Apr 18, 2024  
Graduate Record 2005-2006 
Graduate Record 2005-2006 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

English Language and Literature

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Prospective students should be aware that the deadline for application to the graduate program in English is December 3.

Degree Requirements

For more information concerning these degree programs, contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English, 219 Bryan Hall, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400121, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4121; www.engl.virginia.edu/graduatestudents.

Master of Arts

30 credits required. The only specifically required course is ENCR 801 (Introduction to Literary Research). This three-week course, offered in late August and graded on an S/U basis, is a practical introduction to the techniques and uses of literary scholarship, tied to the resources of the University library system. In addition to ENCR 801, the M.A. requires twenty-four credits at the 500, 700, or 800 level, taken in residence at the University and completed with a grade of B or higher. These courses must satisfy the following distribution requirements:

  1. two courses, each in a different period of British literature before 1800
  2. one course in the history of criticism or literary theory

A three-credit course of independent research (which may involve the writing of a thesis or preparation for an oral examination or a pedagogical project) completes the thirty-credit requirement for the degree. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences allows no transfer credit toward the M.A. Students who receive two or more failing grades are not permitted to remain in the program.

The foreign language requirement for the M.A. is normally satisfied by passing a ninety-minute examination, administered by the appropriate language department at the University and designed to ascertain the student’s ability to translate prose (with the aid of a dictionary); a satisfactory grade automatically fulfills half the foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. Students not proceeding to the doctoral program, however, may also satisfy the M.A. requirement with courses taken as undergraduates: twelve semester credits at any level with a grade of B or higher in the final six credits or a grade of B or higher in intermediate or advanced course work.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Candidates approved by the creative writing committee must complete a 24-credit/two year program in residence at the University of Virginia. All work must be completed and the degree received within five years of beginning the program. There is no foreign language requirement. A thesis in poetry, prose, or playwriting and an oral examination are required. Deadline for applications to the M.F.A. Program and for the Hoyns Fellowships is January 1. The M.F.A. Program accepts only fall admissions.

Doctor of Philosophy (Language, Literature, and Research)

In addition to the general University requirements for the Ph.D. degree, the candidate must normally satisfy the following requirements:

I. Research Course: All entering doctoral candidates, including those who have earned an M.A. degree, must take ENCR 801, Introduction to Literary Research, a three-credit course for an S/U grade. This is usually offered at the end of August before the fall semester begins. (See Master of Arts requirements).

II. General Coursework: Doctoral candidates who come to the program without an M.A. must take twelve graded courses (at the 500, 700, 800, or 900 level) in graduate English or approved related courses, in addition to ENCR 801 in the first semester and ENGL 998 in the fall of the fourth year. These courses must be chosen to satisfy the M.A. distribution requirement. In the first semester, they enroll in three courses plus ENCR 801. In the following three semesters, they enroll in three courses plus ENGL 991, Independent Research, a place-holding course that fills out the number of fee-carrying credits required by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students must take care to enroll in a total of four ENGL 991 courses; the department provides guidelines to help plan enrollment for the right combinations of credits.

Normally, students who enter the doctoral program with the M.A. degree in hand will be allotted the equivalent of a year’s course credits, and will enroll in six graded courses at the 500, 700, 800, or 900 level, plus ENCR 801 and ENGL 998. These “M.A. transfer” students are required to take two ENGL 991 fee-carrying courses.

III. Additional Coursework, Contiguity, and Seminar Requirements: All doctoral candidates audit two courses during the third year (or the year after full-time coursework is completed). In addition, students take ENGL 998, the Dissertation Seminar, during the fall of their fourth year (or the fall after taking the oral examination and before the dissertation presentation). The entire record of a doctoral student’s coursework (including audits or transfer credits) needs to satisfy two other requirements. The transcript must include three 900-level seminars, and it must reflect what is termed “contiguity”: two courses each must belong to two fields contiguous to the student’s major field. The relevance of the two related fields may be temporal, geographical, or theoretical/methodological. Often, the Renaissance scholar will take two courses in Medieval literature, and two in the eighteenth century, but a student of the nineteenth-century American novel might offer two courses in nineteenth-century British literature, and a course in narrative theory and a course theorizing a genre related to the novel.

IV. Orals: Students must pass a two-hour qualifying oral examination, consisting of two parts: historical teaching and research field, and other teaching and research field. The second field may be a genre, a historical field, or any professional specialization of substance and breadth. Lists are prepared in consultation with a dissertation committee of three faculty members.

V. Dissertation: Doctoral students prepare a prospectus for a dissertation, which is subject to the approval of the three-person dissertation committee. Within a calendar year of the approval of the prospectus, candidates offer a public presentation of conference-paper length at a forum open to members of the department (this is not an examination). The completed dissertation is read by the dissertation committee and a member of the faculty from another department, and the candidate meets with them for a defense of the project. Completion of the dissertation requirement depends on the approval of its final form by all four faculty appointed for the defense. (Other members of the University community may attend a defense at the invitation of the candidate, subject to the decision of the committee and fourth reader as to whether the defense shall be private.)

VI. Foreign Language: Demonstrate either a “reading knowledge” of two languages or a “mastery” of one. The candidate may demonstrate “mastery” by either

  1. achieving passing grades in two graduate semester-courses in French or German literature offered in the foreign language itself (not in translation) and taken at the University of Virginia. Such courses, which may also be counted toward completion of the course requirements for the Ph.D. in English, must be approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies, or
  2. passing a two-hour examination (administered by the language department in question) designed to ascertain the student’s ability to read literary and critical texts in the foreign language (with the aid of a dictionary) and to write discursively in that language.

Under the two language option, one of the languages offered must be French, German or Latin. The second language may be French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Latin, or Greek. (Students who wish to pursue their research in the medieval period must pass the locally administered Latin examination.) For the second language, the department also considers petitions to substitute a language not mentioned above, but appropriate to the candidate’s field of study.

Under the two language option, the candidate demonstrates “reading knowledge” of the languages by passing a ninety-minute examination in each, administered by the appropriate language department at the University and designed to ascertain the student’s ability to translate prose (with the aid of a dictionary).

The full foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. must be completed before the student is permitted to take the doctoral oral examination.

Students may not satisfy the foreign language requirements through qualifying examinations taken at other universities.

VII. Pedagogy: Gain teaching experience by assisting with instruction of undergraduate courses. Second year Ph.D. students enroll in ENPG 885 concurrently with their teaching assignment in a historical survey or Shakespeare lecture course. The requirements of this course consist of staff meetings and class preparation, and it fulfills 3 of the total semester credits required for Ph.D. coursework. Students also participate in systematic training in writing instruction.

Course Descriptions

Certain graduate courses are offered in alternative years or are temporarily suspended when the instructor is on leave of absence or for other reasons. The program of course offerings is available in early May, on application to the department. With the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies, courses offered by other departments may be allowed toward an advanced degree in English.

Prerequisite to courses numbered 801 to 899: the bachelor’s degree, with a major in English or its equivalent of 24 credits of English courses above the required level. Prerequisite to courses numbered 901 to 999: the M.A. degree in English, or permission of the instructor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

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