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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

English Department

Terminal M.A. Program

 Joseph Black
  Bartlett 452-B; 413.545.5495

1. 10 graduate courses or 8 courses (24 credits) and a Master's Thesis (6 credits).

2. Foreign Language requirement (see below).

3. Students may transfer credit for 2 graduate-level English courses taken at other schools or at UMass before their formal admission to the Graduate English Program (courses counted toward a completed degree are not eligible for transfer)

4. While in the MA program at UMASS, students may also take two courses in departments outside of English.

Second Language Requirement:

A student must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in one language other than English for the MA, the MA/PhD, or the PhD program. Intermediate proficiency should enable a student to read a language with the aid of a dictionary. Plans to complete the language requirement should be approved in advance with the Graduate Program Director. Students can demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a number of ways:

Undergraduate Coursework

A student who has completed substantial recent course work may qualify as demonstrating intermediate second language proficiency, as may the satisfaction of a language requirement for an MA earned at another university.

Native Speaker

A student who is a native speaker of a language other than English automatically satisfies this requirement.

Overseas Language Study or Accelerated Language Program

Students may demonstrate intermediate proficiency by participating in a pre-approved overseas language study, or an accelerated summer language program.
Note: No funding is available for students seeking to fulfill their language requirement through summer courses.

Translation Exam

Students may arrange to be examined by a professor in the English department or in one of the language departments. In each case, the professor must attest to the student’s level of proficiency. These exams typically consist of either:
*a one-hour translation with the aid of a dictionary of a text chosen by the examiner OR
*a longer project in which the student works under the direction of a professor to produce a relatively polished translation (the translation length would be determined by the level of difficulty of the text)
*a graduate-level seminar in which most of the readings are in the original.

Standardized Placement Exam

Students may arrange to take a standardized placement examination in a second language that qualifies them to begin work at an advanced level.

Choosing a Second Language

Students should consider several factors in choosing among possible languages. Certain areas of specialization may make a specific language essential or highly desirable. Medieval and Early Modern literature specialists would be well advised to learn Latin, for example, and Spanish is increasingly necessary for scholars of American Studies. One will normally choose to study the language of a literature one wants to read in the original, or of a country in which one hopes to spend time. Americanists in particular can expect to have opportunities to lecture abroad in their field.