Advising Document for M.A. English, MTL

Master’s Degree in English, Concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures

Advising Document

Supplements information on the Departmental Website at:

The Master’s Degree in English with a Concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures is an advanced degree focusing on U.S. ethnic and world literatures from local, regional, national, transnational, and global perspectives. In our program, the approach to understanding and appreciating literatures is interdisciplinary, involving the study of historical, political, artistic, geographic, and environmental contexts, as well as literary aesthetics and interpretation.  Methodologies are drawn from literary studies, cultural studies, colonial/postcolonial/diasporic studies, and discourse analysis, among others.

The Master’s Degree in English with a Concentration in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures provides excellent preparation for the pursuit of the doctoral degree and a wide range of professions, including secondary and higher education, law, public policy, international service, business, or any profession that would benefit from an understanding of multicultural and global peoples, arts, traditions, histories, interactions, and issues as represented and interpreted through literature and criticism.

The Master’s degree is available as both a campus program (requiring attendance in face-to-face classes on the ECU campus and offering the possibility of research and teaching assistantships), and as a Distance Education (DE) degree offered fully online. (Priority for registration in DE classes is given to students who are officially admitted as DE students.)

On admission to the program, you will be advised initially by Dr. Richard Taylor ( or Dr. Ellen Arnold ( As your research interests begin to focus, you will receive an advisor in your area of interest.

Important Note: As soon as you are admitted, you should begin checking your ECU email account regularly for important communications about registration, program requirements, etc.

Your course of study should include the following considerations:

Requirements:  Total of 33 hours

  • Core:  ENGL 7005 Bibliography and Methods                                                         3 sh.

This course lays the foundation for every other course you will take, so you should take it as early in your course of study as possible.  ENGL 7005 should be available in on-campus and DE formats at least once a year.

  • Electives (Courses in any English concentration or in another department appropriate to the student’s academic and career goals, selected in consultation with adviser.)    6 sh.

If you are a campus student with a Teaching Assistantship, you must take ENGL 6625 Teaching Composition for 3 sh of your 6 sh of non-Concentration electives.

It is recommended that you take either ENGL 7070 Literary Theory or ENGL 7080 Cultural Studies Theory and Method.  The study of theory provides conceptual foundations for the way readers approach texts and for the connection between texts and cultures; and it provides a philosophical basis for the way we approach and conceive of our work as scholars.

Other English courses that mesh especially well with the concentration include:

ENGL 6215 American Literature to 1830

ENGL 6515 Advanced Studies in Children’s Literature (race and ethnicity in

children’s literature)

ENGL 7630 Cultural Rhetoric and Writing

Electives may also include any course in the English program of particular interest or usefulness to you, or courses in other departments such as History,            Psychology, Education, Political Science, Foreign Language and Literatures (except FORL 6000, though it may be used to meet the requirement for reading knowledge of a           language other than English).that are especially suited to your research or professional interests, as approved by your MTL advisor and the Graduate Director. FORL 6000 meets the foreign language requirement, but it does not count as part of the required 33 s.h. for the MA.

Important Note: For the purposes of financial aid, fulltime status is two courses per session during the summer (a very demanding schedule) and three courses during the spring and fall semesters (the maximum recommended).

  • Concentration

MTL courses selected from: 18 sh

ENGL 6330 Studies in Latino/a Literatures

ENGL 6340 Ethnic American Literatures

ENGL 6350 Studies in Native American Literatures

ENGL 6360 World Literatures Written in English

ENGL 6370 Caribbean Literatures

ENGL 6380 Studies in African Literatures

ENGL 6420 Studies in Asian American Literatures

ENGL 6450 Studies in World Indigenous Literatures

ENGL 6460 Studies in African American Literature

ENGL 7300 Directed Reading in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures

ENGL 7350 Seminar in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures

ENGL 7365 Selected Topics in Multicultural and Transnational Literatures

The Concentration consists of two threads:  Multicultural (usually understood to refer to U.S. ethnic literatures); and Transnational (world literatures from regional, national, international, diasporic, colonial/postcolonial, and global perspectives).  ENGL 6340 and ENGL 6360 provide cross-cultural comparative introductions to these two threads, and it is recommended that you take these two courses early in your studies.  The ENGL 7350 Seminar weaves the two threads together, again in cross-cultural comparative contexts, and is recommended as a capstone to your course of study.  (However, it won’t always be possible to take the courses in this order due to scheduling constraints.)

Note: Descriptions of courses offered in a given semester will be found on the Departmental web page:

Important Note: Save all papers and assignments (originals and graded copies with professors’ comments) that you complete in the program.  You are likely to need them for your Thesis or CAP, for recommendation letters, and/or for doctoral program applications.

  • Comprehensive Assessment                                                                                     6 s.h.

