English Offers Fast Track to World Travel

Matthew Gromala, Reporter

The English Department has a new Master’s program, The Misericordia University/University of Reading International Partnership: BA to MA in English, which involves a year of study in the United Kingdom at the University of Reading in England.

Director and English professor Dr. Amanda Caleb, who originally proposed this agreement with the University of Reading, said the program went from idea to implementation in 16 months.

Caleb said two prospective students have already expressed interest in applying.

Students can choose from five Master’s programs at Reading: English, Children’s Literature, Early Modern Literature and Drama, Victorian Literature and Culture, or Modern and Contemporary Writing.

The complete program entails a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Misericordia and a one-year Master of Arts degree in English Language and Literature at Reading.

Reading was chosen partially because of its location. “It’s close to London, 30 miles outside of it,” said Caleb. It is also 30 minutes from Oxford. Tuition and other costs as well as program quality also factored into the selection.

The English Department’s website states that the MA at the University of Reading has “lower tuition fees than many US graduate programs in English; a shorter duration (twelve months as opposed to twenty-four months); world-renowned facilities and faculty. The University of Reading is ranked in the top 1 percent of universities in the world according to the Times Higher Education University Ranking, 2013-14.”

The first groups to go to England  will receive a 10 percent tuition discount, which Caleb said, “we hope to continue.” “The cost is comparable to, if not slightly less than a semester at Misericordia,” said  Caleb.

Misericordia students will also have their applications fast-tracked.  They need to write a letter of interest to the specific MA program and obtain the approval of the English department’s full-time faculty, the website states.  Students do not need GRE scores or letters of recommendation, it says.

These financial and admission benefits, as well as the expedited program length, are exclusive to Misericordia students.

Currently, the program is only open to English majors because the course load makes it difficult for others to complete the program requirements, said  Caleb. Interestingly, students in the United Kingdom declare their majors by age 16, and they do not have the core requirements that students in the US, and so they devote more time to their major, said Caleb.

Students can apply to the program as early as August of their first year, and as late as the fall of  junior year, according to the university’s website.

Prospective students will have the same curriculum  as English majors, with three additional requirements – a total of 39 credits of upper level English classes, ENG 420 Senior Seminar and ENG 450 Senior Thesis, and a choice of either HIS 210 History of England or HIS 211 History of Britain.

To stay on track, students must complete  9 upper level English classes, earn a 3.3 cumulative GPA and a GPA within their major of 3.5 , be approved for graduate study by all full-time faculty in the department, and write a letter of interest in their specific program at the University of Reading – all during Junior year.

Prospective students will receive acceptance notification by July 1 before their final year at Misericordia.

Dr. Andrew Mangham, associate professor of English at the University of Reading, will be visit Misericordia on Oct. 22-25, to give a lecture and a master class. “Students interested in the BA to MA program can meet with Andrew on Friday, Oct. 24 from 4:30 to 5 p.m. in the McGowan room; he will also be at the Open House on the 25th,” said Caleb

Caleb said there is also hope this program may lead to other international associations, particularly expanding the Reading program to include other departments, said Caleb.

For more information about the BA to MA program, visit the English Department website, and contact  Caleb at (570) 674-8113 or [email protected] For more information about The University of Reading and its English Department, go to http://reading.ac.uk/english-literature/.