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Course Descriptions


ED 561 Teaching Language Pragmatics

Designed for ESL teachers (in training and service). It focuses on ESL classroom practices based on the latest principles of applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, especially as these principles relate to language use versus language usage. Prerequisites: ED 502 and ED 503. (3)

English - Literature

EN 501 Building Textual Interpretation

This course familiarizes students with the processes of critical analysis and scholarly research at the graduate level by examining texts — both the read and the written — as constructed texts. It emphasizes two skill sets necessary for graduate-level work in literature and cultural studies: the first set focuses on the key building blocks of critical and textual analysis; the second relates to bibliographic and research methodologies, drawing where possible on the wealth of resources in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. (3)

EN 502 Engaging Critical Theory

This course involves a study of the major contributions to modern literary theory in Europe and the United States. Students will engage critical theory in historical and literary context and apply critical theory to a variety of texts, both written and performative. (3)

EN 522 Out of the ’30s: Literature, Social Advocacy, and the Great Depression

The years of the Great Depression saw the rise of a new generation of writers who confidently attempted to combine literature and social advocacy. This course examines two groups of writers: one is predominantly Northern, urban, and progressive; the other is predominantly Southern, agrarian, and conservative. (3)

EN 527 Dante’s Florence and the Divine Comedy

The Comedy masterfully treats the enduring issues of sin and retribution, worthy and unworthy love, forgiveness and redemption, but it emerged out of Dante’s deep involvement with the problems of political and ecclesiasti-cal corruption that beset his own time and place. Through an intensive study of Dante’s major text in its political and cultural contexts, this literature course seeks to heighten students’ ability to use close textual analysis as ways both of responding to the rich complexities of Dante’s poem and of gaining historical insight into the medieval world. (Also listed as HUM 527.) (3)

EN 533 Shakespeare: Text and Performance

This course conducts an intensive study of several Shakespearean plays in both text and performance. Each play will be considered as representative of a specific genre (comedy, tragedy, history), and will be examined from both Renaissance/Early Modern and contemporary perspectives. In addition, there will be consideration for the staging and producing of plays through an experiential frame, examining the different methods for dramatic production, whether for stage, film, or television. (3)

EN 542 Origins of the “Novel”: Text, Context, and Critique

The 18th century, which saw the proliferation of print culture, the inauguration of Enlightenment thought, and the expansion of the British empire, also witnessed the emergence of a new literary form to figure that modern world. This literature course examines the earliest British “novels,” the historical and cultural contexts from which they developed in the 18th century, and important critical thought about the form both before and after Ian Watt’s watershed Rise of the Novel. (3)

EN 545 Social Upheaval and Dramatic Structure

The Vietnam War, violence in the streets, and the unrest on college campuses in America in the late ’60s worked profound changes in the fabric of American life, reflect-ed in the plays of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. This literature course traces these changes from a background examination of the evolution of realism into more overt political forms. (3)

EN 549 Topics in Counter-Cultural Literary Movements

This is a topics course that will provide an in-depth study of a specific counter-cultural literary movement or time period. The course will examine works from several genres within a given literary movement or time period, and will study these works within their critical and historical context. In particular, the course will examine how re-current thematic and structural patterns challenge or respond to Western European literary traditions. Specific topics will rotate, and the course may be taken more than once, provided the student selects different literary topics. (3)

EN 550 General Linguistics

This course involves a study of the basic concepts of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and prag-matics. (3)

EN 551 Composition: Theory and Practice

This course provides a theoretical and practical overview of the teaching of composition. Students read and respond to theories of composition as well as to central debates in the field. They study the composition practices of a single classroom while reflecting on their own experiences as academic writers. The course culminates in a research paper that synthesizes and analyzes current research on one issue in the field of composition and in a teaching portfolio that includes course materials and teaching philosophy. (3)

EN 552 Applied Phonology

This course involves the study of phonetics and phone-mics including comparative analysis techniques. Emphasis is given to phonology and the ESL learner. (3)

EN 554 Applied Grammar: Syntactic Structures

This course involves an analysis of contemporary English grammar that investigates meaning in written and oral discourse. Emphasis is given to the application of English grammar in second-language learning. (3)

EN 558 History of the English Language

This courses traces the development of English from its Anglo-Saxon roots to its present-day form. (3)

EN 559 Studies in Creative Writing

This course involves an investigation into the stylistic, theoretical, and technical elements of several creative genres, such as fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and/or writing for performance, through contemporary literature, literary theory, and writing exercises. This course is provided in both a seminar and workshop for-mat. It concentrates on the analysis of contemporary literature as well as the production, critique, and revision of student writing. It may be taken more than once provided that the course content changes. (3)

