The graduate program in English at Sonoma State University consists of 34 units of graded work. Literary Criticism, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric/English Education are emphases within the degree available to the student.
Admission to the Program
The English Department M.A. program accepts applicants only for the fall semester of each year and requires at least a 3.00 GPA in the last 60 academic units taken. Program applicants must file the University application form via Cal State Apply (https://www2.calstate.edu/apply) and have all their academic transcripts sent to the University Admissions and Records Office by the admission deadline set by the department for that year, typically March.
At the same time, applicants must also upload the following: three letters of recommendation; a brief cover letter indicating the applicant’s interest in the program and anticipated field of study (creative writing, literary criticism, or rhetoric/composition); a sample of persuasive prose of between 10 and 20 pages in length; and, for those applying in creative writing, a sample of creative work. These policies and procedures are described in the “MA in English Handbook,” which is available online at: http://www.sonoma.edu/english/programs/ma-program.html.
The English Department Graduate Committee reviews all complete application files that meet campus and departmental admission standards and admits the most qualified of these applicants to the program. Applicants may enter the program with conditional or classified status. Classified status is usually granted to admitted applicants with undergraduate majors in English; conditionally classified status, which requires the completion of 4 to 24 additional units in English, is usually granted to admitted applicants with an undergraduate major in another field. Please see the catalog section on Graduate Degrees for more information.
Advancement to Candidacy
Students are advanced to candidacy when they have 1) completed 28 units of coursework (except for 6 completion units), and 2) passed either the department’s qualifying written exam or the Literature GRE (minimum score at the 65th percentile). Advancement to candidacy is formalized by the filing of a GS01 form with Graduate Studies.
The M.A. in English requires 34 units. Students complete 28 units through coursework; the remaining 6 will be taken either as thesis units (599) or, for the creative writing track, as directed writing units (535). No more than 4 units of directed writing units (535) may be counted toward the degree prior to the culminating option. Both options require candidates to take English 500 and two 500-level literature seminars. Two courses in English may be taken at the 400 level for degree credit.
Research assistantship units (460) do not count toward the 34-unit total; nor, except at the discretion of the graduate coordinator, do independent study units (595).
Those choosing the creative writing option are required to write a creative thesis, together with an introduction, and to give a public presentation of their work. Students in literary criticism and Rhetoric/English Education are required to write a thesis and to defend this project after it has been completed.