English

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

CSUN English Department Graduate Program

Q: How many units does it take to complete the English MA Program?

A: 30 graduate units with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Note the MA exam is 3 enrolled units but does not carry unit weight towards degree. Students taking MA exams must take 33 units.

Q: What is the average course load?

A: 2-3 courses per semester.

Q: How long does it take to complete the English MA Program?

A: It typically takes students 2-3 years to complete the English MA Program.

Q: What is a Conditionally Classified student?

A: A Conditionally Classified student has a BA in English or has already completed 24 upper-division approved English semester units with a minimum 3.0 GPA, and needs to fulfill one or more of the following criteria:

  1. A passing score on the Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) OR a score of 3 or higher on the GRE-Analytical Exam
  2. A GPA of 3.6 or greater in upper division English and a 3.0 in their last 60 units OR score in the 80th percentile in the verbal portion of the general test of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) 

Q: If I am a Conditionally Classified student, when should I contact the English department Graduate program to request for classification?

A: University policy states, “No more than 12 units of work taken prior to attaining fully classified status will be applied to a master’s program.” If students have completed the requirements, they must contact the Graduate Secretary at (818) 677-3433 to request for classification and to make sure that the department has received the appropriate paperwork for verification.

Q: What is a Classified student?

A: A Classified student has fulfilled the following three criteria:

  1. A BA in English or have already completed 24 upper-division approved English semester units (UD English GPA minimum required- 3.0)
  2. A passing score on the Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) OR a score of 3 or higher on the GRE-Analytical Exam
  3. A GPA of 3.6 or greater in upper division English and a 3.0 in their last 60 units OR score in the 80th percentile in the verbal portion of the general test of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) 

Q: When do I have to take the GRE and where can I find information on the GRE General test?

A: Conditionally classified students who do not have a GPA of 3.6 or higher in their 24 upper-division approved English semester units must achieve the requisite score on the verbal portion of the general test of the GRE, dependent upon their GPA in their first twelve units of approved English MA coursework. The required GRE score is detailed in the chart below.

GPAGRE Verbal Score
3.6-4.00Exam Waived
3.5-3.59152
3.40-3.49153
3.30-3.39153
3.20-3.29154
3.10-3.19156
3.00-3.09157

For GRE General testing information, registration and materials visit http://www.ets.org/gre 

Q: When do I have to take the WPE and where can I get information on the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Examination?

A: Students who have graduated from a California State University (CSU) have fulfilled the WPE requirement. Students who receive a score of 3 or higher on the GRE-Analytical Exam are exempt from this requirement.  All other students must receive a passing score (8) on the WPE to become classified.

Q: Can I transfer graduate courses into the English MA program from another university?

A: Students may transfer up to 9 semester units of graduate work into the program. Please supply syllabi and course description for Graduate Advisor to evaluate. Please note: courses cannot be older than 7 years when completing program.

Q: When should I seek advisement from the Graduate Advisor?

A: We encourage students to meet with the advisor every semester, however definitely after you have completed 12-15 units of graduate study.

Q: What are the English MA program options?

A: Literature, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric and Composition. Students may pick up a Guideline packet for Creative Writing or Rhetoric and Composition from the English Graduate Office, Sierra Tower 705 or visit http://www.csun.edu/humanities/english/graduate-programs.

Q: How and when do I apply for the Creative Writing or Rhetoric and Composition options?

A: Students should apply by submitting a Qualifying Writing/Work Sample during their first semester in the graduate program. The deadlines for submitting the writing samples can be found on the MA Program Calendar of Important Dates. You can access the calendar here http://www.csun.edu/humanities/english/graduate-programs or pick one up from the English department Graduate Office, Sierra Tower 705.

Q: How do I apply for the TA program?

A: Notices for application are posted in the English department and announced in graduate classes during each Fall semester. T.A. Program Packets can be obtained from the Composition Secretary, ST 716, or from the English Department Graduate Office, ST 705. For information, you can contact Composition Secretary at (818) 677-4111. Submission packets are due in November. The deadlines can be found on the MA Program Calendar of Important Dates. Please submit application packets to Department of English, Sierra Tower 716.

Q: How do I get permission to take a 400-level course?

A: Students must pick up a 400-Level Course Consent Form from the English Dept. Graduate Office, ST 705, to be submitted to the Graduate Advisor for approval by the end of the first week of the semester.

Note: In all options, with consent of the Graduate Advisor, two courses from the 400 level in English that have been approved for graduate credit may be chosen. These 400 level courses may not be used for the two graduate level (500-600) literature requirements. Check form for other restrictions.

Q: When should I complete my core requirements?

A: Graduate students are encouraged to complete their core requirements by the time they complete their first 21 units. If students are approaching the final semester of their program and still need to take a required class before they can graduate, the department may be able to reserve space for them in an upcoming section of the course. Students should contact the Graduate Advisor and fill out appropriate paperwork before the last week of the current semester.

Q: When should I make an appointment to draw up a contract/formal program with the Graduate Advisor?

A: Classified graduate students who have completed 12-15 units of graduate study should make an appointment, in order to draw up a contract (similar to a “grad check” for undergraduates). Students must complete this requirement in order to fulfill stated university policy: “University policy requires that a formal program be prepared for all students pursuing a graduate degree. This contract is necessary to process the application for graduation.

Q: When should I apply for Graduation?

A: Students must submit an Application for Graduation with the Office of Admissions & Records one year prior to graduation. If you do not apply for graduation on time your name will not be listed in the commencement ceremony program. Also, graduate students are required to be enrolled during the semester of graduation. 

Q: What is the 7-year rule?

A: Courses completed more than seven years prior to the date on which all requirements for the degree are met cannot be counted to meet unit requirements unless the student can show competency in the content of the outdated courses. Course validation requires departmental approval. A maximum of nine units taken in residency at CSUN may be validated in this manner. See the Graduate Programs section of the current catalog for more information.

Q: How do I fulfill my Culminating Experience?

A: Creative Writing option students take the graduate project (698D). Literature and Rhetoric/Composition option students can choose between taking the graduate project (698D) or taking a comprehensive exam (697C).

Literature and Rhetoric/Composition option students who wish to take the comprehensive exam need to register for 697C Directed Comprehensive Studies the semester in which they will take the test. English 697C is a three-unit course for purposes of tuition, however, these three units do not count toward the degree; therefore, students taking the MA Exam MUST take 30 units of coursework. Students taking the graduate project (698D) 27 units of coursework and 3 units of grad project course. Contact the Graduate Advisor regarding the Graduate Project and MA Literature Exam. Contact the Director of the Composition program regarding the MA Rhetoric/Composition Exam.