Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Arts in English (M.A., Literature OR Rhetoric & Writing Studies) requires two steps.

1)  University Admission

Those seeking admission to the Graduate Program in English should submit completed application forms (available online at to the University Admissions Office. The university will require transcripts and an application fee. International students may also need to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score. Please contact International Student Services and Programs for current requirements for international students.

2)  Department (M.A. Program) Admission

Admission to the Master of Arts program in English assumes preparation equivalent to an undergraduate major in English or a related field in the liberal arts. Students who do not already have a bachelor's degree in English will need to take 16 units of upper-division undergraduate preparation in order to attain classified standing and before being allowed to enroll in English graduate seminars. These courses are prerequisites and will not count toward the 30 units of the M.A. Such students must successfully complete the following prerequisite courses:

  1. ENGL 105, Introduction to Literary Analysis
  2. British Literature: One of ENGL 146, 147, 150, 151, 152, or 156
  3. American Literature: One of ENGL 153, 154, or 155
  4. World Literature: One of ENGL 112, 113, 114, or 167.

In lieu of meeting the above undergraduate course requirements for classified standing, students may take the Subject Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and submit a score above the 50th percentile. A GRE score in literature is not required for admissions into the program, but is recommended for students intending to pursue a doctorate.

To achieve classified standing, both English and non-English majors must have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better in their major. International students must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. In addition, all candidates must submit a writing sample to the graduate committee, whose approval is necessary for admission to the program. This writing sample is due to the department by March 31 for admission the following fall semester, or by October 15 for admission the following spring.

The admission writing sample should be devoted to a sustained analysis (8-12. pages in length) of a text or related texts; it should demonstrate comprehensibility in exposition, clear and logical organization and presentation of ideas, and should establish a sound scholarly argument with thorough and complete documentation. The critical analysis should be modeled on MLA style guidelines and will reflect a knowledge and awareness of contemporary analytical theory in literary studies.

The admission writing sample will be evaluated by members of the English Department to determine whether the applicant is denied entry into the M.A. program or admitted under either Classified or Conditionally Classified Standing. After completing suggested coursework and obtaining no less than a B in such course(s), those admitted under Conditionally Classified Standing will be given one opportunity to submit one additional revised or new writing sample for review. If the second writing sample is not approved, the candidate will not be admitted into the program.

The writing sample should contain (1) the applicant's name, (2) address, (3) Email address and (4) phone numbers and be mailed to:

Graduate Coordinator
California State University, Fresno
Department of English
5451 North Backer Avenue M/S PB98
Fresno, CA 93740-8001

The writing sample may also be submitted electronically to Dr. John C. Beynon, Graduate Coordinator, M.A. English Program.