EN 561 Topics in College Composition

Provides an in-depth study of one issue important to the field of composition studies. The course will examine the historical significance of this issue as well as its current theoretical and pedagogical debates. Special attention will be paid to analyzing research studies about the issue. Specific topics will rotate and the course may be taken more than once, provided the student selects different topics. (3)

EN 571 Technology for College Literature and Writing

In this course, students will explore and evaluate a range of technologies that impact writing pedagogy, literary analysis, and how knowledge is shared with others. Students will analyze key theories and debates about the promise and dangers of using technology in college English pedagogy and scholarship. This course combines theoretical foundations with practical application. (3)

EN 572 Canterbury Tales and the Late Medieval World

This course explores both the artistic mastery Chaucer exhibits in The Canterbury Tales and the historical con-text in which his story collection took shape. Chaucer’s life intersected with major historical turning points: the Black Death, the Hundred Years’ War, the Avignon papacy and the Great Schism, the Peasants’ Revolt, the rise of the Wycliffite heresy, the emergence of diplomacy in international politics, the increasing importance of the English language, and the shift from a primarily oral to an increasingly literate culture. The course strives to illuminate both the external world of business and politics and the inner world of philosophic and poetic insight. (3)

EN 576 Literary Proponents of Culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Working from a standpoint established by Matthew Arnold and Lionel Trilling, this course examines works by six authors. Goethe, Melville, and Joyce demonstrate the synthesizing activity of the creative imagination faithful to myth and literary tradition. Marx, Freud, and Wittgen-stein demonstrate the analytical activity of the rational mind bent on changing society, the psyche, or language. (3)

EN 580 Independent Study

This course gives students the opportunity to pursue in depth, and under the direction of a faculty member, a topic in literature and/or language for which no formal course is available. (3)

EN 590 Major Author(s)

This course provides an in-depth study of one or two major writers. Author(s) will be announced in the course schedule. This course may be taken more than once provided that the student selects different authors. (3)

EN 690 Practicum

This course serves as a capstone experience for students pursuing the master’s degree for career enhancement or career change rather than as a basis for further advanced study. It provides students with an opportunity to apply and extend the skills and knowledge developed in their graduate courses and to foster increased self-knowledge and reflection on their career goals and on their strengths and weaknesses. (3)

EN 695 Master’s Project

This capstone course offers the student an opportunity to write a substantial and original critical/interpretive paper in literary and/or linguistic studies and to present its main features to an audience of peers and faculty members. This paper should draw on various aspects of the student’s previous studies. (3)

Fine Arts

FA 502 Theories and Methods of Art History

Introduces graduate students to the different approaches that art historians have used to study works of art. Students will explore issues unique and central to investigating art, as well as the many connections between art and other disciplines in the humanities. The class will also discuss major writings by art historians who have helped share the discipline, and students will apply these methods to an analysis of works of art in the broader Washington, DC, area. (3)

FA 585 Art and Culture in Early Modern Northern Europe

Investigates visual arts in Northern Europe from the 15th to the 17th century within the historical context of Early Modern culture. Students will engage with a range of subjects, including developing spiritual and religious practices, popular literature, the rise of capitalist economies, and shifting political ideologies, each considered through the speculum of the fine arts. The course will focus primarily on examples of Northern European Renaissance and Baroque art in regional collections, with frequent visits to area museums. (3)


HI 503 Foundations of Historical Thought

A graduate-level introduction to the methodology of the historical discipline. Course readings and discussions will center around a particular broad theme that has long engaged examination by historians, such as liberty, justice, war, law, and power. By exploring this theme, students will learn to develop the habits of thinking by which the historian tries to recreate the world of the past and see those past worlds through the eyes of those who lived in it. It will also introduce students to unique research opportunities in the Washington, DC, area. (3)

HI 550 The Intellectual History of the American Revolution

Explores the intellectual history of the American Revolutionary Era, from 1750 to 1785. Students will seek to identify the concepts and cognitive methods which early Americans used to answer political questions and guide political behavior. Students will be introduced to the major interpretive schools on this subject and read broadly in the Revolutionary political literature, from pamphlets and essays to sermons and private letters. The course provides the opportunity for advanced study of the history and historiography of the American Revolution as an intellectual phenomenon. (3)


HUM 524 Myth, Symbol, and Language

This course is an inquiry into linguistic meaning. Topics may include speech-act theory; naming and reference; the relation of language to thought, truth and objectivity; metaphor; language ideologies; and the role gender plays in the construction of linguistic meaning. This course may also examine structuralist and post-structuralist approaches to myth and language. This course may be taught from a number of humanities disciplines. (3)

HUM 525 King Arthur and Camelot: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

