Learning Outcomes

By the successful completion of a semester of First-Year Writing, students will be able to demonstrate:

Rhetorical Knowledge

  • Focus on a purpose in their writing
  • Respond to the needs of different audiences
  • Respond appropriately to different kinds of rhetorical situations, including but not limited to academic rhetorical situations
  • Write in several genresĀ 

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing

  • Use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating
  • Understand a writing assignment as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Integrate their own ideas with those of others

Writing Processes

  • Be aware that it usually takes multiple drafts to create and complete a successful text
  • Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proof-reading
  • Understand writing as an open process that permits writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise their work
  • Understand the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes
  • Productively critique their own and others' works
  • Balance the advantages of relying on others with the responsibility of doing their part

Knowledge of Conventions

  • Learn common formats for different kinds of texts
  • Develop knowledge of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics
  • Practice appropriate means of documenting their work
  • Control such surface features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Ability to Compose in Electronic Environments

  • Use electronic environments for drafting, reviewing, revising, editing, and sharing texts
  • Locate, evaluate, organize, and use research material collected from electronic sources, including scholarly library databases; other official databases (e.g., federal government databases); and informal electronic networks and internet sources
  • Understand and exploit the differences in the rhetorical strategies and in the affordances available for both print and electronic composing processes and texts.

By the successful completion of their Literature Core course, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability to close-read, interpret, and analyze texts;
  • an ability to write clear, coherent, organized, grammatically correct and stylistically competent prose;
  • an awareness of literary genres and terminology;
  • a recognition of the historical and cultural specificity of literary texts; and
  • an appreciation of the human imagination.

By the successful completion of the English major at BC, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability to write clear, coherent, organized, and stylistically correct papers;
  • an ability to close-read, interpret, and analyze texts (including poetic texts);
  • a knowledge of literary genres and appropriate use of critical terminology;
  • a recognition of the historical specificity of literary works and/or other cultural products;
  • an awareness that there are a variety of critical approaches to literary and cultural texts.

The English MA program at Boston College provides students a challenging intellectual experience that maintains a core focus on exploring the richness of literary study. It also offers plentiful opportunities to acquire skills applicable to a wide range of academic and professional settings. Through their course of study, candidates should be able to:

  • read texts closely;
  • write more capably;
  • demonstrate familiarity with varied and current theoretical approaches;
  • gain more knowledge about advanced research practices;
  • attain a thorough understanding of historical periodization.

The English MA program is explicitly designed to be a two-year standalone degree program. In the second year, selected applicants have the opportunity to design and teach their own college writing course both semesters, for which they receive training, faculty mentoring, and ongoing support and instruction. Students also have the opportunity to work with accomplished faculty in literature courses, gaining hands-on experience teaching literature, administering complex assignments, and designing specific lessons.

Upon completion of the Ph.D., graduates will be able to:

  • Write academic articles and reviews at the scholarly level in informed, intelligible prose.
  • Research, design and be examined on two long reading lists in major and minor fields of literary study of their construction and choice.
  • Demonstrate mastery of an individual chronological or national literary field of their choice.
  • Choose or define a question in their chosen field of literary study, and write an effective dissertation on it.
  • Teach effectively courses in English, both at the introductory and advanced level, in the community college, four-year college, or university setting.
  • Publish their research in peer-reviewed journals and present papers at conferences.
  • Secure an academic or teaching position.