Prospective Students

Cal Poly Pomona's Graduate Program offers a Master of Arts degree in three different options: Literature, Rhetoric and Composition, and TESL. Students work with their advisors to tailor their course of study to their own interests and needs. Small classes encourage individualized attention and strong mentoring relationships. For the convenience of graduate students, classes are normally scheduled in the late afternoons and early evenings. 

Click on the links below for more information about our programs and to find out how to apply.

  • Literature
  • Rhetoric/Composition
  • TESL
  • TESL Certificate
  • How to Apply

Students pursuing the M.A. in the literature option are introduced to the practices, challenges, and rewards of conducting original investigations in English 500: Introduction to Literary Research. Students broaden their knowledge by taking two two-course sequences from different periods, examining the canons of English, American, and World Literature, as well as studying the processes by which such canons are formed and reformed. Students also study one of the major genres in depth, which contributes to their expertise in specific periods, genres. This work prepares students for their capstone project: either the comprehensive M.A. Exam or the composition of a M.A. thesis. Through these projects, students demonstrate their mastery of the literary canon, their ability to conduct research in a sharply defined area, and their ability to synthesize this work in writing.

Their studies will prepare them for a number of career paths, whether they choose to continue their education in a Ph.D. program, pursue or enhance a teaching career in high school or community college classrooms, or adapt their skills to other professions where critical thinking, writing, and research are necessary for success. Click on the bar below for details on the required courses.

Literature Requirements and Corresponding Directed Electives

Literature Option Requirements 24 units

Introduction to Literary Research………………….ENG 500 (4)

Two of the following three historically-based sequences (16 units). In sequences A and B, study is to be continuous by chronological period (e.g., ENG 551a / 552a, NOT ENG 551a / ENG 552c).

A. Studies in English Literature…………………ENG 551, 552 (4, 4)
            a. to 1500
            b. 1500-1660
            c. 1660-1800
            d. 19th century
            e. 20th / 21th century

B. Studies in American Literature……………….ENG 561, 562 (4, 4)
            a. to 1800
            b. 19th century
            c. 20th / 21th century

C. Studies in World Literature…………………...ENG 541, 542 (4, 4)
 
Note: Diversity of period and nationality must be demonstrated in the selection of the two sequences.

A genre-based course from among the following courses:

Contemporary Literary Theory………………ENG 570 (4)
Studies in Fiction………………………………....ENG 571 or 572 (4)
Studies in Drama………………………………....ENG 573 or 574 (4)
Studies in Poetry…………………………………..ENG 575 or 576 (4)

Master’s Degree Thesis………………………..ENG 696 (4)
or
Comprehensive Examination…………………ENG 697 (1)

A student electing the Literature Option must choose among the following groups of directed electives:

A. Literature (24 units)

One of the following genre-based sequences (8 units):

Studies in Fiction…………………………………………….ENG 571, 572 (4, 4)
Studies in Drama…………………………………………….ENG 573, 574 (4, 4)
Studies in Poetry……………………………………………..ENG 575, 576 (4, 4)

One course from the following (4 units):

Teaching ESL Composition…………………………………....ENG 525 (4)
Teaching Basic Writing……………………………………......ENG 587 (4)
Teaching College Freshman Composition……………...ENG 588 (4)
Pedagogies of Dramatic Literature………………………..ENG 590 (4)

Three elective courses in Literature and/or Literary Theory (12 units)

B. Rhetoric and Composition Studies (24 units)

History of Rhetoric………………………………...............ENG 581 (4)
Theory and Practice of Modern Rhetoric..............ENG 584 (4)

Three courses (12 units) selected from the following:

Rhetoric and Poetics……………………………...........ENG 582   (4)
Composition Theory……………………………............ENG 583   (4)
Special Topics in Rhetoric and Composition…..ENG 585   (4)
Pedagogies of Reading…………………………..........ENG 589   (4)

One course (4 units) from the following:

Teaching High School Composition…………......ENG 586   (4)
Teaching Basic Writing………………………...........ENG 587   (4)
Teaching College Freshman Composition……..ENG 588   (4)

C. Teaching English as a Second Language (24 units)

Introduction to TESL……………………………………….............ENG 521 (4)
Second Language Acquisition……………………………….......ENG 522 (4)
Grammar of Teachers of ESL………………………………........ENG 523 (4)
American English Pronunciation for ESL Teachers …....ENG 524 (4)
Teaching ESL Composition………………………………….........ENG 525 (4)
Practicum in TESL…………………………………………...............ENG 526 / 526A (3, 1)

Students pursuing the MA in the Rhetoric and Composition option will be exposed to broad theoretical and historical understandings of rhetoric, ranging from classical conceptions of persuasion to contemporary theories exploring the relations of language, knowledge, and power. The three broad areas of study in the option include the history of rhetoric, 20th Century rhetorical theory, and teaching pedagogy. Students completing this intensive course of study will have the theoretical, historical, and pedagogical understandings enabling them to teach composition effectively at a variety of levels, including the four-year university or college, the community college, and the secondary school. Students completing course work for the option (along with the comprehensive exam or thesis) will also have a strong foundation for pursuing further graduate work leading to a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition. 

