The Department of English offers two graduate degrees, an M.A. in English and an MFA in Creative Writing. Teaching assistantships are available in both. In addition, the Department's tutoring program, the Writer's Resource Lab, employs a number of graduate and undergraduate students each semester. Application information may be obtained from the Department office, (562) 985-4223.
The Department of English offers graduate study leading to the Master of Arts degree. The candidate must satisfy the general requirements stated in this Catalog as well as the specific departmental requirements stated here and, more fully, in the Master of Arts brochure issued by the department (copies of which are available upon request). Applicants must submit to the University’s Office of Admissions and Records a graduate application (available at that office or on-line). Applicants must also submit two sets of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. One set must be submitted to the Office of Enrollment Services and another set must be sent directly to the Department of English. The deadline for submitting an application for Fall semester is May 1; the deadline to apply for Spring is October 15.
An applicant may be admitted to the M.A. program in English only after satisfying University requirements for admission and the following prerequisites to this degree:
1. A Bachelor of Arts degree in English from an accredited institution or a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with 24 units of upper-division English courses that offer a broad coverage of English and American literature.
Any deficiencies will be determined by the Department Graduate Advisor in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee. Courses used to remove course or unit deficiencies may not be included in the M.A. program.
2. A 3.3 GPA in upper-division English courses.
3. Applicants who do not have the required minimum GPA may take additional coursework to raise their GPA to the minimum. Applicants whose upper-division English GPA is at least 3.0 may be admitted to the MA program if they take the GRE General Test and achieve a minimum score of 580 in Verbal Reasoning and 5.0 in Analytical Writing.
4. All applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must receive a minimum score of 600 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (applicants taking the Computer-Based Test of English as a Foreign Language must present a score of 250 or above; applicants taking the Internet-Based Test of English as a Foreign Language must present a score of 100 or above).
After Admission to Program
Students must be formally admitted to the program before they can enroll in ENGL 696, which is prerequisite or corequisite to all other 600-level courses.
Advancement to Candidacy
The Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing is the recognized terminal degree which offers the minimum professional training deemed necessary by the major schools in the United States for university and college teaching and for positions in the publishing industry. It is also the degree most frequently held by professional writers.
Criteria for Admission to the Program
1. Students applying for admission to the MFA degree program generally have completed a bachelor's or master's degree in English from an accredited institution with a 3.2 GPA in upper-division English courses, meet university admission requirements, and submit evidence of creative ability in fiction or poetry (10 pages poetry, 20-30 pages fiction). For each annual cycle, applications are due by February 15, when review will begin.
2. When an undergraduate degree has been completed in a program having different requirements from those of CSULB or in some field other than English, additional preparation may be required before the student can be considered for classified status in the degree program.
3. At the time of the student's conditional classification into the program, an examining diagnostic committee consisting of at least two instructors in the student's field of specialization and at least one other faculty member must approve and evaluate the student's work no later than the end of his/her first full year in residence and judge whether the student should continue in the program.
4. In order to obtain a full classified status, the student must obtain satisfactory evaluation from his/her committee at the end of the first full year in residence. Both the student's coursework and the student's portfolio will be evaluated.
The appeals procedure for unfavorable portfolio evaluation is as follows:
If the student feels that his/her work has been unfairly evaluated, that student has recourse any time to discuss the matter informally with the MFA Coordinator in order to resolve the issue. If the issue cannot be resolved on that basis, the following procedure shall be followed:
5. Advancement to candidacy
6. Up to 24 units of credit from a Master of Arts program in Creative Writing may be acceptable after review and approval by the faculty evaluation committee.
7. Requirements for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. The MFA degree is a sixty-unit degree normally requiring full-time residency. Course requirements are arranged according to the following structure.
A. Core (39 units with a faculty advisor consultation):
Electives (21 units chosen on the basis of consultation with a faculty advisor) chosen from the following:
* may be counted for graduate credit
B. Both fiction and poetry specializations share a common core of courses which offer study in literary history, theory, and research. The remainder of the courses offer students the opportunity to develop additional skills in their particular area of related interest. The program culminates in a major creative project (novel, short story collection, or poetry collection) of publishable quality.