MA in Texts, Technologies, and Literature (TTL)

Contact Information

Dr. Lucille McCarthy, Graduate Program Director, 402 PAHB,

Ms. Susan Harrell, Graduate Program Coordinator, 420 PAHB, 410 455 2480.

The Master of Arts in Texts, Technologies, and Literature provides an opportunity for advanced students to further their understanding of literature and a broad array of other texts, including digital, academic and those that function in everyday use, in relation to both historical and contemporary culture. The program welcomes students with undergraduate majors in such areas as American Studies, Media Studies, Communication Studies, Modern Languages and Literature, and Gender and Women's Studies, as well as English. It is designed to accommodate students with a variety of interests and career paths, including those who are considering an academic career in English, whether in Rhetoric and Composition, Communication and Media Studies, or Literature; those interested in pursuing a Ph.D. (for example, in UMBC's Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. program or the Ph.D. in English at Morgan State University); high school teachers looking for advanced training; and those entering communications, editorial, and/or digital media professions. Students may specialize in the study of print-based or multi-modal texts of particular periods or genres; rhetoric, communication, and composition; or language use and production in various settings. Students in the program will

The department also offers qualified undergraduates an Accelerated BA/MA program that may culminate in the M.A. in Texts, Technologies, and Literature.

Application Deadlines

The application deadline for Fall admission into both the MA and Accelerated BA/MA programs is May 1st.

MA Program Admission and Degree Requirements

The Admission Requirements – The requirements for admission into the MA in TTL correspond to those set forth by UMBC's Graduate School with the provision that the GRE, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample are also required. Applications must include three letters of recommendation that provide information about the applicant’s potential to engage in academic work at the graduate level. The TOEFL is required for international students. All application documents must be sent directly to the UMBC Graduate School, with the exception of the writing sample, which should be emailed to Susan Harrell ( with a copy to Lucille McCarthy (

The Degree Requirements - A minimum of thirty graduate credits, including six credits of core courses: ENGL 601, Methods of Interpretation (three credits); and ENGL 607, Language in Society (three credits).  Additional courses must be selected from graduate English courses, or up to 2 approved graduate courses from MLLI, GWST, AMST or LLC, in order to fulfill the following distribution requirement: at least one course in each of the following areas: (A) Critical Theory, Genre Study, Composition, Rhetoric, Communications, Media Studies; (B) World Literature; Gender, Minority, and Ethnic Studies; and (C) one course focused before 1800. All students must choose either the MA Thesis Option (six credits of ENGL 799) or the MA Portfolio Option (three credits of ENGL 799), which are described in more detail below. The MA degree course chart summarizes these requirements.  Every attempt is made to individualize the student’s total degree program to meet particular interests and career goals. 

By the time students have completed 15 credits of graduate work they must select a faculty advisor. The Graduate Program Director should be consulted when selecting an advisor and only members of the Regular or Associate Graduate Faculty in the UMBC Department of English qualify. All students who have completed 15 credits must complete the Declaration of Graduate Faculty Advisor Form.

Students must be continuously enrolled in the program unless granted an authorized Leave of Absence (LOA). Students are limited to three authorized LOAs. All requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within a five-year period

The MA Thesis Option - The thesis (six credits of ENGL 799) demonstrates a student’s ability to produce scholarship that draws upon primary and secondary sources as well as empirical data of various sorts. The thesis is generally 40 to 80 pages in length, but it may, if approved by the advisor, be presented in forms other than print.  During students’ first semester of ENGL 799, they work with their advisor to create a thesis proposal of 10-20 pages.  The proposal generally includes (1) a discussion of the research question that the thesis proposes to explore, (2) a review of the literature concerning this question (3) a preliminary bibliography and discussion of the sources to be used, (4) a discussion of the research methods to be used, and (5) a proposed outline.  At semester’s end the proposal must be approved by a three-member thesis committee: the advisor and two faculty members chosen by the student.  Committee members must sign the Thesis Proposal Approval Form before the student may register for the second semester of ENGL 799. During the second semester of ENGL 799, the student completes the thesis under the advisor’s direction, and it is evaluated in an oral defense at semester’s end in front of the three-member thesis committee.

The MA Portfolio Option - Students who choose the Portfolio option enroll in one semester of Engl 799 (three credits) with the approval of their advisor.  During this semester students create a portfolio that includes papers and projects that they produced in their previous MA coursework.  These are selected according to some criteria the student identifies, e.g., subject matter similarities, related research foci or methods, relevance to their workplace concerns, etc.  Then, in consultation with their advisor, they produce a synthetic essay or project that connects and builds upon strands of their previous work.  The portfolio essay or project is, typically, between 30 and 40 pages in length but may, when approved by the advisor, be presented in forms other than print.  At semester’s end, the portfolio is evaluated in an oral defense that is attended by two faculty members: the advisor and one other faculty member chosen by the student.

