This program, which bridges the senior year with a fifth year of graduate study, is designed to give advanced students in-depth exposure to graduate study in literature and to further their research and critical skills. Students admitted to the program will undertake limited graduate work in their senior year and then will stay on for a fifth year to concentrate exclusively on graduate studies. The 4+1 program is designed for students seeking additional preparation before applying for PhD programs in English and related fields, as well as for those pursuing other career tracks (such as secondary teaching and publishing) in which an MA degree in English is valuable. Applicants must be Emory English majors in their junior year. Additionally, it will allow students to work more closely with both faculty mentors and with the doctoral students who come to Emory from other institutions.
How does the new program work?
Enrolled students take limited graduate coursework during their senior year, and then divide time between additional coursework and work on a Masters thesis during the fifth year of study. In the fifth year, students will enroll in the Laney Graduate School rather than Emory College.
In the fall semester of the senior year, students will register for ENG 796, the introductory graduate seminar in "Theories, Histories, and Methods," in order to orient them toward critical approaches associated with graduate-level work in literary studies. That fall, they will take one additional graduate course at two credits, which means that they are responsible for the reading and for participating in the seminar, but they will not be required to write a major paper. During the spring of the senior year, students will take two additional graduate seminars – one at four credits and one at two credits. During the fifth year, students will take two to three graduate seminars per semester while working on a Masters thesis in close conjunction with a faculty mentor. The precise number of credit hours for thesis coursework is flexible, depending upon the scope of the research involved.
Is the new program right for me?
If you are planning to pursue a PhD in English or if you are interested in secondary teaching, having an MA can be advantageous. An MA degree is not usually a requirement for entering a PhD program, but it can significantly improve one's chances of getting into competitive programs (approximately half of Emory's PhD students have done MA work elsewhere); it can also prepare one for the rigorous work demanded within them. Additionally, many school districts and private schools favor teaching applicants with MA degrees, and a good number pay them higher salaries than they pay teachers who have only the BA.
Students planning to apply should complete at least seven English courses by the end of the junior year. While we do not have a precise GPA requirement for the program, we will only be accepting students with strong records within the major and a clear rationale for undertaking graduate work.
Will I still be able to do an Honors thesis?
Yes. If you are enrolled in the new 4+1 program and plan to do Honors as well, you will take ENG 796 in lieu of the honors seminar (ENG 496) in the fall of your senior year. During the course of that year, you will write an Honors thesis. During your fifth year, you will have the opportunity to expand and significantly revise your Honors thesis, which in most cases will become the basis of your MA thesis. This will provide continuity between the project you have undertaken as a senior and the work you will do as a graduate student. If, on consultation with your advisor, you decide to pursue a different research topic for your M.A. thesis, you may do so. If you are not enrolled in the Honors program, your M.A. thesis will be written during the fifth ("+1") year.
What is the tuition for the fifth year?
Tuition for the fifth year will be 50% of the standard tuition rate for the Laney Graduate School. The precise rate for 2011-2012 has not yet been determined, but it will likely be approximately $35,000, putting tuition for our program at around $17,500. This figure does not include fees and the student's portion of health coverage, which will likely bring the total level to slightly above $20,000.
Why stay at Emory for an M.A. program?
Many universities offer "free-standing" two-year MA programs. These programs tend to charge full tuition for both years; in Emory's 4+1 program, the basic tuition package is essentially 50% of one year's tuition. In addition, by staying at Emory, you will have continuity of mentorship with faculty who know you and are invested in your work, and you will not have to move to another campus for a two-year period before applying for a PhD program or a job, in perhaps yet another city.
How do I apply?
In order to apply, you will need to submit the following materials to the Director of Graduate Studies by April 15:
Complete the 4+1 BA-MA Application.
A statement of interest with a research plan (1500 words or less). This statement should explain why you are interested in the program, what your preparation is, and what you would like to accomplish – particularly in your research.
Written recommendation of two members of the department's graduate faculty, one of whom agrees to be the potential advisor of your MA thesis. You may change thesis advisors once you are admitted to the program.
A 10-20-page writing sample that showcases your best critical work.
Your Emory transcript (and transcript from any other undergraduate institution you have attended).
Applicants are not required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
For further information, you may send a query to the Director of Graduate Studies or the Director of Undergraduate Studies. It is also best to consult with your major advisor before applying to the program.