Examinations & Forms

M.A. Examination

The M.A. examination is designed to develop your general knowledge of the history and diversity of literatures in English, encouraging a broad, structured understanding of the discipline while allowing room for considerable individual choice. Combining British, American, and Anglophone texts, the reading list for the examination reflects renewed disciplinary emphasis on the transatlantic relationship of British and American literatures as well as the rise of "global English" and its literary manifestations. See the 2018-2019 Student Handbook for full details

You must file the M.A. Examination Form at least six months before taking the exam.

There are also several Graduate College forms you must fill out before the exam. You can find these forms on the Academic tab in your UAccess account. Click the dropdown box and select GradPath forms.

Download the M.A. Reading List

General M.A. Portfolio Exam

The General M.A. Portfolio Exam consists of a reflective statement and three substantive papers, or their equivalent, written for courses taken during the your program of study. Instructors for whom the papers were written must specify in writing that the essays meet the standards of a Master's Degree. Download the M.A. Portfolio Exam Evaluation Form.

The reflective statement should be a 750- to 1250-word essay that includes the following considerations:

   • Reflection on any changes and/or growth between time before entering the program and now.
   • Relevance of your particular course work to your teaching.
   • Future plans for professional development: formal courses, dialogue with teacher colleagues, changing curriculum in your school, etc.

By the fifth week of the semester in which you intend to take the exam, you should submit to the evaluation committee a one-page prospectus that specifies how the portfolio is to be configured. The exam committee will be composed of English Department Graduate Program Directors.

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

The Graduate College requires that "each prospective candidate must pass a qualifying examination in the proposed major field." In order to be admitted into the Ph.D. program students must pass a Qualifying Examination that demonstrates their capability to undertake work leading to candidacy for the doctorate.

Students who complete the M.A. degree in our Literature Program should take the Qualifying Examination as soon as possible after passing the M.A. Exam, preferably during the same semester, but in no case later than their final semester in the M.A/ program (normally, for GATs, in their sixth semester). You will not be permitted to take classes for the Ph.D. degree if you have not passed the examination within this designated time period. The Qualifying Exam may not be attempted more than once.

See the Student Handbook for full details and exam procedures.

Qualifying Examination Request Form

Comprehensive Exam

For the Comprehensive Exams, you will prepare three areas of emphasis (a period, a genre, and two major authors), defined in close consultation with your committee and with the approval of the Graduate Literature Program Director. In consultation with your committee, you will develop an examination reading list for each area of concentration. The Comprehensive Exam consists of a four-hour written examination in each of the three areas, followed by a three-hour oral exam on all three areas. You should take the Comprehensive Examination after your last semester of course work. The written examination may be retaken once if the committee so recommends.

See the Student Handbook for full details and exam procedures.

You must submit the Comprehensive Area Study Program Form to the Administrative Assistant for the Graduate Literature Program at least six months before you will be taking the first section of the written exam. An approved reading list must be attached to this form, which finalizes both committee make-up and reading lists. Once the form is on file, these can be changed only by petition to the program director.

There are also several Graduate College forms that must be completed before the written exams begin.  You can find these forms on UAccess in the Academics section. Click on the dropdown box and select GradPath forms.

Dissertation Statement of Purpose

Within six weeks of passing the comprehensive exam, you must select the three members of your dissertation committee, and provide the Director of the Graduate Literature Program with the names of your director and the two other committee members. Once a committee has been established, any changes must have the approval of the Director.

When you submit the names of your committee members to the program director, you must also file a brief statement of purpose (no longer than one page), signed by all members of the committee, identifying the area(s) of research the dissertation will deal with and focusing on the set of problems it will address. If the dissertation Statement of Purpose falls due during winter or summer break, it must be approved and filed no later than three weeks after the start of fall classes for documents that fall due during summer break; three weeks after the start of spring classes for documents that fall due during winter break.

Download Dissertation Statement of Purpose Coversheet

Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal is due no later than six months after you have passed your comprehensive exams. Prepared in consultation with your three-person dissertation committee, it should be no more than ten pages long and should describe the nature of your projects, its relation to existing scholarship and criticism on the subject, and its potential contribution to its field.

Download Dissertation Proposal Coversheet