Master of Arts in English: Concentration in Composition
Composition is one of three concentrations within the MA in English.
The M.A. in Composition provides students with a solid grounding in theory, research, and practice of teaching composition and reading to diverse student populations at the postsecondary level.
Graduate courses focus on theoretical foundations of the field: curriculum design; course design; assignment design; lesson planning; practices for responding to student writing; and strategies for supporting diverse student populations. In the culminating experience class (English 895), students create a portfolio containing teaching materials, a statement of teaching philosophy, a publication-quality academic article, and other materials relevant to their professional growth.
The M.A. in Composition prepares students for teaching in a variety of postsecondary settings. Most graduates of the program obtain positions teaching at community colleges, four-year colleges, or universities. Some graduates work in learning centers, educational programs, and fields related to writing and teaching.
Program Learning Outcomes:
- English MA students will critically evaluate scholarship using knowledge of disciplinary history, foundational theories, epistemologies, and scholarly debates in order to participate in professional communities of Composition, TESOL, and Linguistics.
- English MA students will conduct principled inquiry (critical reflection, observation, and/or formal research) using appropriate methods and tools of analysis in order to address disciplinary questions and problems of practice.
- English MA students will produce effective written and oral presentations that follow professional disciplinary standards of Composition, TESOL, and Linguistics.
- English MA students will apply pedagogical knowledge and skills to the teaching of language, literacy, or linguistics.
- Composition students will articulate a coherent teaching philosophy that has been informed by practical experience and knowledge of relevant teaching principles and research.
- Composition students will create appropriate lessons and curricula for students in postsecondary reading and writing classes.
- Composition students will produce critical reflections on teaching practices and materials and how they embody educational values of ethics, social justice, diversity, and globalization.
Admission to Program
Applicants submit all materials through the Cal State Apply portal (https://calstate.liaisoncas.com).
Application materials include:
- A 1 to 2 page statement of purpose. Applicants should discuss their interest in pursuing the MA program; their relevant work or volunteer experience, if applicable; their readiness to meet the rigors of graduate-level coursework; and their future professional goals.
- A 5 to 10 page writing sample. This can be an academic paper and/or a sample of writing from a professional setting. The sample should demonstrate the applicant’s ability to produce clear, concise, well-polished prose.
- Letters of recommendation. Letters are optional; however, we encourage those students who have weaknesses in their prior academic record to submit one or two letters in support of their application.
- Transcripts. The University requires transcripts of all prior postsecondary coursework. Applicants are expected to have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better.
- The GRE is not required.
Nonnative Speakers of English
Applicants whose native language is not English and whose B.A. was completed outside the United States must present evidence of English language proficiency through one of the following:
TOEFL iBT: 95 (writing score of at least 24)
TOEFL paper-based: 64 (writing score of at least 24)
IELTS (Academic): 7.0 (with 6.5 for each component)
Applicants who do not meet this minimum TOEFL or IELTS requirement will not be admitted; there is no conditional admission.
The TOEFL or IELTS is not required for non-native English speakers who completed their Bachelor’s degree in the U.S. or another English-speaking country.
However, applicants who obtained a B.A./B.S. from an American university in a major other than English/Linguistics might consider submitting a recent TOEFL or IELTS score as evidence that their language proficiency is strong enough to do graduate study in an English department.
Applicants who need additional writing support may be advised to take ENG 670 or other academic writing courses.
Applicants who lack classroom experience may be advised to take ENG 726 or obtain other classroom experience during their first year in the program.
Written English Proficiency Requirement
All MA students must meet two University writing requirements:
Proficiency is demonstrated through the student’s application materials.
Proficiency is demonstrated through satisfactory performance in the culminating experience course for the MA (ENG 895 or ENG 898).
Graduate students must maintain strong academic standing:
Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better.
All core and concentration courses must be taken for a letter grade; only courses in which the student earns a B- or better may count toward the MA degree.
Only one elective course may be taken on a credit / no credit basis.
English MA: Concentration in Composition - 30 units
Core Requirements (15 units)
|ENG 702||Introduction to Graduate Study of Composition, Linguistics, and TESOL||3|
|ENG 707||Topics in Language Analysis||3|
|ENG 728||Topics in Sociolinguistics||3|
|ENG 733||Seminar in Student Teaching||3|
|Field Study or Applied Research Project|
Composition Requirements (15 units)
|ENG 700||Introduction to Composition Theory||3|
|ENG 709||Seminar in Teaching Integrated Reading and Writing||3|
|ENG 710||Course Design in Composition and Post-Secondary Reading||3|
|Courses selected with an advisor||6|
Culminating Experience Requirement
A field study or research project, or a Master's Thesis, must be successfully completed by all candidates for the degree. The field study or research project, which investigates and/or applies knowledge acquired in the student’s program of study, must have the recommendation and approval of two faculty field study or research project advisors. All SF State specifications for completion of a field study or research project must be met. Students may take ENG 895 once. Students who fail ENG 895 will receive an Incomplete (I) grade; they may resubmit their project once for a passing grade. If their project fails a second time, they will be recommended for declassification. As part of the Culminating Experience requirement, students are required to present their projects at the end-of-semester graduate student conference.
During the second-to-last semester in the program, students are required to complete an Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) form, which lists the courses completed to satisfy the degree requirements for the Master of Arts in English with a Concentration in TESOL. Students must earn an overall GPA of 3.0 and a B- or better in all courses listed in that document.