Literature M.A.


The Master's Degree in Literature. A separate master of arts degree program is intended for students whose aim is to deepen and expand their literary/critical training and to prepare for entry into a Ph.D. program, usually at another institution. Priority for admission is given to students interested in underrepresented areas of study within the Literature Department’s offerings, such as the non-English language literatures and, more broadly, critical theory.

The M.A. program requirements may not be completed in less than one year; the maximum time to obtain a degree is two years.


Course Requirements

  • LIT 200, Proseminar, to be taken in fall quarter of the first year;
  • Seven additional courses leading to the definition of an area of concentration. Up to two of these may be taken in other departments. One may be an independent study course;
  • LIT 291F, a two-credit advising course, each quarter;
  • LIT 299A or LIT 299B, Thesis Research.
LIT 200Proseminar


LIT 291FAdvising


LIT 299AThesis Research


LIT 299BThesis Research


M.A. Thesis Description

The thesis for a Master's Degree in Literature will be a substantial critical work (typically ranging from 35 to 50 pages, plus a bibliography), written in conjunction with LIT 299. The project must be developed in close consultation with the thesis advisor, who serves as chair of the thesis reading committee, and ultimately be approved by at least two other reading committee members, who are chosen by the student and the advisor.

The majority of the reading committee must be members of the UC Santa Cruz Academic Senate (ladder-rank and Security of Employment faculty). The chair must be a tenured member of the literature faculty. At least two of the three members of the committee should be literature faculty.

Once the student and advisor have chosen the reading committee members and secured their agreement to serve, the student must submit a Master's Thesis Reading Committee nomination form to the department office; this form should be submitted as early as possible and in any case no later than the second week of the quarter in which the degree is to be conferred.

M.A. Degree Application and Department Verification

An Application for the Master's Degree form must be submitted to the department at least one week prior to the Graduate Division deadline as stated on the academic calendar (normally by the end of the first week in which the degree is to be awarded).

The thesis is approved by all committee members up to six weeks, but no less than three weeks, prior to the last day of instruction (or commencement, if the student intends to participate in the ceremony). A copy of the title page, signed by all thesis committee members, must be submitted to the department for verification of completion. The department does not require a copy of the thesis.

The student must file the thesis with the Graduate Division by the last day of instruction of the quarter in which the degree is to be conferred.

NOTE: In spring quarter, the deadline for students wishing to participate in the commencement ceremony is approximately one week earlier. Guidelines for the style and filing requirements of the M.A. Thesis are detailed in the PDF "Dissertation & Thesis Guidelines", available on the Graduate Division website.

Admissions and Financial Aid

The Literature Department does not provide financial support to students pursuing the M.A. degree. Admission to the M.A. program does not constitute admission to the Ph.D. program. Students may not automatically transfer from the M.A. program into the Ph.D. program, but must reapply. Further information and application materials are available from the Division of Graduate Studies and on the department website.