Rutgers University offers a 30-credit general Master’s Degree in English on the Newark campus, an urban yet intimate and leafy environment near downtown easily accessible by public transportation. Our students take six electives in addition to four required courses: Introduction to Graduate Literary Study, two in pre-1800 literatures, and one in American literature. Those choosing to concentrate in Women’s and Gender Studies take two interdisciplinary core courses in feminist theory and methods (see separate description) and two W&GS-designated literature courses in the English Program (such as Women in Medieval Literature, Jane Austen, Autobiography and Gender, or Race, Gender, and the Holocaust, three recent offerings by our strong women’s studies faculty in the English Department). All must pass an examination on a common reading list, offered in March, and a one-hour translation test, rendering a passage of literary biography or history written in a foreign language into idiomatic English. These tests are scheduled throughout the year during Department office hours at the individual’s convenience.
We mount 14-16 courses a year in the literatures and cultures of the Americas, Britain, and the English-speaking world as well as literature in translation. Besides more traditional courses (Chaucer) and innovative versions of traditional subjects, like Race and Gender in the Renaissance, or Global Romanticism, we offer considerable topical variety: for example, Transnational Muslim Fiction; The Vietnam War and American Culture, 1945-2009; African Diaspora Literature; The Gilded Age; Harlem Renaissance; Empire and the Spy Novel; War Stories; various film offerings; and courses on postcolonial, feminist, marxist, narrative, or other critical theories. Courses in Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing, in Advanced Research and Archives, and in Editing and Publishing offer professional development. We also have occasional graduate Summer Session courses.
Degree students may arrange with a professor for Independent Study or a course of Advanced Readings tailored to their interests; some choose the two-semester Master’s Thesis,although this is not required for the degree. (Tailored studies must be arranged with the professor a semester in advance.) Seminarsare small (8-15), allowing for personal attention from professors and lively exchange with peers. Three classes constitute full-time status; given their busy lives, most students are part-time, registering for one or two courses per term. Each class is held once a week, 5:30 to 8:10, Monday through Thursday, allowing people to attend school after work. Occasionally we schedule a Saturday class. Degree students who need to take time out from their studies register for Matriculation Continued, which holds their place in the Program.
Even though most students are part-time and commute, we form a surprisingly close-knit community of 21 graduate English faculty and more than 40 students, diverse in age, interests, ethnicities, and nationalities. Some students live on campus. Our faculty are serious research scholars and writers who publish regularly, participate actively in professional organizations, receive national and international recognition for their work, and love to teach. Two of our Full Professors hold University Chairs; other colleagues both teach and provide administrative direction for other campus units, such as the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing, Women’s and Gender Studies, and African American Studies.
Film and other courses are sometimes taught by experts from the Metropolitan area. A distinct advantage of studying here is the prospect of being helped along with recommendation letters, introductions, and publication advice from well-connected professionals.
Our students’ statistical profile: In case you’re wondering, in a typical semester our degree students are 65% female; about evenly divided between the age groups of 21-34 and 35-44, with a handful of older students. In 2004, 50 identified themselves on their applications as Caucasian, 10 as Black, 3 as “Other Hispanic,” 4 as Asian, the rest unidentified. 90% or more of our degree students live in New Jersey, with some having moved here to establish NJ residency. We are also pleased to welcome international students–recently, from Japan, Turkey, France, South Africa, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Overall R-N is the most diverse university campus in the nation.
Students’ vocational plans and interests: The fact that our students arrive with a variety of agendas makes for an interesting mix in the classroom, and for reasons we can’t claim to understand completely, diversity really ‘works’ in our Program.
Those planning on doctoral study choose courses that ground them in literary theory and find Rutgers–Newark a superior place for conducting serious research, given the resources of the University’s many libraries, including the Dana and Rutgers Law Libraries on our campus, networked with hundreds of others nationwide. Graduates also choose to study library science or earn education Ph.D’s in Rutgers-New Brunswick’s highly-regarded graduate schools in these field.
Graduates often find college teaching work without the Ph.D.; a few find it even before they receive the M.A. A strong presence among us are seasoned, beginning, or aspiring high school teachers, who come to deepen literary learning, enhance their options in their institution, and enjoy intellectual exchange among peers. We also attract students who are pivoting for career changes, working journalists and professionals in other media fields who are hungry for literary study, people who seek intensive study of literature to feed their own creative writing, late bloomers, and the recently unemployed who’ve decided to return to school.
We do admit applicants who weren’t college English majors or are working in various business fields, computer science, public relations, or law but have been reading literature extensively on their own. Introduction to Graduate Literary Study helps all students make the transition with instruction and practice in the latest scholarly research methods and literary theories.
Students in our Creative Writing graduate program ask questions that redefine narratives, to develop as daring voices of a new generation.
Join a close-knit community of talented MFA peers from around the world as you live the writer’s life in NYC. Take inspiration from your experiences, challenge convention, and pioneer the evolution of the literary world.
Change begins with a question. What will you ask?
One third of the curriculum consists of Writing Workshops. Guided by an experienced writer-teacher, students work intensively on their manuscripts, with a focus on the creative acts of self-editing and revision. Workshops meet for two hours; structure and content are adapted to the student's area of concentration