M.A. Exam Guidelines

  • Students will normally be expected to take the M.A. exam at the beginning of their final full semester. Students will have one opportunity to retake the exam if they do not pass it on the first attempt. This retake policy is in accordance with Graduate School policy.
  • The exam will consist of four one-hour questions, one of which will be an explication question on a work not previously announced. There will be no element of choice on the explication question. The other three one-hour questions will be from the reading list, and each will allow students to pick one question from a set of two.
  • In addition to the texts on the list, students should be conversant with broad issues concerning genre and literary history.
  • Each calendar year three works will rotate off the list and be replaced by three different ones. Copies of future reading lists will be available each January.

Please contact Shalyn Claggett if you have questions about when you should take the MA exam.

Reading Lists

Sample Previous Exams