Coursework in the literary and cultural studies concentration allows students to focus on a diverse range of topics, periods, genres, media, and theoretical perspectives. Faculty research informs graduate seminars and introduces students to cutting-edge conversations about literary and cultural texts--their historical and social contexts, and the evolving networks of production and consumption in which they circulate.
The study plan for the Literary and Cultural Studies outlines options for MA students, including those with Graduate Assistantships. Electives allow interested students to take classes in other concentrations and the flexibility to take classes in Film Studies, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and other related disciplines. Graduate students also have access to the University of Illinois Library's superlative collection.
Students have the opportunity to pursue theses or independent studies as capstone experiences in their final semesters. Professional development opportunities designed to help students continue into PhD programs or pursue related careers are built into the two-year experience. Students also receive mentoring that helps them publish or present their work at local, regional, or national conferences.
Note: Beginning in 2020, all students will begin to build a professional portfolio which will be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee as a graduation requirement.
Students concentrating in creative writing concentration hone their craft in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and drama through a combination of genre-specific graduate workshops, literature courses, and a professional course that prepares them to send out their first submissions, take on editorial duties at a literary magazine, make applications to M.F.A. and PhD programs in creative writing, and seek out and apply to writing-related jobs.
Students learn from faculty who are working, publishing writers and editors. These faculty serve as advisors for the (optional) thesis: a full-length manuscript in a chosen genre. Many of our students present their work at local, regional, and national conferences and literary festivals.
EIU is home to two literary journals, The Vehicle and Bluestem, both which offer opportunities to become part of the editorial staff. Our annual Lions in Winter Festival of Writing brings up-and-coming writers to campus for a day of readings and craft talks. Recent guests have included Rion Amilcar Scott, Laura van den Berg, Vu Tran, CM Burroughs, Wendy C Ortiz, Jami Attenberg, Alissa Nutting, Eduardo C Corral, Randa Jarrar, Stephen Graham Jones, and others. Our annual Alan Neff Memorial Poetry Reading has featured such nationally recognized poets as Anne Waldman, Rosemarie and Keith Waldrop, Kwame Dawes, and John Kinsella.
See the Creative Writing study plan for more details on program requirements, including those holding Graduate Assistantships. Note: Beginning in 2020, all students will build a professional portfolio which will they will submit to the Graduate Studies Commitee as a degree requirement.
Students interested in rhetoric and the teaching of writing select this concentration to learn about successful classroom practices from each other as well as from faculty members with a wide range of teaching experiences.
The concentration's flexible curriculum includes a course in composition theory and pedagogy as well as various special topics courses. Recent courses have focused on genre theory, grammar instruction, visual rhetoric and multimodal composition, and the evaluation of writing.
On-campus students concentrating in Composition and Rhetoric may take a class in mentored composition teaching--which places them in a writing classroom, working with the instructor to plan and teach the class--and, if they are graduate assistants, may apply to teach a first-year writing class on their own during their second year in the program.
Recent graduates in Composition and Rhetoric have gone on to PhD programs such as Illinois State University, the University of Nevada-Reno, Bowling Green State University, and the University of Washington. For those interested in teaching at two-year colleges, students have gained teaching positions at a range of two-year colleges, including Rock Valley College, Lincoln Land Community College, Parkland College, Southeastern College, and Lake Land College.
Students who are preparing for careers in such fields as grant writing, public relations, technical writing, and publishing may enroll in a number of grad-level professional writing courses: Professional Editing, Professional Writing Internship, and ENG/CMN 5260: Communication in Science and Technical Communications.
Note: Beginning in 2020, all students will begin to build a professional portfolio which will they will submit to the Graduate Studies Commitee as a degree requirement.
Full-time teachers with a year of experience may earn an 18-hour Certificate in the Teaching of Writing. Interested teachers should start by applying to the Eastern Illinois Writing Project; completion of that summer program provides 6 hours of graduate credit towards the certificate (18 total credits) and/or toward the MA in English (30 total credits plus a 3-credit thesis). Please contact Dr. Robin Murray, Director of the Writing Project, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While none of our English MA programs or certificates alone can result in an Illinois state teaching license, these programs can be folded into the English Language Arts Post-Baccalaureate Program. A customized plan of study can be created so that graduate coursework completed for any of the above certificate/degree programs can also fulfill the requirements for the English Language Arts Teacher Licensure program. If you are interested in exploring this option please send a copy of your academic transcripts to the English Education Director, Dr. Melissa Ames (email@example.com). More information on EIU's post-baccalaureate teaching programs can be found here.