English majors who are particularly committed and interested in pursuing graduate-level work may apply to "submatriculate" and work toward the B.A. and M.A. degree in English at the same time. Students interested in submatriculation should consult with three people: Niel McDowell in the College Office concerned with submatriculation (120 Claudia Cohen Hall, 215-898-6341), the undergraduate chair of English, and the graduate chair of English. All three of these people need to sign the permit form for submatriculation, which may be obtained from the College advising office. This form must then be submitted to Dr. Pat Rea in the Graduate School office at 3401 Walnut Street, Suite 322A. Following the submission of this form, students must complete an application for admission to the M.A. program in English, through the online application portal. This application will be evaluated by the graduate chair of English and the graduate admissions committee. Students should look at the application early in the process so they know what is required, as the application may change from year to year.
Additional information about submatriculation can be found on the College website.
The requirements for the master's degree in English are: eight courses, including at least one 700-level course, and the graduate language requirement (to be satisfied by passing a translation exam administered by the graduate program in English). Graduate courses taken in other departments may count towards the M.A. degree, with the approval of the graduate chair of English.
While it is possible to submatriculate by spending the senior year taking four graduate courses per semester, we do not encourage it because the schedule can be very demanding. Instead, we advise taking a graduate class in the fall or spring of junior year, both as a way to test whether you truly want to submatriculate and, if so, as a way to complete one of the required eight courses during the junior year. Qualified students may take more than one graduate course in the junior year. While undergraduates cannot enroll in 700-level courses prior to the official process of submatriculating, they can enroll in 500-level courses with the permission of the instructor.
The submatriculant should consult with the undergraduate chair to ensure that all undergraduate requirements are satisfied, since submatriculants must still fulfill all the requirements of the English major. Up to four graduate courses taken as a submatriculant may be counted toward the undergraduate major, either in the Core or as advanced seminars.
Applicants should have already taken at least three 200-level courses in the English Department at Penn before applying. The standards for acceptance include strong evidence that the student is capable of withstanding the rigors of taking multiple graduate courses per semester, based on the transcript and recommendations.
The application will require recommendation letters, preferably from standing faculty in the English Department at Penn; a personal statement (about 600 words) that explains the reasons, both intellectual and professional, why you want to submatriculate; 3) a writing sample or samples of 10-20 pages total; an official transcript. The GRE exam is not required.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis from November 1 until April 1 of the junior year.