Accelerated B.A./M.A. Program

Qualified undergraduate students may apply for the accelerated B.A./M.A. program that permits advanced undergraduate students to take courses at the graduate level while earning the B.A.  Up to nine credits of coursework in English may be counted toward both the B.A. and the M.A., provided the coursework is undertaken at the 600 level.  Selected 400 level English courses may count as well.  Students should apply late in their sophomore or in their junior year in order to begin the program during their senior year.  To qualify for the Accelerated B.A./M.A., a student must be an English major and have earned a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits.  At least 15 of these must have been earned at UMBC, and no less than 9 credits need to be in 300 or 400 level English courses. One of these 300 or 400 level English courses must be ENGL 300 or 301.  In addition, students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 overall and 3.5 in English.  Interested students should complete the Accelerated BA/MA application form found on the UMBC Graduate School website.  For further information, contact the English Department.

Graduate Assistantships

The Department of English annually awards a limited number of assistantships to students accepted into the Texts, Technologies, and Literature graduate program. These confer tuition remission, a stipend of approximately $11,000-$13,000, and health insurance benefits. Both new applicants and continuing students in the Texts, Technologies, and Literature program are eligible to apply. Completed applications must be received by May 1st in order to receive full consideration for graduate assistantship funding for the upcoming academic year. Students wanting to be considered for an assistantship must send a separate letter indicating interest and qualifications to the Graduate Program Director, Lucille McCarthy.  Be sure to also visit the Graduate School and Graduate Student Association websites for information about other graduate assistantship opportunities for incoming and continuing students.  Information about other financial assistance is available from the Office of Financial Aid.  Be sure to check online for application deadlines and instructions.

Course Listing

ENGL 601 Methods of Interpretation (3)
An advanced study of contemporary literary theory, its methods and practices, and an investigation of its value for research in the discipline, and for the practice of literary criticism.  Core course.

ENGL 604 Advanced Topics in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (3)
An advanced study of selected literary texts from medieval times to the early modern period. Topics to be announced each semester offered. Counts for C.

ENGL 607 Language in Society (3)
In this course, students will study written texts and oral language exchanges in order to learn how language functions in various social settings. They will master skills and methods of sociolinguistic inquiry in the context of actual discourse communities. Students will produce research findings that contribute to current debates in sociolinguistics.  Core course.

ENGL 610 Seminar in Genre Studies (3)
This course is a study of major developments in genre theory and the history of literary genre. Emphasis may be placed on one genre or one writer whose work exemplifies that genre. Topics to be announced each semester offered. Counts for A, B, or C depending on topic.

ENGL 619 Literature and the Sciences (3)
An intensive study of the relationships between literature and some aspect of the physical, biological or social sciences. Topics to be announced each semester offered Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  Counts for A or B depending on topic.

ENGL 630 Literary Masterworks (3)
This course will examine a selection of important works from the world literary tradition in the light of enduring ideas, themes and interpretive problems. Topics, which will vary from semester to semester, may deal with such concerns as the conception and uses of time in narrative, the poetry of political engagement or changing concepts of the hero. Note: Also listed as HUM 630. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  Counts for B or C depending on topic.

ENGL 631 Contemporary Issues: Texts and Contexts (3)
Focuses on an issue of current importance and examines its representation in selected works of modern and contemporary literature. Topics, which will vary from semester to semester, may deal with such problems as ethos and action, politics and culture, the representation of the natural environment, contemporary self-consciousness, masculine and feminine in modern fiction, relativity in art and science and society. Note: Also listed as HUM 631. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.  Counts for A, B, or C depending on topic.

ENGL 635 Digital Humanities (3)
This course provides a comprehensive graduate-level introduction to the field of digital humanities.  During the course of the semester we will explore several distinct areas within the field, including humanities computing, critical code studies, and new media studies.  The class will introduce students to foundational and state-of-the-art humanities computing tools for the analysis and archiving of texts; and expose students to current trends in and criticism of digital literature and interactive fiction/game theory; and discuss digital humanities’ impact on the academic and para-academic professions. Students will be expected to engage in code-making and use of digital tools.  Counts for A.

ENGL 641 Literature, Values and Social Responsibility (3)
This course treats literary texts as vehicles of value in a variety of cultures: national, ethnic, gendered, privileged and oppressed. It examines the way in which values survive in the language and literature of particular peoples and how such values form part of their broad social identity. In particular, the course focuses on how literature can be applied to specific political, economic and education problems. Note: Also listed as LLC 641. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Counts for B or C depending on topic.

ENGL 648  Seminar in Literature and Culture (3)
Study of the relationships between literature and culture with emphasis on literature as a product and manifestation of cultural forces. Topics are announced each semester. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  Counts for A, B, or C depending on topic.

ENGL 649 Genre Analysis (3)  Taught in an electronic classroom, Genre Analysis will be guided by the theory and methodologies, primarily, of Swales and Bakhtin. Students will conduct what Swales calls textographies or studies of text and situation. In particular, we will examine the rhetoric of academia, science, media, and law, both print and electronic. During the course, students will employ multi-methodologies to study text, including observation, discourse analysis, interview, and think-aloud protocols. We will also investigate academic writing and the development of academic language and literacy. The face-to-face course will incorporate online communication, as well as traditional writing processes and will explore rhetorical analysis as compared to genre analysis. Counts for A.