Click on the bar below for details on the required courses...

Rhetoric/Composition Requirements and Corresponding Directed Electives
Rhetoric and Composition Option (24 units)

History of Rhetoric……………………………...............…ENG 581 (4)
Theory and Practice of Modern Rhetoric..............ENG 584 (4)

Three courses (12 units) selected from the following:

Rhetoric and Poetics…………………..............…………ENG 582 (4)
Composition Theory……………………...............………ENG 583 (4)
Special Topics in Rhetoric and Composition….....ENG 585 (4)
Pedagogies of Reading……………..........………...……ENG 589 (4)

One course (4 units) from the following:

Teaching High School Composition….......………...ENG 586 (4)
Teaching Basic Writing…………………….............…..ENG 587 (4)
Teaching College Freshman Composition…....…..ENG 588 (4)

Master’s Degree Thesis………………..........………….ENG 696 (4)
or
Comprehensive Examination…………….........………ENG 697 (1)

A student electing the Rhetoric/Composition Option must choose among the following groups of directed electives:

A. Literature  (24 units)

Introduction to Literary Research……………....…….ENG 500 (4)

Two of the following three historically based sequences (16 units). In sequences A and B, study is to be continuous by chronological period (e.g., ENG 551a / 552a, NOT ENG 551a /ENG 552c).

A. Studies in English Literature……………........……ENG 551, 552 (4, 4)
            a. to 1500
            b. 1500-1660
            c. 1660-1800
            d. 19th century
            e. 20th / 21th century

B. Studies in American Literature…………......…….ENG 561, 562 (4, 4)
            a. to 1800
            b. 19th century
            c. 20th / 21th century

C. Studies in World Literature……………….......…...ENG 541, 542 (4, 4)
 
A genre-based course from among the following courses:

Contemporary Literary Theory…….......……………..ENG 570 (4)
Studies in Fiction…………………………….............…...ENG 571 or 572 (4)
Studies in Drama……………………............…………....ENG 573 or 574 (4)
Studies in Poetry………………………..............…………ENG  575 or 576 (4)

B. Teaching English as a Second Language (24 units)

Introduction to TESL…………………………….………...............…..ENG 521 (4)
Second Language Acquisition………………….....…............……ENG 522 (4)
Grammar of Teachers of ESL…………………………............…….ENG 523 (4)
American English Pronunciation for ESL Teachers ….……..ENG 524 (4)
Teaching ESL Composition……………………………….............…ENG 525 (4)
Practicum in TESL……………………………….................…………..ENG 526 / 526A (3, 1)

Students pursuing the MA in the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) option will be exposed to theoretical approaches to second language acquisition, grammar, pronunciation, and ESL composition, as well as their practical classroom applications.  Students completing this intensive course of study will have the theoretical and pedagogical understanding required to teach English as a second/foreign language effectively in a variety of contexts, including the four-year university or college, the community college, and the secondary school in the US and overseas. Students completing course work for the option along with the comprehensive exam or thesis will also have a strong foundation for pursuing further graduate work leading to a Ph.D. in TESL or applied linguistics.

Click on the bar below for details on the required courses...

TESL Requirements and Corresponding Directed Electives
TESL Option Requirements 24 units)

Teaching English as a Second Language Option (24 units)

Introduction to TESL………………………………………...............ENG 521 (4)
Second Language Acquisition……………………………........…ENG 522 (4)
Grammar of Teachers of ESL…………………………….........….ENG 523 (4)
American English Pronunciation for ESL Teachers ………ENG 524 (4)
Teaching ESL Composition………………………………..........…ENG 525 (4)
Practicum in TESL…………………………………………................ENG 526 / 526A (3, 1)

Master’s Degree Thesis………………………….......................ENG 696 (4)
or
Comprehensive Examination…………………….....................ENG 697 (1)

A student electing the TESL Option must choose among the following groups of directed electives:

A. Teaching English as a Second Language (24 units)

Conversation Analysis………………………............................ENG 318 (4)
or
Directed Study…………………………….............................…...ENG 691 (4) if ENG 318 has been satisfied as an undergraduate

Pragmatics……………………………………................................ENG 319 (4)
or
Directed Study………………………………................................ENG 691 (4) if ENG 319 has been satisfied as an undergraduate

Two courses from the following (8 units)
Studies in World Literature…………………..........................ENG 541 or 542 (4)
Multicultural Literatures in the U.S…………......................ENG 531 or 532 (4)

Teaching Basic Writing………………………...........................ENG 587 (4)
Teaching College Freshman Composition……..................ENG 588 (4)

B. Literature (24 units)

Introduction to Literary Research………………….................ENG 500 (4)

Two of the following three historically based sequences (16 units). In sequences A and B, study is to be continuous by chronological period (e.g., ENG 551a / 552a, NOT ENG 551a / ENG552c).

