Message from the Director
Hi, I'm Dr. Shari Zimmerman, Graduate Director of the Master's Program in English at Hofstra University, and I'd like to tell you a little bit about our program. Before I do, though, let me invite you to contact me directly via email about any questions you might have about our program, even (that is) if you're just beginning to think about graduate studies in English. Let me also invite you to check out a few students' experiences as this might help you to clarify and frame some of your own questions.
And now to some details . . .
In our 33 credit Master's program, students complete eleven courses: two required courses (Research Methods and Critical Theory); four classes that satisfy distribution and/or period requirements (and, here, there is a good deal of flexibility); as well as five electives, determined largely by the student's own research interests. Among those five electives, students can also opt to take a 3-credit course in Creative Writing (offered through our MFA Program) and/or write a 3-credit Master's Thesis under the direction of a faculty member of their choice. Please go to http://www.hofstra.edu/bulletin_englishlitMA for additional details about our admission and degree requirements.
Variety of Courses
We offer a wide variety of courses all year round. Here's what we're offering in Fall 2013 and Spring 2014.
- Fall 2013: Wordsworth & Byron, Modern British Theatre, Literature Study and the Subject of Psychoanalysis, Graduate Poetry Writing, Fiction Writing, Narrative Voice, August Wilson (For full descriptions of courses, please click here.)
- Spring 2014: Poetry Writing, Playwriting, Creative Non-Fiction, Children’s Literature, The Story, Shakespeare, Framing 14th Century Society (For full descriptions of courses, please click here.)
At present, we're working on the lineup of courses to be offered during Fall 2014. Stay tuned.
For now, though, and to gain a fuller sense of what we teach, do be sure to look over descriptions of courses we have offered in the recent past, among them: Unruly Bodies in American Literature; Literature, Trauma, and Climate Crisis; Masterpieces of American Violence; Queer Victorians; Reading Shakespeare (After the New Historicism); British Gothic Fiction; Grammar; Literature and Psychoanalysis; and others.
We have no single—no one ideal—student profile. Our students, who range in age, come from all walks of life—and all stages in life—but all have a passion for English. They come from Hofstra, from other schools on Long Island and the tri-state area, and from universities across the country. Some have just earned the B.A. in English; others have earned their degrees two, five, or many more years ago. We have students who are fresh out of college; others who are working full-time as English teachers at the secondary level and looking to enhance their credentials; and still others, working in other careers, who may wish to expand their sense of English studies today.
Low Faculty-Student Ratio
One of the great features of our program is its low student-faculty ratio. Enrollment in each of our classes is limited to 15, and some classes have enrollments as low as 7-10 students. Faculty members encourage a great deal of participation, and incoming students can count on lively conversation and an energetic exchange of ideas. Students can also count on easy access to faculty, both in the classroom and during office hours, to discuss papers they are just beginning to draft as well as more fully developed research projects on which they are already working. Our diverse faculty of dedicated teachers and accomplished scholars bring to their teaching not only their own always evolving and active research, but also a keen attention to the needs, goals, and developing work of each of their students.
Class Scheduling and Going at Your Own Pace
Our classes meet Monday through Thursday, at one of two time slots in the late afternoons and early evenings: 4:30-6:20 and 6:30-8:20. Students who want to jump in quickly may (if they wish) take three courses in a single semester; others, particularly thoseworking full-time, are free to take as few as one course each semester. In fact, one can easily complete our program (which must be done within a five-year period) by taking no more than two courses each year, along with an occasional summer class. But there is no single way to go through our program: our students are free to complete the Master's degree at their own pace.
Earning the M.A. in English has many benefits. It can serve as solid training for a career in teaching literature at the secondary level and as a strong foundation for the Ph.D. in English. But, in truth, pursuing an M.A. in English—and pursuing literary studies in general—can help you to cultivate talents and strengths that are useful for just about any career, trade, vocation, or calling. To be able to read texts both carefully and creatively, to think through ideas with clarity and insight, to write incisively and cogently, and to advance arguments that compel your reader's interest—these are skills that are applicable in just about any walk of life, including publishing and government, public service and human resources, law school, digital marketing, or international business. In fact, these days, even medical schools are placing a premium on literary studies and on the sensitivities to language, narrative, and the varieties of human experience that a program like ours seeks to cultivate.
So let's get the conversation started: drop me an email or give me a call, even if you're only just considering our program; after all, you might find it's exactly what you're looking for.
With all best wishes as you embark on your graduate career,
Dr. Shari A. Zimmerman