ENGL 664 Advanced Topics in Women and literature (3)
The study of literature by or about women with particular attention to questions of gender and sexuality. The course will address questions of canonicity and a female literary tradition, examine gender politics in relation to genre and constructions of woman in literary texts, and engage with feminist literary theory. Counts for B or C depending on topic.

ENGL 666 World Literature Written in English (3)
A study of literature written in English from around the world. The course focuses on those works and national traditions not covered in the British-American literary curriculum. Attention is paid to the historical, cultural and political contexts of Anglophone writing in various locations around the world as well as to the distinctive linguistic and rhetorical features of such works. Counts for B.

ENGL 669 Advanced Topics in Literature, Race and Ethnicity (3)
This course will examine literature that engages specifically with race and ethnicity. Students will be introduced to scholarly approaches to the study of race and ethnicity in literature and will be challenged to think critically about representations of racial and ethnic identities and experiences in a variety of literary traditions. This course is not bound to a specific time period or region and topics may include focused study of particular authors, genres, historical moments, or theoretical frameworks. Topics to be announced each semester. Counts for B.

ENGL 686 Teaching Composition: Theory and Practice (3)
This course examines our changing understanding of the teaching of composition during the past 30 years by tracing key theories and pedagogies across this period. These sometimes-conflicting approaches to teaching writing include the following orientations: cognitive, expressivist, social constructionist and political. The course is intended for current and prospective teachers of English at elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.  Counts for A.

ENGL 688 Teaching Writing with Computer-Assisted Instruction (3)
This course introduces the methods of computer-assisted writing instruction to current and prospective teachers across the curriculum. It allows participants to practice these methods in class and provides opportunities for discussion and investigation. Designed for educators in all disciplines and at all levels, this course invites participants to explore ways of integrating technologies into their own classrooms and curricula. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Counts for A.

ENGL 690 Topics in the English Language (3)
A study of various aspects of the English language. These might include a historical survey of the structure of the language from Old English through Middle English to Modern English; contemporary varieties of English, both standard and non-standard; and the development of new Englishes around the world. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  Counts for A or C.

ENGL 692 Topics in Rhetoric and Composition (3)
This course will emphasize one of two ways for students to examine theories of speaking and writing. The first, historical in emphasis, will trace current models of the writing process to their traditional sources in Greek and Latin rhetoric. The second, contemporary in emphasis, will examine present trends in writing research, the problems of different methodologies and new developments that influence how researchers study writing. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Counts for A.

ENGL 693 American English Structure for ESOL/FL Teachers: Syntax and Morphology (3)
An overview of the syntactic and morphological system of modern American English. An in-depth examination of the most productive and important rules of English grammar from the point of view of English as a second language and English as a secondary foreign language. Practice in detecting and diagnosing the errors, explaining rules simply and clearly and employing effective instructional techniques will be provided. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.  Counts for A.

ENGL 799 Master’s Thesis Research (3) 
Master’s thesis research is conducted under the direction of a faculty member.  Note: Six credit hours are required for the Master’s degree with thesis. Required for all students whether choosing a thesis or an exam.

Possible electives, including the following courses, may be drawn from other departments.  Students may count no more than 2 courses from other departments towards the degree.

Gender and Women's Studies
GWST 680 Theories of Feminism - Counts for A or B.
GWST 695 Research Seminar in Women's Studies -Counts for B.
GWST 601 Directed Independent Study -Counts for B.
GWST 611 Language, Gender and Culture - Counts for B.
GWST 690 Advanced Topics in Women's Studies - Counts for B.

Language, Literacy and Culture
LLC 610 Theorizing Identity in Multi-Cultural Contexts - Counts for B.
LLC 611 Constructing Race, Class and Gender - Counts for B.
LLC 612 Language, Race and Ethnicity – Counts for B.
LLC 616 Cyberspace, Culture and Society – Counts for A.
LLC 635 Socio-Cultural Theories of Learning, Human Interaction A. 
LLC 640 Multi-Disciplinary Approaches to Race, Society and Culture -Counts for B.
LLC 648 Research Writing and Design - Counts for A.
LLC 649 Genre Analysis - Counts for A.
LLC 750 Topics in LLC – A, B, or C.

American Studies
AMST 610 Theorizing Identity in Multi-Cultural Contexts - Counts for B.
AMST 620 The Production of Culture - Counts for A.
AMST 622 Seminar in Mass Media - Counts for A.
AMST 630 Cultural Policy & Politics of Culture in U.S. – B, C.
AMST 680 Community and Culture – Counts for B.

Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication
MLL 601: Intercultural Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis - Counts for A.
MLL 602 Ethnography of Communication - Counts for A.
MLL 603: Political Economy of Culture - Counts for A.
MLL 605: The Field of Intercultural Communication - Counts for A.
MLL 625 Intercultural and Cross-Cultural Communication - Counts for A.