Master of Arts in English with Public Engagement Emphasis

The Master of Arts in Public Engagement is designed to serve students whose career goals include teaching, working for nonprofits, and/or continuing to Ph.D. programs in literature or rhetoric that emphasize community activism. The objectives of this emphasis are as follows:

  • To provide a sound foundation in the rhetoric, literature, and theory of public engagement;
  • To provide a rigorous critical framework for understanding and evaluating public engagement efforts;
  • To produce citizen-scholars who can work both in academia and in the community;
  • To familiarize students with the genres, forums, contexts, relationships, and techniques best suited to public engagement;
  • To serve as a resource for tackling and articulating larger cultural issues for both the university and the larger community.

Accordingly, students who achieve a Master of Arts in English with a Public Engagement emphasis will be able to do the following:

  • Articulate the theoretical and/or ideological commitments of particular public engagement efforts;
  • Articulate their own theoretical and/or ideological commitments as they pursue public engagement efforts;
  • Understand and apply critically the literature relevant to public engagement;
  • Clearly articulate a problem in public engagement and select suitable theoretical and practical approaches to it;
  • Select and deploy the genres, forums, and techniques best suited to a particular public engagement effort;
  • Work productively with both academic and community partners on a public engagement effort;
  • Produce professional documents and creative texts appropriate to a particular audience, purpose, and rhetorical situation.

Course requirements

a) ENG 740: Seminar in Public Intellectualism
b) Either ENG 711: Introduction to Graduate Study OR ENG 730: Introduction to Graduate Study in Rhetoric and Composition
c) ENG 736, an internship, or another course (either taught or taken) that has a significant experiential learning component (see Experiential Learning application for details on selection and approval of experiential learning courses other than ENG 736).
d) Two Power, Place, and Publics seminars : (see PPP application for details on selection and approval of these seminars).
e) In addition to the above, one rhetoric seminar and one literature Seminar.
f) Interdisciplinary literacy requirement. Competence in a foreign language, two 600- or 700-level courses in a cognate discipline, or three advanced courses in linguistics;  a plan must be approved by  the committee chair. Note: Interdisciplinary literacy courses that are not ENG courses (or cross-listed as such) count neither toward the 23 700-level credits nor the 33 graduate credits required for the master's degree.

Professional Portfolio

The professional portfolio requires the student to develop critical and professional materials specific to an issue of civic engagement. The materials should include a historical and critical framework for understanding the issue, as well as professional materials that display application of that framework. Ideally, these materials should develop the writing done in courses, as well as community engagement work. The portfolio will be developed in consultation with the student's committee and will be discussed during the oral exam. Note: There is no thesis option for the Public Engagement emphasis.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive exam will consist of a written exam and an oral examination. Working with his or her advisor, the student develops a bibliography of about 15 texts relevant to the student's interests. These texts will vary in length and form according to the student's topic of choice and professional goals. The student completes a one-day written exam, designed to demonstrate his or her mastery of the materials on the reading list. The exam questions will be set by the members of the student's masters committee, who will then evaluate the written exam. Once the exam has passed, the student will proceed to the oral examination. Lasting one and a half hours, the examination will cover materials from both the portfolio and the written exam.

A checklist of degree requirements for the Master of Arts in Public Engagement is available.