5: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

General Information | Programs and Degrees Offered | Admission Information
Financial Assistance | Graduate Academic Regulations
Requirements for Specific Graduate Degrees | Departments and Programs | Faculty

Non-Departmental | Anthropology | Art | Asian and Middle Eastern | Asian Studies | Astronomy
Biochemistry | Biology | Biological and Physical Sciences | Biophysics | Cell and Molecular Biology
Cell Biology | Chemistry | Classics | Commerce | Drama | Economics | English | Environmental Sciences
French | German | Government and Foreign Affairs | Health Evaluation Sciences | History | Linguistics
Mathematics | Microbiology | Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics | Music | Neuroscience
Pharmacology | Philosophy | Physics | Psychology | Religious Studies | Russian and East European Studies
Slavic | Sociology | Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese | Statistics | Surgery

Department of English Language and Literature
Course Descriptions | Departmental Degree Requirements

Departmental Degree Requirements

For the Degree of Master of Arts   Candidates are required to take 27 credits of courses at the 500, 700, and 800 level, including ENCR 801. An M.A. thesis may be written for course credit, but is not required. During the period of registration the candidate should confer with the Director of Graduate Studies in English. An oral examination is required as well as a “reading knowledge” of one foreign language, which may be demonstrated as follows:
  1. By passing the locally administered translation examination in the language, with the help of a dictionary; this examination normally consists of one or more pages of critical prose.
  2. By passing with a B average or better, here or in prior work elsewhere, two semesters of an intermediate-level (i.e., second year) undergraduate course in the language, earning a grade of at least a B in the final semester. If the student was exempted from the first semester of such a course, a B in the final semester will meet the requirement.
  3. By earning a B or better in an advanced course in stylistics or literature in that language, to which a two-semester course of the sort specified in option No. II above is a prerequisite. Such a course taken on the graduate level at this University, may, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, be credited toward the course-hour requirement for the M.A.

For the Degree of Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing   Candidates approved by the creative writing committee must complete a 36-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 February 15. The M.F.A. Program accepts only fall admissions.

For the Degree of 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:

    1. Take a minimum of 42 credits beyond the B.A. in graduate English or approved related courses, including ENCR 801 and ENGL 998.
    2. First-year students must pass ENCR 801 in their first year in residence.
  1. Pass an oral examination in English or in English and American literature, and write a dissertation.
  2. Demonstrate either a “reading knowledge” of two foreign languages or a “mastery” of one foreign language in one of the following ways[1]:
    1. “reading knowledge” of two foreign languages may be demonstrated in any of the ways specified for the M.A. degree, except that in options No. II and No. III, undergraduate course work must have been taken at this University and during—or within five years of the commencement of—a student’s graduate study.
    2. “mastery” of a single foreign language may be demonstrated as follows:
      1. by passing at this University two graduate courses in the literature of the language, or one such course in literature and one in advanced stylistics. The instructors of such courses must certify in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies that the student has in fact demonstrated “mastery” of the language. With the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, the literature course may also be credited toward satisfaction of the course-credit requirement for the Ph.D.
      2. by passing a locally administered written examination in three parts of 40 minutes each: in part one, students, with the aid of a dictionary if they wish, will translate a passage of critical prose fiction; in part two, they will answer, in the foreign language, specific questions meant to test their comprehension of a given poem; in part three, they will write, in the foreign language, a brief critical essay on some larger aspect of the poem.
  3. Doctoral candidates are required, as part of their graduate program, to gain teaching experience by assisting in the instruction of undergraduate courses.

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

For more information concerning these degree programs, consult the department’s booklet entitled Graduate Study in English at the University of Virginia; or write to the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English, 219 Bryan Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903.


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