2 Requirements of the Graduate Program

The following general information applies to all graduate students and relates to advising, courses, course requirements and distribution areas.


Students assume a responsibility to work with the English Graduate Program Advisor to ensure they understand and comply in a timely manner with all requirements of the English Graduate Program and the College of Graduate Studies. Failure to do so may jeopardize degree candidacy or planned graduation dates. Completing the requirements for a graduate degree involves planning for courses, for examinations, and for other candidacy requirements (including world language requirements).

Students who wish to change their degree options after they have begun the program must work with the Graduate Advisor to ensure that they meet all requirements.

Students should review the section on Academic Regulations and the description of the English Graduate Program in the online Graduate Catalog, where they will find specific requirements for changing the degree program, as well as topics addressed in various sections of this handbook—world language requirements, candidacy forms, advancement to candidacy, graduate examination requirements, etc.

Students who obtain Federal loans for their graduate study should prioritize meeting regularly with the Graduate Advisor because of the strict limitations imposed by Federal loan accountability measures tracked in DegreeWorks.

Degree Requirements in General

Students should become familiar with degree requirements to make sure they proceed efficiently through the graduate program. They should consult the Graduate Advisor upon entering the program about the courses they plan to take. For example, students should make themselves aware of which courses are required for all students, which courses are recommended for particular M.A. emphases, what the distribution requirements are for Ph.D. students, etc.

Students will want to take classes that support their research and professional goals. For example, master’s degree students who plan to teach in secondary education will likely take different courses from those taken by students who plan to enter a doctoral program; the designated emphases in the M.A. program are designed to help students pursue these professional goals. In general, students should take courses that provide a broad foundation as well as courses aimed at their specific interests. No undergraduate courses can be applied toward graduate program requirements.

The Department of English, in conjunction with the university’s Graduate Council, determines credit-hour requirements for both the Master of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy programs. The department also determines specific course requirements and a specified distribution of courses aimed at providing students with an appropriate background for the particular degree program in which they are enrolled. Students should consult the section of the Graduate Catalog entitled “Department/Programs” and scroll down to the heading for English for general information regarding degree requirements as well as the requirements specific to graduate degrees in English.

Students should make themselves aware of the various forms required of graduate students as they progress through their degree programs and the deadlines for filing those forms. Students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with the Graduate Advisor in order to plan ahead for deadlines.

Graduate students who have not been fully admitted into the English graduate program must have the approval of the Graduate Program Director in order to register for graduate-level English classes. Non-degree-seeking graduate students, or students who are seeking admission but have not yet been admitted to the English graduate program, may take no more than six graduate-level credit hours of coursework in English before being fully admitted into the English graduate program, and then only with the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

World Language Requirement

A graduate degree in English carries the expectation of a well rounded general education as well as specialized knowledge of a field, and graduate students in English are expected to possess at least a reading knowledge of one or more world languages. Reading proficiency in a world language is highly desirable for M.A. students, especially those who plan to pursue a Ph.D. It is required for Ph.D. students.

To demonstrate their proficiency in a world language, students must satisfy one of the following requirements:
  • completion of two 3-hour world language courses at the 3000 level or above emphasizing reading, translation, or composition; or
  • earning a final grade of B or better in one of the courses in MTSU’s Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures numbered 5990 ([German, French, or Latin]) for Reading Knowledge) or in Spanish 5920 (Spanish for Reading Knowledge) or the equivalent at another institution; or
  • passing an examination in reading proficiency administered by the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; or
  • earning a final grade of B or better in both English 6011/7011 (Old English Language and Literature) and English 6021/7021 (Middle English Language and Literature); or
  • having completed a comparable requirement at the M.A. Level.

The world language requirement is waived for students who are non-native speakers of English.

Ph.D. students are strongly recommended to have fulfilled the world language requirement before taking preliminary exams. Students should be advised that the requisite classes in World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures may not be available every term. It is necessary to plan ahead in fulfilling this and other degree requirements.

Note: Students holding graduate assistantships who register for an undergraduate world language class must obtain written approval from the graduate program director in order to have the class paid for by their assistantship; the College of Graduate Studies will pay for undergraduate prerequisites only if they are identified on the student’s program of study. Only one 5000-level World Language for Reading Knowledge course offered through the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures may be used as an elective for fulfilling the requirements for the master’s degree.


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MTSU Graduate Student Handbook Copyright © by englishgraddirector is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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