The MA in literary studies at Colorado State University is designed to facilitate the intellectual growth of passionate teachers, insightful scholars, and engaged public citizens. Graduates have gone on to highly-ranked PhD programs, publishing houses, and careers in the non-profit sector; whatever your aspirations, the training you receive at CSU will prepare you for a more vibrant future.
Faculty in the literature program approach texts from a wide range of methodological approaches, and graduate courses offer students an opportunity to follow their own interests in fields such as contemporary cultural studies, ecocriticism, critical theory, gender studies, and postcolonial theory. Although the members of our faculty research and teach a broad range of writing in English, we have a particular strength in early British and American literatures. Our faculty is committed to maintaining a low ratio of graduate students to professors to ensure that teachers and advisors can devote significant time and attention to each student’s work: we cultivate an intimate environment and challenge every student to reach his or her potential.
Testimonial: “What I have most valued about the CSU English MA in Literature program is the strong, supportive community. Even though CSU is a large campus the department is a close-knit group of students and faculty. My professors have always been eager to help me pursue new academic interests, often going above and beyond to put me in touch with people and research that I otherwise wouldn’t encounter. I’ve enjoyed getting to know both my fellow students and professors through class discussions, office hours, and department events and know that I’ve made a number of lifelong friends through the program.” ~Kim Daggett, student, Literature program
Our requirements are modest and focused, and the courses we offer change regularly. We encourage students to use the flexibility of our program to develop an individualized program of study that may be focused on a topic, author, genre, historical period, or an interdisciplinary subject. Students interested in interdisciplinary topics may take courses in other departments and in other programs in the English Department, including courses on topics such as literacy theory, computers and writing, teaching English as a foreign language, creative writing, and English education. We are especially proud to offer the Peace Corps Masters International degree (PCMI), which offers students the opportunity to enhance their degree program with experiential learning.
If you apply for and are awarded a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA), you will teach in the University’s composition program. Graduate Teaching Assistantships are available on a competitive basis, and most begin in the fall semester. Please apply by January 15 if you wish to be considered. Other possible sources of funding include working as a CSU Writing Center consultant and departmental scholarships.
Testimonial: “I came to CSU’s Master’s program in English Literature with my mind in the midst of balancing act about my future. With a BA in secondary education but an obsession with the experience of scholarly research and writing, I entered the program with the belief that I would have two years to decide which I loved more: teaching or research. What I encountered, however, was not that I had to choose whether to teach or to research, but a faculty, group of students, and experience that worked to see how the two are intimately and beautifully connected… Faculty worked within each of my graduate seminars to stimulate my own interests as a scholar, and I was encouraged as a teacher to allow these learning experiences to inform my teaching. By the time I was working on my final project, I was not only assured that my passions were not in conflict in a constant balancing act, but were in fact complementary strengths. I am now pursuing a PhD in English Literature at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and I know that my time at CSU prepared me for the admissions process as well as the work entailed by this pursuit.” ~Katie Adkison, Literature program alum and PhD student at UC-Santa Barbara
We encourage our students to pursue opportunities for professionalization relevant to their career goals. Students who wish to pursue a career in education may also earn credit as a teaching assistant in a literature classroom, or serve as a faculty research assistant. A range of on and off campus internships offer the opportunity to work in publishing and other relevant fields.
Upon admission, each incoming student is assigned a faculty advisor who can offer counsel on matters such as course selection, professional development, and campus resources. At some point during the first year, students select a permanent advisor, with whom he or she will work on either a thesis (approximately 100 pp) or project (approximately 25-30 pp). Prospective students with questions about the program should first write to Marnie.Leonard@Colostate.edu, who will put you in touch with prospective advisors for additional information.
Testimonial: “As a graduate student of Literature at CSU, I was extremely impressed with the wide range of seminars from which to choose. From a feminist course grounded in Dickinson and Stein to an Early Modern Women Writers’ course to a course devoted entirely to Ezra Pound, I was able to create my own pathway to success. My cohort became my family; we studied together and have remained close all these years. We have all chosen different career paths. I chose teaching at the secondary level. Although my students will never be exposed to Foucault or Said or Butler, their ideas permeate my teaching. I have discussions with my students to view everything around them – billboards, movies, their very words – as ‘text.’ My experience in the M.A. program is the single-most important factor in my success as a teacher, a leader, and a coach.” ~Steven Parker, alum and award-winning teacher, Kinard Middle School, Fort Collins