A. Studies in English Literature………………….....................ENG 551, 552 (4, 4)
            a. to 1500
            b. 1500-1660
            c. 1660-1800
            d. 19th century
            e. 20th / 21th century

B. Studies in American Literature………………....................ENG 561, 562 (4, 4)
            a. to 1800
            b. 19th century
            c. 20th / 21th century

C. Studies in World Literature………………….......................ENG 541, 542 (4, 4)
 
A genre-based course from among the following courses:

Contemporary Literary Theory………………….......................ENG 570 (4)
Studies in Fiction………………………………..............................ENG 571 or 572 (4)
Studies in Drama……………………………..........................…....ENG 573 or 574 (4)
Studies in Poetry……………………………............................……ENG  575 or 576 (4)

C. Rhetoric and Composition Studies (24 units)

History of Rhetoric………………………………..........................ENG 581 (4)
Theory and Practice of Modern Rhetoric.........................ENG 584 (4)

Three courses (12 units) selected from the following:

Rhetoric and Poetics…………………………….........................ENG 582 (4)
Composition Theory……………………………..........................ENG 583 (4)
Special Topics in Rhetoric and Composition…................ENG 585 (4)
Pedagogies of Reading…………………………........................ENG 589 (4)

One course (4 units) from the following:

Teaching High School Composition…………......................ENG 586 (4)
Teaching Basic Writing………………………...........................ENG 587 (4)
Teaching College Freshman Composition……..................ENG 588 (4)

The Certificate Program in TESL (or optional TESL/TEFL) offers students in the Master of Arts in English the opportunity to acquire training in teaching TESL without taking the specialized theoretical courses required of graduate students in the TESL track. The Certificate in TESL is not a teaching credential. It is recognized abroad as advanced training in English language teaching. In conjunction with an MA degree or a state teaching credential, it may be helpful in obtaining employment as an ESL teacher in the US. Universities throughout the area have recognized the demand for improved teaching for second-language students at all levels, from elementary, secondary, to post-secondary, as well from vocational/adult studies.

The certificate is designed for students in the Literature or Rhetoric option who might not be interested in specializing in TESL, but who want to show potential employers, especially community colleges, that they are trained to teach TESL.

While completing the TESL certificate program, a student may work towards a Master’s degree in any option, with any group of directed electives, except TESL. The Certificate requires 24 units comprised of 300-level and 500-level courses in TESL. Students who obtained their undergraduate degree at Cal Poly may already have completed some or most of these courses and may be required to take only the two graduate-level courses mandated. Students from other programs may be required to petition for articulation of undergraduate coursework. Please check with Dr. Russikoff for equivalency.

Click on the bar below for details on the required courses...

TESL Certificate Requirements

Structure of English………………………………...........ENG 320 (4)
Modern English Grammar………………………….......ENG 321 (4)
Language Acquisition……………………………...........ENG 323 (4)
ESL Writing /Composition………………………….......ENG 525 (4)
Teaching English Abroad…………………………........ENG 599 (4)

                    (TEFL certification will be noted for students taking this course)

One course (4 units) from the following:

Analysis of Conversation…………………………......ENG 318 (4)
Applied Pragmatics……………………………….........ENG 319 (4)
Introduction to TESL Research…………………......ENG 521 (4)
Multimedia Practicum .....................................ENG 464 (4)
History of the English Language .....................ENG 322 (4)
Pedagogical Grammar for TESL .......................ENG 523 (4)
American English Pronunciation .....................ENG 524 (4)

Students fill out an application for the TESL certificate upon completion of all six courses (24 units). Students may obtain an application by contacting the graduate secretary in building 24, room 207.

In order to be admitted as an unconditional student in the Master of Arts program in English, the applicant must have successfully completed an undergraduate program of study in all major periods of English and American literature, as well as in critical theory and in the English language. The applicant’s grade point average in the upper-division English courses of his/her undergraduate program must be at least 3.0 (B). Deficiencies in any of these areas will be made up by course work. We may admit a student who does not meet these requirements as a conditional student. For international applicants, the admitting TOEFL score is usually 100.

To be admitted conditionally in the Literature option, students who do not hold a BA in English will usually be required to take the following courses: a 300-level literature course, ENG 350 (Literary Theory) and a 400-level or upper-division author course. A student applying for admission in the Rhetoric /Composition option without holding a BA in English or in Rhetoric will usually be required to take ENG 313 (Language, Literacy and Cultural Practices) and ENG 355 (Introduction to Rhetorical Theory). A student applying for admission in the TESL option without a BA in English or in Linguistics will usually be required to take ENG 320 (Structure of English), ENG 321 (Grammar of Modern English) and ENG 323 (Language Acquisition). Removal of conditional status will require the completion of at least 12 quarter units of graduate work in English, in residence, with an average of B+ (3.3). No grade below C (2.0) will be accepted.

If you want to apply, start by reading the How to Apply page on the Graduate Studies homepage where you can find information about admissions requirements and deadlines.

To apply to the program, go to the online application at CSUMentor.

You might also take this opportunity to read the CSU Graduate Handbook.