. Course changes are frequently needed as students’ progress in their program and they should request a course change prior to taking any coursework that is not listed on the original iPOS. Changes are easily requested through the iPOS system. If any changes are submitted, please send an email to Elizabeth Downs so that she is aware of the pending changes.
All students in the MA in English online complete the Graduate Capstone Seminar as their culminating experience in the MA in English Online program. Students will register for the capstone in the last semester of their studies. The capstone will be offered every semester (Fall, Spring, Summer) in session B only. In the capstone course, students will critically reflect on what they have learned through their English Studies coursework. Students will be guided through a culminating project that will showcase knowledge and skills obtained throughout the program. The purpose of this project is for students to consider what they have learned in the other courses in the MA English (English Studies) program and determine which ideas and/or projects they would like to revisit and develop more. The major assignments for the capstone are designed to build skills at effectively presenting student's scholarly interests and accomplishments. For example, assignments may include:
- An autobiography focusing on the student's path to the Master's degree so that students will be able to describe key personal events and attributes contributing to their interest in English Studies.
- A portfolio of three papers written for courses in the Master's degree program, framed by an essay that reflects on what these essays demonstrate about the student's intellectual accomplishments and potential. Students will be able to describe key components of their academic or intellectual worldview, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their own written work and that of others, and devise or adapt a strategy for revising their own written work and that of others.
- A 10-minute audio/visual presentation so students can practice academic self-presentation that involves synthesizing a large amount of material into a compact form, write a script for that synthesized material, and make a professional audio/visual presentation on that material based on the script.
Students may request that graduate credit earned at ASU or another accredited university be used toward program requirements if the coursework was completed within three years of the first semester of admission in the program. The courses must be related to the student’s area of study and may not have been used toward a previous degree. Up to 12 credit hours may be used upon the approval of the Online Director.
An official transcript showing the final grade for the course(s) needs to be on file with the Graduate Admissions Office.
Continuous enrollment is required for all graduate students (fall and spring). Summer is optional. You only need to be registered in one class, which means that you do not need to be registered for both session A and session B to maintain continuous enrollment. However, it is encouraged to enroll in at least one class each session to make satisfactory progress in the program. If students do not enroll for one semester of fall or spring, they will be discontinued by ASU Graduate College and will need to reapply for admission. When in doubt, do not hesitate to email Elizabeth Downs for the current information on policies and procedures.
Graduate students should avoid taking a grade of "I" (incomplete) for any graded coursework. "I" grades not replaced with a final grade within one year of the official end of the course will remain permanently incomplete.
Students enrolled in the Online English MA program are required to maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0. In order to graduate, students must have an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA of 3.0 on the ipos.
Once the graduation semester has been determined and the iPOS has been reviewed, students may begin the process of applying for graduation. For more information and deadlines click here.
If you decide you need to change your graduating semester after applying, contact Graduation Office either by phone 480-965-3256 or by email email@example.com to request the current application be withdrawn. After they have withdrawn the application, go back to the Graduation Tab on your MyASU page and reapply for graduation for the future semester. You do not need to pay the fee again as your original payment will remain on file for up to five years.
Completion of classes in session A does not mean your degree will post mid semester. ASU posts completed degrees at the end of each semester (fall: December; spring: May). Students who complete the program in session A and need an official ASU letter for work (stating they have completed the program requirements) should contact the Graduation Office firstname.lastname@example.org. This letter is for emergency purposes only and should be requested only if your job needs proof of completion before the degree conferral dates at the end of each semester.
The Department of English strongly supports the high standard of academic integrity set by Arizona State University. Failure of any graduate student to meet these standards, either in academic coursework or related research activities, may result in serious consequences, including suspension or expulsion from the university or, if discovered after a degree is awarded, the revocation of the degree.
Violations of academic integrity include the obvious offenses of cheating, fabricating information/results, tampering and plagiarism, but also include aiding and/or facilitating such activities and, in some cases, failing to reference one’s own work. It is each student’s responsibility to become familiar with the University’s policies regarding academic integrity, which can be accessed via the Provost’s Office and is available here.
Several University offices have created websites with information about academic integrity:
1. Can I complete the degree in a year?
- It would be possible, in some cases, to complete the degree in one year. Although, it does depend on several factors: A student would need to take 2 courses per 7.5 week session which is a heavy workload but not undoable if you have enough time every week to devote to studying. Also, some students have done some graduate work before entering the program which they are able to transfer into the program.
2. Which linguistics course should I take to satisfy the requirement?
- The only linguistics courses that satisfy the requirement for the program are LIN 510 and LIN 517. Other linguistics courses will be considered electives.
LIN 510 is an introduction to the study of language and linguistics focusing on English language examples. It covers what we know when we know a language including sound systems, the structure of words and grammatical constructions, the meaning of words and sentences, rules of conversation, why language varies among speakers and regions, and how language changes over time.
