Master of Arts in English with Public Engagement emphasis

The Master of Arts in English with a public engagement emphasis 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

  • ENG 740: Seminar in Public Intellectualism
  • Either ENG 711: Introduction to Graduate Study or ENG 730: Introduction to Graduate Study in Rhetoric and Composition
  • ENG 736, an equivalent internship, or a substantial public-engagement project of the student’s own design that requires a total of at least 45 hours to complete. An Experiential Learning Application (available on Nevada Box) must be completed and approved in advance by the MAPE committee for courses/projects other than ENG 736. To receive credit for the Experiential Learning Component, the student must write a reflective essay of 10-15 pages, submitted either to the ENG 736 instructor of record or the MAPE committee chair, that (a) examines the academic, personal, and community facets of the experience through one or more appropriate theoretical lenses drawn from MAPE coursework; and (b) addresses the question of how the experience informed or revised the student’s assumptions about what public engagement means and does.
  • Two Power, Place, and Publics courses: A PPP application (available on Nevada Box) must be completed by student and instructor for each course and approved by the MAPE committee.
  • In addition to the above, one rhetoric course and one literature course
  • 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 the student’s future goals. The portfolio should contain scholarship, teaching, and engagement sections, prefaced by one or more brief introductory essays that place the materials in the context of public-engagement theory. 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 a 24-hour, 3-question written examination, 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 master's committee, who will then evaluate the written exam. Once the exam has been deemed passing, 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.

Please review the M.A. public engagement checklist of degree requirements.