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Frequently Asked Questions

For what degree do I apply?

All B.A. degree holders are first admitted into the M.A. program and may apply later to the Ph.D. program on the basis of their academic performance here. There is no guarantee that someone admitted to the M.A. program will later be admitted into the Ph.D. program. For more information, visit the M.A. and Ph.D. pages for more information.

Will I have major or minor areas?

M.A. students must complete at least four courses in a major area and three courses in a thematic minor. Ph.D. students choose one major and two minor fields of study.

What coursework will I be expected to complete?

Students are expected to complete thirty credit hours for the M.A. and twenty-four credit hours for the Ph.D. For the M.A., one Medieval History survey and one Medieval Literature survey are required as well as at least four courses in a major area and three in a thematic minor. In addition, ENGL 300 is required for all M.A. students who are Freshman English Teaching Assistants. For the Ph.D., at least four courses must be completed in a major area and two in each of two minor areas. Medieval Studies Ph.D. students who take an English major field of concentration are required to take two courses in Old English – English 309 (Old English) and a seminar in Old English Language/Literature, usually fulfilled by English 406 (Seminar in Beowulf).

When will I take my exams?

M.A.: The M.A. written exam is administered in January of the student’s second year.

Ph.D.: Every Ph.D. student is required to take a series of examinations. The Graduate School calls this set of exams the “General Examination,” and they are also known as “prelims” – preliminary to candidacy for the degree. Prelims are taken at the conclusion of coursework.

What are the language requirements?

M.A.: There is Latin requirement for the M.A., which can be satisfied in a number of ways.

Ph.D.: Reading knowledge is required of three scholarly languages – Latin and two languages significant to the student’s program. Ph.D. candidates should satisfy this degree requirement as early as possible in the course of study. According to the Graduate Catalog, one of six methods may be used to establish reading competence in a foreign language.

What is a Plan of Study and when should it be filed?

A Plan of Study is required by the Graduate School; this form details all of the coursework that will be applied to the degree. For both M.A.’s and Ph.D.s, the Plan of Study, signed by all advisors and in triplicate, should be turned in to the Graduate School when half of the coursework is completed.