LIN 517—a combination of linguistics, history, sociology, and textual analysis—is an intensive linguistic journey through 1500 years of English. We will begin by learning the basics of linguistics before delving into the attributes of Old English. Then we will move forward into Middle English, where we will identify dialects and key influences on the language. As we jump into Early Modern English, we will learn about the widening scope of these influences as well as the multiple attempts to "fix" the language. Finally, we will investigate the current state of Modern English as a lingua franca and speculate about its future. Along the way, we will do three projects (an anatomy of a word, a biography of a text, and a comprehensive research project), take two exams, and post regularly on our class discussion board.
3. Can graduates of this program teach at a community college? Can they go on for a PhD?
- Yes, students with a MA in English can teach at the community college level and they can apply for PhD programs.
4. Can I take iCourses as an ASU Online Student?
- No, ASU Online students can only take ASU Online classes. iCourses are courses offered to in-person ASU students only.
5. When did the program begin?
6. Why do you have these short A and B sessions?
- These compressed, seven-and-a-half-week courses allows students to take multiple shorter classes each semester. The downside of the short courses is you need to really pay attention to the dates of the academic calendar. You'll see brief windows of time to drop and add classes.
7. How many hours per week should I expect to spend on a 3 credit course?
- Approximately 18 hours per week for a 3 credit hour course.
8. Can I take ASU Online classes from other departments as electives?
- Yes, FMS courses are allowed. It may also be possible to take courses in other departments (such as languages, art history, etc), and request that these be evaluated for inclusion in the degree. We evaluate these courses on an individual basis. Students can see all courses offered here: https://webapp4.asu.edu/catalog/. Make sure to select the “ASU Online” option when searching.
9. How many classes can I take in a semester?
- Some students take only one class a semester, however, to make good progress toward the degree, it is suggested that you take at least one class per session, if not two. The semester is broken into two 7.5 weeks.
10. Can I take a semester off if I need to?
- Continuous enrollment is required (fall, spring). Graduate College states that a student must be registered for a minimum of one graduate credit hour during all phases of their graduation (fall, spring, and summer only if utilizing university resources or applying for graduation). Students have the option of petitioning for a leave of absence – or a "maintain continuous enrollment" request. This is submitted through the Plan of Study (iPOS) in the Petition section, and does not affect continuous enrollment. Failure to register or request a leave will result in automatic withdrawal from the program.
Note: W (withdraw) and X (audit) do NOT count as continuous enrollment. A 400-level class does NOT count toward continuous enrollment for graduate students, unless it is listed on the ipos.
- Graduate College requires students to have a plan of study on file by the time they reach 50% of their program (five classes). The interactive plan of study (iPOS) can be completed on your MyASU page. It’s simply a listing of your current and future classes, including any transfer classes, ENG 597 (capstone), the language requirement, and your committee chair and additional member. Once approved, it is essentially a contract with the university that you can graduate if you complete the classes, the language requirement, and the final project. When you apply to graduate, the Graduation Office compares your transcript with your plan of study. If they match exactly, you can graduate. (If you have classes in the wrong semester, they’ll not approve your graduation until you submit a course change request updating your iPOS.) Tip: When you submit your plan of study, or any changes to it (course change, committee change), please send an email to Elizabeth Downs.
12. Can I change a class on my program of study after it's approved?
- Yes, you do this through the Course Admin section of the iPOS. You select the course you want to remove and/or add and then submit it for approval by the department.
13. What sort of grades do graduate students earn?
- English graduate students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average each semester. In order to graduate from ASU, graduate students must have a 3.0 overall GPA and also a 3.0 GPA on their iPOS. If you fall below a 3.0 GPA, you will be put on academic probation by Graduate College and will not be allowed to graduate until the overall GPA and/or the iPOS GPA is 3.0.
14. What tutoring tools do you offer online students?
-There are multiple tutoring tools offered by ASU found at Online Tutoring for University Academic Success Programs at ASU:
Graduate Writing Center – ASU’s Online Graduate Writing Center specifically serves students enrolled in 500, 600 and 700 level classes. Using Adobe Connect, this real-time, appointment-based assistance allows students to meet one-on-one with a graduate writing consultant to receive feedback on their writing projects at any stage in their development and writing process. The center is open Sundays-Thursdays with appointments available between the hours of 2pm and 10pm.
Academic Mentoring – Using Adobe Connect, academic mentors meet with students one-on-one for a personalized approach to improving academic skills such as time management, blackboard reviews, test preparation, and more.
Students can make appointments through the website or by calling 480-965-9072
Smarthinking: 24 hour online tutoring
15. Can I be admitted to an in-person graduate certificate while working on my MA English Online degree?
- No, because they are offered on different campuses (Tempe and Online).