Literary Analysis (Prerequisites: three elective courses in literature; at least one course in the area of focus for the project): The student will produce a rigorously researched literary analysis paper that engages important discussions in the field and presents a convincing argument using textual, historical, and theoretical evidence.
Creative Writing (Prerequisites: three elective courses in creative writing; at least one creative writing workshop in the genre for the project): The student will produce a well-crafted work of a collection of poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction with a craft essay that demonstrates depth of reflection and careful craft decisions.
Literacy, Rhetoric, or Public Writing (No prerequisites): The student will produce a research-informed project that carefully reflects on and analyzes the work of reading, writing, and literacy in the classroom or in the world at large. The project may take one of the following forms:
- Extension of work produced in ENG-L502, such as a case study of a particular textual or discursive practice.
- Extension of work produced in ENG-G660, such as a combination of public writing and an analytical essay.
- Extension of work produced in a literature class, such as a synthetic overview of critical approaches to a specific literary text that resembles an introduction to a critical edition. Unlike the Literary Analysis option above, this option does not focus on presenting an original argument.
The final project will be 25-30 pages long (usually 7500-9500 words in double-spaced typescript). For the Creative Writing Option, this includes 20-25 pages of creative work as well as a 5-page craft essay.
The final project will come out of existing work produced for a course. The student should ask the professor who taught the course in which the work was produced to direct the project. Once the professor agrees to direct the project, the student will develop a 2-page proposal under the director’s supervision. Students should also register for ENG-W 609 Directed Writing Project (4 cr.) with their faculty Director. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies for approval to enroll in ENG-W609.
* Please note that W609 projects should normally take place during the Fall and Spring semesters. Because faculty members work on a 10-month contract, faculty members who can accommodate summer W609 projects are the exception rather than the rule. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies to discuss summer options.
The 2-page proposal should include a description of an existing project from a course and a discussion of how the student proposes to expand, revise, and/or apply it. The proposal should also identify outside sources to engage (at least three sources for the creative writing craft essay; at least five sources for other projects). The student should expect to revise the proposal under the guidance of the director before final approval.
Once the director approves the proposal, the Director of Graduate Studies will assign two other faculty members to be the readers for the student’s project committee. Please send your Proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies to have two committee members assigned for your project. The student works with the Director throughout the semester; the full Committee meets twice: once for the Proposal Approval Meeting (30 minutes during Week 1 of the semester), and once for the Defense (60 minutes during Week 15).
Please visit the Final Project Timeline page for a detailed overview of the guidelines and schedule. Visit the Thesis Formatting Guidelines page for formatting guidelines as you complete your final projects.
For information on completing the traditional Master's Thesis of 40-60 pages (ENG-L699), or on projects completed prior to Spring 2014, please visit the Thesis Resource Archive.