Catalog 2010-2012


Students interested in this program must submit a completed Application for Admission to Graduate Study and should contact the Department of English Language and Literature* for any other admission requirements.  Graduate information and application for graduate admission can be found at  (*Plans are in progress to consolidate the Department of English Language and Literature and the Department of Modern Languages by June 30, 2011.)

The Graduate Record Examination (General Test) is not required for admission to the program.

This major in English is available on the thesis and non-thesis options, and degree applicants choose one of three emphases (see below). The thesis option requires a minimum of 30-36 semester hours, depending on the emphasis chosen; the non-thesis option requires a minimum of 30-33 semester hours, depending on the emphasis chosen. A minimum of 15 hours of 200/6000-level course work is required for each option.

The three emphases are the following: (1) Literature Emphasis, minimum 30 semester hours - available on both thesis and non-thesis options; (2) Creative Writing Emphasis, minimum 36 semester hours - available on thesis option only; and (3) Teaching English in Secondary Schools-Middle/Junior High and Senior High (TESS), minimum 33 semester hours - available on non-thesis option only.

Graduate students are required to meet with their advisors for a program approval interview.  Students should complete this interview during the first semester of their course work.  The department may require an applicant to complete course work in addition to the minimum hours specified for the selected option and emphasis.  More information about this program approval interview is available from the English Graduate Coordinator.

Successful completion of a final written and oral comprehensive examination is required for both the thesis and non-thesis options. In addition, students pursuing the non-thesis option are required to submit a Graduate Student Portfolio and complete an approved research paper. See the English Graduate Coordinator for details.

Native speakers of English must demonstrate proficiency in another language by earning at least a C grade in a second-semester, college-level course or by passing a specially designed examination. Course work taken to satisfy this foreign language requirement does not count toward the number of hours required for completion of the degree major.


For full admission, non-native English speakers must have achieved a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 600 (paper-based)/250 (computer-based), or the equivalent, in order to demonstrate their proficiency in English. A student may be required to take additional English language improvement courses at the discretion of the English Graduate Faculty. Work taken to satisfy the language proficiency requirement does not count toward the minimum of 30 to 36 semester hours required to complete the selected emphasis.

Individuals teaching in Iowa community colleges are not required to hold state issued teaching licenses. However, graduate course work in postsecondary education may strengthen one=s qualifications for teaching at a community college. Contact individual colleges to determine the requirements for teaching appointments at each institution.

Literature Emphasis: Available on both the thesis and non-thesis option.



  English Language and Literature: 620:201.....3 hours

Electives.....27 hours

  Planned with the student's advisor and subject to the approval of the departmental committee: must include 12 hours of 200/6000-level courses in addition to 620:201 (including 6
  hours of 620:299 required for thesis option; no more than 3 hours of 620:299 may be used for the non-thesis option)  

30 hours


Creative Writing Emphasis: Available on the thesis option only.


  English Language and Literature: 620:201.....3 hours

  English Language and Literature: 620:108 or 620:109.....3 hours

  English Language and Literature: 620:174 and/or 620:175.....3 or 6 hours

  English Language and Literature: 620:270.....3 or 6 hours

  Research: 620:299.....6 hours

Electives (planned with student's advisor and subject to approval by thedepartmental committee):

  Literature courses from English Language and Literature (must include 6 hours of 200/6000-level courses).....12 hours

  Literature, writing, or culture from a department other than English or a non-literature course from English.....3 hours

36 hours


The required thesis shall consist of a collection of short stories, a novel or novel excerpt, a collection of poems, a book-length poem, or a combination of fiction and poetry. Critical apparatuses - such as prologue, introduction, epilogue, notes, bibliography - are not required within the thesis. A formal oral defense of the thesis is required, and a public reading of selected portions of the thesis is recommended


Teaching English in the Secondary Schools-Middle/Junior High and Senior High (TESS) Emphasis: Available on the non-thesis option only.

Teacher licensure is a prerequisite for completing the program approval process for this emphasis. Also prerequisite is the following undergraduate course work: one course in TESOL/Applied Linguistics; one course in advanced writing; two courses in British literature; one course in American literature; one course in modern or ethnic literature; one course in young adult literature; one course in the teaching of writing; and 620:190.

No more than 3 hours of prerequisite courses can be applied to the minimum hours required for this emphasis. Further deficiencies must be made up in addition to the required courses listed below. Students who have not taken all the prerequisite work should consult at once with the English Graduate Coordinator in order to plan appropriate course work.



  Literacy Education: 230:117.....3 hours

  English Language and Literature: 620:201; 620:291.....6 hours

  English Language and Literature: 200/6000-level literature seminars.....9 hours

  TESOL/Applied Linguistics: 630:190; 630:143 or 630:192.....6 hours

Electives*.....9 hours

33 hours

*Students who have not completed 280:138 in English are required to take 620:297 for 1 hour. A student who has completed any of the required courses at the undergraduate level may elect other departmental graduate level courses to complete the required minimum total of 33 hours.