Master of Arts

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts in English is a two-year program featuring three major components: coursework encompassing study in American British, and World Literatures; a reading examination over a set list of literary, critical, and theoretical texts; and a thesis.  Students design their plan of study in their first semester, form a thesis committee by the close of their first year, and complete the examination in their second year.  The degree culminates in the completion and defense of their thesis, usually in the fourth semester.

          MA students are encouraged to take advantage of the varied range of faculty expertise and the unique experience of living in interior Alaska as they select their thesis topic.  Rasmuson Library houses a solid collection of primary and secondary British and American texts; it also boasts an extensive Alaska and Polar Region Collections and Archives.  Recent thesis topics in literary studies, teaching composition, and ESL matters attest to the wealth of possibility for advanced study in English at UAF.


Comprehensive Exams Reading List for MA

Spring 2017 and Spring 2018

British, Irish, and American Literature

Beowulf (Heaney translation)


Geoffrey Chaucer. General prologue to The Canterbury Tales, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” “The Clerk’s Tale,” “The Franklin's Tale”

William Shakespeare. King Lear, Richard III

John Donne. “Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God,” “The Canonization,” “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”

John Milton. Samson Agonistes

Aphra Behn.  Oroonoko

Anne Bradstreet. “The Author to Her Book,” “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” “A Letter to Her Husband, Absent Upon Public Employment,” “Upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666”

Alexander Pope. The Rape of the Lock

Jane Austen. Persuasion

William Wordsworth. “Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” “Tintern Abbey”

Charles Dickens. Hard Times

Robert Browning. “Porhyria’s Lover,” “Andrea del Sarto,” “An Epistle…of Karshish, the Arab Physician”

George Eliot. Mill on the Floss

Gerard Manley Hopkins. “The Windhover,” “God’s Grandeur,” “Binsey Poplars.”

Sarah Orne Jewatt. The Country of the Pointed Firs

Nathaniel Hawthorne. The House of the Seven Gables

Herman Melville. Billy Budd

Harriet Jacobs. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

Christina Rossetti. Goblin Market

Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Self-Reliance," "The American Scholar"

Walt Whitman. “Song of Myself”

Emily Dickinson. Poems 258 (“There's a certain Slant of light”), 435 (“Much Madness is Divinest Sense”), 449 (“I died for beauty, but was scarce”), 754 (“My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun”), 1732 (“My life closed twice before its close”)

Stephen Crane. “The Blue Hotel,” “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”

Willa Cather. O Pioneers!

James Joyce. “The Dead,” “Araby”

Virginia Woolf. Mrs. Dalloway, “A Room of One’s Own”

William Faulkner. “The Bear”

William Butler Yeats. “Sailing to Byzantium,” “The Second Coming,” “Byzantium,” “The Circus Animals’ Desertion”

Wallace Stevens. "The Snow Man," "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," "Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself," "Sunday Morning."

Langston Hughes. “I, Too,” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” “Harlem (A Dream Deferred)”

Flannery O’Connor. “Good Country People,” “The Artificial Nigger”

Adrienne Rich. “Diving into the Wreck,” “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers”

Iris Murdoch. A Severed Head

Eugene O’Neill. Long Day’s Journey into Night

Leslie Marmon Silko. Ceremony

Toni Morrison. Sula

Brian Friel. Dancing at Lughnasa

World Literature

Job, Song of Songs (King James Bible)

Aristophanes. Lysistrata

Michel de Montaigne. "Of Cannibals", "Of Vanity," "Of Experience"

Christine de Pizan. The Book of the City of Ladies

Anton Chekhov. The Cherry Orchard

Thomas Mann. Death in Venice

Henrik Ibsen.  Ghosts

Gabriel García Márquez. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”

Wole Soyinka. Death and the King’s Horseman

Milan Kundera. The Farewell Waltz

Janet Frame. Living in the Maniototo


Roland Barthes. “The Death of the Author” and "From Work to Text"

Miklail Bakhtin. “Heteroglossia in the Novel from Discourse in the Novel

Michel Foucault, "What is an Author?"; "Panopticism," from Discipline and Punish

Helene Civous, "The Laugh of the Madusa"

Judith Butler, Preface and Chapter 1, "Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire," from Gender Trouble

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, "Introduction: Axiomatic," from Espistemology of the Closet

Gerald Vizenor, "Penenative Rumors" from Fugitive Poses

Edward Said, selections from Orientalism

Paul Gilroy, selections from "The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness

S. Eliot. The Waste Land

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