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Frequently Asked Questions

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When are the deadlines to apply for CSULB’s Master of Arts in English Program?
The Department’s deadline for Fall admission is April 15.

Do you require the GRE?
No. You are welcome to submit your scores if you have taken the general or subject test, but they are not required.

Do you require written recommendations from previous professors?
No. The CSU application asks for three references with contact information. If you have letters, you are welcome to submit them to the Department, but they are not required.

What’s the difference between a Master of Arts Degree and a Master of Fine Arts Degree?
The Department of English offers two graduate degrees; each program has its own admissions and degree requirements. The MA in English emphasizes the critical study of literature and writing in English. An MA is the basic requirement for teaching at the college level, especially in Junior and Community Colleges. The MFA in Creative Writing emphasizes the writing of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. An MFA is the standard terminal degree in Creative Writing and is accepted by most colleges as the basic credential for teaching.

How many pages will I have to write for each class?
That depends on the level of the course and each professor’s requirements. Most professors require some weekly writing in their seminars, often a mid-term essay or essay exam, and the major writing assignment for most seminars is a 20-25 page research paper.

Why should I pursue an MA degree?
An MA degree will provide you with the analytical, research, and writing skills required for in-depth study of writing and literature in English. Many students pursue the MA for personal satisfaction, based in a love of language and literature. Many students in the program are high school teachers, and the MA allows them to expand and refine their knowledge of the subjects that they teach. Some of our students want to go on to PhD programs, and the MA offers excellent preparation for further study.

How many students will be in my classes?
Our graduate seminars (600-level courses) are limited to 14 students. The “split-level” classes (400/500 numbered courses) usually have 5 seats reserved for graduate students, and about 20 undergraduates.