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LTWR Mission

The Literature and Writing Studies Department is a scholarly community of students and faculty committed to innovative teaching and learning. Critical reading, writing, and thinking occur in and serve a range of communities: local, regional, global, and historical. Therefore, we value the following principles:

Cultural Studies and Diversity Studies: Cultural studies and diversity studies are central to our community. These two interdisciplinary approaches to the study of texts include consideration of perspectives such as gender, class, sexuality, disability, nationalism, ethnicity, and race. Cultural studies and diversity studies are fundamental to literary and writing studies and provide intellectual tools that enrich our analysis of texts within and across cultures.

Canon Formation: Cultures, local and international, contemporary and historical, create canons. Canons are a significant result of each culture's literary community. Therefore, comprehending canons, canon formation, and non-canonical texts is essential to understanding and contributing to literary and writing traditions.

Theory and History: Theory and history serve as tools to help us explore and demonstrate our understanding of texts within and across cultures. A range of theoretical approaches and historical knowledge provide us with necessary thinking tools.

Reading: Meaningful analysis requires careful reading. Engaging in close reading makes it possible to takes account of rhetorical, prosodic, and other formal features. It also provides a careful grounding in the ideological, cultural, and institutional contexts in which meaning is produced, deepening our understanding of texts and the cultures from which they come.

Writing: Creating and presenting texts and related media in a variety of genres enriches our understanding of the constructed nature of literary materials. The ability to produce clear and compelling communication in writing is fundamental to literary and writing studies.

Translations and Changing Meanings: Understanding that the translation of texts across languages changes the meanings of these texts is crucial to building interpretive skills. A reading knowledge of at least one language other than English is desirable for an advanced understanding of literature and writing in a global context.

About the Master's Degree

The CSUSM Literature and Writing Studies Department offers graduate study leading to the Master of Arts degree. Our mission is to prepare students for study at the doctoral level, teaching at the community and junior college level, and occupations in the private and the public sectors that require a high degree of literacy. Rather than offering an emphasis in literature or writing studies at the master's level, our program aims to balance and integrate these activities. Because most of our students are, or eventually will be, teachers, our intention is to provide a graduate teaching apprenticeship within the program that begins with classes, seminars, and close faculty mentoring, leading to internships, tutoring, and teaching assistantships. Qualified students may tutor students with writing problems or teach general education writing courses. Internships may also be arranged at community colleges, the California Center for the Arts, or in other settings in the public and private sector where teaching, writing, and research skills are central activities. 

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.

The application deadline is as follows:

  • March 15th for admission in Fall Semester.

Application may be made only for Fall admission (this is a change from previous years, when we admitted candidates in both Spring and Fall Semesters). Please see our admissions and application information.


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