This course examines “Arthuriana” in its many guises, including archaeology, art, film, history, literature, mu-sic, and pop culture. This course may be taught from a number of humanities disciplines. (3)

HUM 528 Visions of Freedom in the Modern World

This course examines the diverse concepts of “freedom” that bear upon the individual in the 20th century. This course may be taught from a number of humanities disciplines. (3)

HUM 560 Lies and Secrets

This course will explore social and moral questions associated with lying and secrecy. When, if ever, is it morally permissible to lie? Is it invariably wrong to reveal someone’s secret to the public? To what extent are political candidates and government officials obligated to be open with the public about their personal affairs or their religious beliefs? How are these questions treated in literary or other cultural contexts? This course may be taught from a number of humanities disciplines. (3)

HUM 574 Gender, Race, and Empire

This course explores the impact of empire and empire-building on culture, with an emphasis on attitudes concerning the “other” in society – women, the working class, and people of color. Students will also explore the ways in which attitudes toward gender roles and race shape the discourses of empire. This course may be taught from a number of humanities disciplines. (3)

HUM 599 Independent Study

An interdisciplinary investigation of a topic under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Topics must be approved by the Literature, Language and the Humanities program director; students should refer to the Guidelines for In-dependent Study issued by the School of Arts and Sciences. The thematic group and the disciplinary focus of each section will be determined by the topic of the individual investigation. (3)

HUM 690 Practicum

This course offers the student an opportunity to gain experience in a humanities-based institution in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region. All students will keep a journal of their on-site experiences; each student will choose either to contribute in a substantial way to a major project at the institution or to produce a re-searched essay based on that experience. Prerequisites: completion of 8 graduate courses. (3)

HUM 695 Master’s Project

This course offers the student an opportunity to research and write a substantial and original critical/interpretive thesis on an interdisciplinary topic in the humanities, and to present its main features to an audience of peers and faculty members. This thesis must demonstrate the student’s ability to integrate materials from different disciplines, and must support independent conclusions in writing of commendable quality. Prerequisites: completion of 8 graduate courses. (3)

Information Technology

IT 502 Creating Websites

An introductory course that investigates the business and technology of websites. Students study design issues such as navigation, usability, site architecture, search engine optimization, and Web 2.0 techniques. Students explore basic Web creation techniques, such as HTML, JavaS-cript, and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). They learn how to interface with IT professionals to specify complex requirements. They create and publish their own sites to demonstrate their understanding of these issues. (3)

IT 550 Ethics, Law, and Policy in the Information Age

Introduces students to the ethical, legal, and policy issues raised by designing, developing, and using information technology. Issues that are researched and debated in the course include subjects such as information privacy, environmental conservation, effective energy use, limits on the use of technology, the digital divide, customer pro-filing, open source, copyright violation, globalization, and outsourcing. Students are expected to independently research the issues, make presentations to the class, and support their case. (3)

Interior Design

ID 554 Historic Preservation Seminar

Explores the significance of the historic preservation movement in this country emphasizing its relationship to interior design. Through individual readings, site visits, and presentations, students research and analyze the history of preservation and its legislative initiatives, as well as preservation projects and practices. (3)


MGT 537 Nonprofit Management

A graduate-level introduction to the field of nonprofit management. Topics addressed include managing the nonprofit and nonprofit leadership, the structure of the nonprofit enterprise, nonprofit lobbying and advocacy, nonprofit fundraising, and nonprofit financial management. The course offers both a theoretical and a practical application-oriented overview of the field. (3)


PH 504 Philosophy and the Humanities

A graduate-level introduction to philosophy as a context for humanistic inquiry. Readings and class discussion will focus on foundational issues such as the distinction between the sciences and the humanities, theories of truth, interpretation, and historical knowledge, and theories of art and aesthetic value. Students will learn to interpret and evaluate primary source texts to appreciate how influential philosophers have framed questions and constructed theories about these subjects. In addition, during the semester, students will attend one or more relevant academic events at a DC area research institution to learn about contemporary philosophical research. (3)

Theology and Religious Studies

TRS 565 Violence, Religion, and Peacemaking

This course takes an interdisciplinary perspective to explore the phenomenon of religious violence and religious peacemaking. Students will examine historical and contemporary examples of religiously justified violence and peacemaking in a variety of religious traditions and undertake a research project on a specific case study. (3)

Graduate Program in English & Humanities

Dr. Marguerite Rippy, Director
(703) 526-6805

G122 Butler Hall
Marymount University
2807 N. Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22207

Interested in graduate education in English and Humanities? Download A Guide to Getting a Master's in English and Humanities now!

English and the Humanities (M.A.)

English and the Humanities (M.A.)