Master of Arts in English: Concentration in Composition

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Admission to Program

In addition to the materials sent to the graduate admissions office, the applicant must submit the following items to the English Department:

  • a one to two page typed statement of purpose in which the applicants are to explain their interest in pursuing the M.A. degree, including describing any previous teaching, tutoring, training, writing or editing experience that may contribute to their success in the program; discuss their readiness to meet the rigors of graduate-level coursework; and explain how this degree will further their career plans. The statement of purpose must demonstrate the applicants’ ability to produce clear, cogent, and polished prose;
  • a recent writing sample of seven to 10 pages. This writing should be analytic in nature. It may be from a previous course or it may be writing that the applicants have undertaken in a professional pursuit beyond the classroom;
  • a statement with the applicants’ signature certifying that the writing sample is their own work;
  • one set of official transcripts from all colleges attended;
  • two letters of recommendation that speak to the applicants’ academic potential and/or their potential as future educators.

Applicants without an undergraduate major in English or a related field may be required to complete additional preparatory coursework in literature, linguistics, education or related field before being advanced to classified standing and filing the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC).

Students must take ENG 700 as early as possible in the program (preferably during the first semester) and complete the course with a grade of B in order to continue with other courses in the program.

The master’s program permits students to include on their ATC only courses in which they have received grades of B or better.

Students completing this program are expected to be able to write prose publishable in academic journals.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

Evaluation of the writing sample submitted as part of the application packet.

Level Two

Satisfactory completion of ENG 895.

English (M.A.): Concentration in Composition — 30 units


ENG 700Introduction to Composition Theory3
ENG 704Pedagogical Grammar for Composition3
ENG 709Seminar in Teaching Integrated Reading and Writing3
ENG 710Course Design in Composition and Post-Secondary Reading3
ENG 890Seminar in Composition Research3
ENG 895Field Study or Applied Research Project3

Applicants admitted for fall semester should take the following four core courses during their first academic year in the program:

Applicants admitted for spring semester will receive advising based on availability of spring courses. Because of the rotation of course offerings, spring admission entails a minimum of five semesters to complete the program.

Electives (12 units)

to be taken with the approval of an advisor.

Culminating Experience

A field study or research project 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 who fail ENG 895 will receive an Incomplete (I) grade and may resubmit their project once for a passing grade. If their project fails a second time, they will be recommended for declassification.