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Master of Arts in English

Welcome to the Master of Arts in English at Sonoma State University. We offer options of completing your degree with an emphasis in literary criticism, creative writing, and rhetoric/English education. As a whole, we seek to foster scholars and writers who are engaged in dialogue across their discipline-specific course of study. We encourage M. A. students to explore their interests across our curriculum. Together with their colleagues and faculty mentors, the M. A. cohort participates fully in the life of the English Department. Applications start October 1st on Cal State Apply. The deadline for applications for the 2024-25 year is March 10th (final deadline).  

The MA in English handbooks below provide information on how to apply to the M.A. in English and helps newly admitted students gain a sense of what to expect as they navigate their way through the program.

2021+ MA in English Handbook

Review this Reading List for the English MA Qualifying Exam (pdf).

New Brochure! Our updated brochure can be accessed here:

Applications for 2024-25 start October 1st and must be completed by March 10th! 

For continuing M.A. students, keep up with deadlines by checking the Graduate Studies' Forms & Deadlines page each semester.

Check out MA theses, produced by our graduates, on ScholarWorks.

Student Testimonials

“It became very clear to me that the MA could be whatever I wanted it to be. That is to say, I could make my graduate experience as big and diverse and interdisciplinary as I could imagine. The faculty at SSU not only encouraged this, but helped to realize my academic and creative pursuits with a great deal of care and enthusiasm. Faculty at Sonoma State taught me that the academy can actually be porous, rich, and expansive. It’s exactly this kind of learning experience that shaped me as a thinker, a writer, a teacher, and a community organizer.”    - Christy Davids, Instructor, Temple University

“One of the greatest aspects of the English MA included training as a blend of developing a pedagogical framework rooted in theory, building pragmatic in-class activities and assignments, and after a year of coursework, teaching in the classroom. Graduate students are guided by veterans in the field and are encouraged to bring in new techniques and innovate within the classroom. Finally, you have the chance to build lasting relationships with your cohort of new instructors; these people will challenge, support and inspire you to be the best instructor you can be.” - Matthew Martin, Instructor, Sonoma State University

MA Student Accomplishments

Our graduates have seen considerable long-term success in fields such as advertising, editing and publishing, public relations writing, graphic design, software development, and legal work. Many are teaching English in Bay Area community colleges and other universities around the country. Several have landed tenure-track positions in English at Santa Rosa Junior College, Napa Valley College, and Porterville College.

Creative writing graduates from the program have received awards including a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a National Poetry series winner, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Poetry, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Creative writing graduates have published books with Graywolf, Wesleyan University Press, Rescue Press, Omnidawn, Letter Machine Editions, Swoon Reads: Macmillan, and Kelsey Street Books.

MA program graduates have pursued further degrees at other prestigious programs. For the Ph.D. in English, students have completed degrees at University of Texas, Rutgers University, University of Massachusetts, University of Michigan, and University of California at Berkeley. For the MFA in Creative Writing, students have gone on to University of Iowa Writers Workshop, Temple University, Naropa Institute of Disembodied Poetics, University of Arizona, University of Denver, University of Chicago Center for the Book, California College of the Arts, San Francisco State University, Mills College, Saint Mary’s, University of San Francisco, and University of Massachusetts.

More information for current and prospective graduate students, including Forms & Deadlines and Thesis Review, can be found on the Graduate Studies website

Congratulations upon your decision to pursue a Master's in English. We look forward to working with you.

Dr. Chingling Wo
Graduate Coordinator
Professor of English
Nichols Hall 342, (707) 664-2164