There are two ways to meet the comprehensive assessment requirement:  1) the Thesis, or 2) the Comprehensive Assessment Project (which includes two options):

  1. The Thesis requires 6 s.h. of ENGL 7000 Thesis. The Thesis involves:
  • A Prospectus Meeting with a committee of three faculty members from the Dept. of English, at which the student presents and receives feedback and suggestions on a Prospectus (3 -5 double-spaced pages) and Working Bibliography. The student selects a Thesis Director who will assist the student in choosing the rest of the committee. A fourth committee member may be invited from the English Dept., from another ECU Dept., or from another institution, who offers expertise beyond what the other members may be able to provide. The Prospectus Meeting will be held no later than the third week of classes during the semester in which the student plans to complete the thesis, and may be conducted by conference call for DE students.
  • The Thesis (approximately 50-75 pages, excluding prefatory materials, references, and appendices), prepared in accordance with the requirements and directions for electronic submission provided on the English Dept. Webpage at: Any formatting issue not covered here should follow current MLA style. The final draft of the thesis should be submitted to the Committee three weeks prior to the Defense date.
  • An Oral Defense meeting with the Thesis Committee (1 – 1 ½ hours), which may be conducted by conference call or videoconference for DE students.

  1. The Comprehensive Assessment Project options require an additional 6 s.h. of coursework (to replace thesis hours).  These can be any appropriate courses in ENGL or another Department, as long as all other requirements for the MA have been met.  (Note:  No more than 6 s.h. total taken outside the English Department can count towards the MA.)  CAPs should be formatted according to MLA style.

A.  The Portfolio option involves:

  • A Planning Meeting with a committee of three faculty from the Dept. of English at which the student presents a Draft Portfolio of 6-8 representative seminar papers or projects that the student is considering for revision and inclusion in the Portfolio (these should include professors’ comments and grades) and a Working Bibliography for the Framing Essay. This meeting will be held no later than the third week of classes during the semester in which the student plans to defend. The Planning Meeting may be conducted by conference call for DE students.
  • The Revised Portfolio, which includes the portfolio papers/projects, edited in accordance with the recommendations of the committee at the Planning Meeting, and an 8-10 page Framing Essay that synthesizes the Portfolio papers within the context of the student’s program of study. The Revised Portfolio and Framing Essay will be submitted to the committee no less than two weeks before the oral defense is scheduled.
  • An Oral Defense meeting with the committee (1-1 ½ hours), during which the student discusses with the committee the Portfolio in relationship to the Framing Essay and the student’s graduate coursework. The Defense may be conducted by conference call or videoconference for DE students.

B.  The Professional Project option might be chosen by students with specific professional needs or interests, such as the design of a curriculum, a teaching unit, or other workplace project.  The Project requires an additional 6 s.h. hours of coursework (one of which may be a Directed Reading related to Project research) and:

  • A Planning Meeting, with a committee of three English faculty chosen according to procedures outlined for the Thesis Committee, to be held no later than the third week of classes during the semester in which the student plans to complete the Project.  At this meeting the student presents a Project Outline (2-3 pp.) and a Working Bibliography of sources. The Planning Meeting may be conducted by email and/or conference call for DE students.
  • A Framing Essay (5-6 pp.) relating the project to the Bibliography and explaining the theoretical framework of the project; and the Project itself (18-25 pp.) to be submitted to the committee no less than two weeks before the Defense is scheduled.
  • An Oral Defense (1-1 ½ hrs.), at which the student presents the Project and its theoretical framework to the committee and answers questions posed by the committee related to the problem the project addresses, the methodology used, the utility of the project/application in curriculum or other work environments, and the relationship of the project to the student’s graduate coursework.  The Defense may be conducted by conference call or videoconference for DE students.

Distance Education students are invited (but not required) to come to campus for the Prospectus/Planning Meeting and/or Defense of the Thesis or CAP (or at any stage of their program) for a more personal exchange with faculty.

Important Note: You should put your committee together and have significant work done on your prospectus or CAP plan the semester before the one in which you intend to complete and defend your Thesis or CAP.  It is also a very good idea to schedule the Prospectus or Planning Meeting itself the previous semester as well; although it is not required, this plan allows a much more reasonable period of time for completion of your project.

  • Reading knowledge of a language other than English

Students seeking to demonstrate a reading knowledge of a foreign language will be assessed in one of the following ways:

A. Passing an advanced course in a foreign language (ECU equivalent of 2000-level or above) within five years prior to admission to the graduate school.

B. Passing a 2000-level course at ECU approved by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in a language approved by the DGS.

C. Passing a graduate-level reading knowledge course offered by the ECU Department of      Foreign Languages and Literatures (currently FORL 6000).  FORL 6000 is offered regularly as a DE course (usually in the Spring), and is the simplest way for DE students to meet this requirement. For further information about this course, see

D. Passing a translation project supervised by a member of the ECU faculty who has been approved by the DGS. The project will be a translation of scholarly prose chosen by the student in consultation with the faculty member. The translation should be 2500 words (approximately ten double-spaced pages). The supervising faculty member will notify the DGS in writing of the successful completion of the project.

For additional information, please see the Multicultural and Transnational Literatures Concentration website: and the Graduate Catalog.

If you have questions concerning the admissions process or registration, please contact the Graduate English Office Administrative Assistant, Shavon Carey ( or; 252-328-6660) or the Graduate Director, Dr. Tom Shields (

Transfer Credit: If you have taken courses elsewhere that you would like to be considered for transfer credit, after being admitted to the program, consult with your advisor about what courses you would like to be reviewed and whether the courses would be appropriate substitutes for any of the required courses or would be free electives. After consultation with your advisor, forward your request that transfer credits be accepted to the Graduate English Office ( to ECU policy, only 6 s.h. of transfer credit can be used towards the MA in English. For more information, see the ECU Graduate Catalog at

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