department menu

About MA

About Our Master of Arts  in Literature and Writing Studies 

ma literature and writing studies

Program Overview

California State University San Marcos offers an innovative M.A. in Literature and Writing Studies that provides balanced training in both literary and writing studies, with a focus on cultural and diversity studies, theory, and history, sustained analysis, and the creation, writing, and presentation of written and visual texts in a variety of genres. Literature and Writing M.A. students receive specialized training in college-level writing instruction and pedagogy and have the opportunity to teach first-year composition. The focus on first-year writing instruction has allowed our program to establish an excellent job placement record for instructors at local community colleges. 

The M.A. program offers a variety of options for the culminating thesis project: in addition to traditional literary analysis, students may choose to analyze visual texts (such as films, television shows, and/or graphic fiction) or take the creative thesis option. A creative thesis can take many forms (e.g., work in fiction, poetry, drama, life writing, screen writing, etc.) and includes a critical introduction. 

The M.A. program features small class sizes and highly individualized paths to graduation tailored to students' specific career goals. Our students pursue a variety of careers after graduating, including doctoral programs, college writing instruction, publishing/editing, non-profit work, writing in a range of professional contexts, and many more.

The program requires 30 semester hours (10 courses, at least one of which is thesis work) of study, at least 24 of which are from the graduate level (500 and 600 series). Required courses are LTWR 600, 601, and the Spring 602 course, which should be taken as early as possible. A substantial thesis, approved and directed by the student's thesis committee, is also required of all students. The grade-point average must be at least 3.0 to graduate. The typical full-time student will complete the program in four semesters, and the time-to-degree limit for both full- and part-time students is five years from the first graduate course taken. Units earned not in residence at CSUSM are limited to 6, and must be approved by the Graduate Studies Coordinator. A maximum of 9 units of courses graded credit/no credit (usually internships, independent study, and thesis work) will be accepted. Finally, students must satisfy a Language Other than English requirement.