English - Text, Technologies, and Literature (TTL)

English Department, UMBC

Orianne Smith, Chair
Lucille McCarthy, Graduate Program Director

Jessica Berman, Ph.D., University of Chicago; 20th century narrative, cultural studies, literary and feminist theory
Raphael Falco, Ph.D., New York University; English Renaissance literature
Lucille McCarthy, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania; Rhetoric and composition, writing in academic and professional settings, Writing Across the Curriculum

Associate Professors
Jean Fernandez, Ph.D., University of Iowa; Victorian literature, literature and empire, narratology, autobiography
Piotr K. Gwiazda, Ph.D., New York University; American literature and culture, modern and contemporary poetry, poetic theory and translation, creative writing
Kathryn McKinley, Ph.D., University of Delaware; Medieval literature, images, and iconography
Michele Osherow, Ph.D., University of Maryland; Shakespeare, drama, the Bible as literature, Jewish American literature
Jody Shipka, Ph.D., University of Illinois; Rhetoric and Composition; multimodal discourse
Orianne Smith, Ph.D., Loyola University of Chicago; British Romanticism

Assistant Professors
Helen Burgess, Ph.D., West Virginia University; New media authoring, visual literacy, electronic literature, digital humanities
Lindsay DiCuirci, Ph.D., The Ohio State University; Colonial/U.S. literature to 1900, periodical publishing, African American literature, womenís literary history
Jennifer Maher, Ph.D., Iowa State University; Rhetoric of technology, critical theory, qualitative research methods, professional communication

Senior Lecturers
Robin I. Farabaugh, Ph.D., Cornell University; English Renaissance literature; Shakespeare, science writing, fiction writing
Orgelfinger, Gail, Ph.D., University of Chicago; Medieval Studies, Shakespeare


Program Description

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 able 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. in UMBC's Language, Literacy, and Culture program; 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

  • explore a range of literatures in English and a variety of textual forms, media, and practices in relation to their cultural contexts
  • develop advanced skills in reading, analyzing, and writing about texts, from the lyric poem to digital work in multi-media, and
  • have the opportunity to study language in use in various settings, or to specialize in the study of communication or the teaching of composition.

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 application form found on the UMBC Graduate School website. For further information, contact the English Department.

Facilities and Special Resources

The Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery contains a collection of about 500,000 volumes. A reference and bibliographical collection of about 25,000 volumes, together with a wealth of online bibliographical and data services, provides comprehensive aid for research in various aspects of English Studies. Graduate students also have access to a rapid delivery system of materials from the massive collective resources of all the libraries in the University System of Maryland. Additional library and archival resources available to students in the Baltimore-Washington are enormous and include the Folger Shakespeare Library and Theatre in Washington DC, the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore with its world class collection of medieval manuscripts, and the Library of Congress. The English Department at UMBC recently moved into the beautiful new Performing Arts and Humanities Building, which is equipped with state-of-the-art computerized classrooms.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate teaching assistantships are available in the Department of English. Information about other financial assistance is available from the Office of Financial Aid. Be sure to check online for application deadlines and instructions.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

ENGL 635 Digital Humanities (3)
This course provides comprehensive graduate-level coverage of 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. Students will be expected to engage in code-making and use of digital tools.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

ENGL 799 Masterís Thesis Research (3)
Masterís thesis research is conducted under the direction of a faculty member. Note: Six credit hours are required for the Masterís degree with thesis