Composition Program

Coordinator

Mark Roberge  Roberge, Mark
Email: roberge@sfsu.edu
Phone: (415) 338-7457
Office: Humanities 467

 

 

 

 

Overview

As a Master of Arts (M.A.) student in San Francisco State University’s English Composition program, you will join a vibrant intellectual and scholarly community devoted to the study of written communication and the teaching of writing across multiple contexts.

In this program, you will find yourself in a dynamic learning environment, taking courses that change as the field develops, and in which you are not merely encouraged but expected to contribute both to knowledge in the field and to one another's growth. We offer demanding and challenging courses conducted in a friendly, informal atmosphere. While students are expected to work to very high standards, you will receive close personal attention and support.

Your M.A. in English Composition will prepare you to teach writing in community college and university settings; administer writing programs; direct campus learning centers or writing centers; or pursue a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition or Writing Studies.

Graduate Alumni Trailblazers

Hear testimonials from our very own alumni of our composition master's and certificate programs to find out how this degree helped them get to where they are today.

Requirements

Students of any undergraduate major may apply to the program.

See bulletin for more detailed information. 

Courses

15 Units of Core Courses 

English 700: Introduction to Composition Theory (3 Units)

Issues of composition theory, research, and classroom practice. Introduction to graduate studies in Composition.

English 704: Pedagogical Grammar for Composition (3 Units)

Theory and practice of responding to linguistic, stylistic, and rhetorical issues in student writing.

English 709: Seminar in Teaching Integrated Reading and Writing (3 Units)

Exploration of the integration of reading and writing from both a theoretical and pedagogical perspective.

English 710: Course Design in Composition and Post-Secondary Reading (3 Units)

Theory and practice of designing post-secondary reading and composition courses. This course is offered only in Spring semesters. Prerequisite: English 709.

English 895: Field Study (3 Units)

Field study or research project incorporating application of knowledge and techniques acquired in the student's program of study. CR/NC grading only

15 Units of Elective Courses, chosen in consultation with advisor

Advising/Admission Procedures

Part I: Application to Graduate Studies:

  • Complete an online application with Graduate Studies through Cal State ApplyNOTE: Do not submit your Statement of Purpose to Graduate Studies, as it will be included with the materials you send to the department. On page 9 of the Graduate Studies Application, simply state that your personal statement has been sent directly to the Department of English.
  • Send one set of transcripts from all colleges attended to Graduate Studies.

The phone number for Graduate Studies is (415) 338-2234.

Part II: Application to the Department or English:

Send the following materials together in one package directly to the Department of English, M.A. Composition:

  • A 1-2 page typed statement of purpose.
    Please write a statement of purpose in which you do the following:
    • Explain your interest in pursuing the degree.
    • Describe any previous experience that may contribute to your success in the program.
    • Establish your readiness to do graduate-level coursework.
    • Explain what you plan to do with the degree/certificate upon completion.
    • In addition, be sure your statement of purpose demonstrates your ability to produce clear, cogent, and polished prose.
  • A recent writing sample (approximate length: between 7 and 10 pages). This writing should be analytic in nature. It may be from a previous course you have taken or it may be writing you undertook in your professional pursuit beyond the classroom. Please include a statement with your signature that certifies that the writing sample is your own.
  • One set of official transcripts from all colleges attended.
  • Two letters of recommendation that speak to your academic potential.

These documents should be on file in the Department of English no later than March 15 for fall admission, or November 1 for spring admission. International applicants should submit their materials by January 1 for fall admission or September 1 for spring admission.

Career Options in Composition

  • Teaching composition and reading
  • Writing program administration
  • Learning center administration
  • Profession writing and consulting
  • Editing
  • Preparation for doctoral work in composition

Faculty

Certificate in the Teaching of Composition

Coordinator

Mark Roberge
Email: roberge@sfsu.edu
Phone: (415) 338-7457
Office: HUM 467

Description

The program is designed for people who want to teach composition at the senior high school, community college, college and adult levels. It is aimed at both experienced and aspirant teachers who wish to learn about the field of composition and who wish to improve their classroom practice.

Requirements/Guidelines

Admission to the Program

  • If you currently are NOT a matriculated M.A. student at SF State, and you wish to apply for admission to the certificate program, you must apply to the university. To do so, you will need to apply to SF State Graduate Studies online Cal State Apply. You must also fill out the internal Department of English application (pdf) and submit it to the department. A statement of purpose should be submitted with your Department of English application. The statement of purpose should:
    • Explain your interest in pursuing the degree.
    • Describe any previous experience that may contribute to your success in the program.
    • Establish your readiness to do graduate-level coursework.
    • Explain what you plan to do with the degree/certificate upon completion.
    • In addition, be sure your statement of purpose demonstrates your ability to produce clear, cogent, and polished prose.
  • If you currently ARE a matriculated M.A. student at SF State, and you wish to apply for admission to the program, you do not need to apply to the University, but you must fill out the internal Department of English application and submit the application, statement of purpose, and unofficial transcripts to the Department of English office in HUM 484. Details on what should be included in the statement of purpose are above. The application (pdf) is available online. The deadline to apply for fall semester is May 1; the deadline to apply for spring semester is November 1.

Please note that you cannot take more than one course for the certificate program through College of Extended Learning. Also, certificate students who are not enrolled in a master’s program are not eligible for financial aid.

Courses

The certificate consists of four courses: English 700, 704, 709, and 710.

  • English 700: Introduction to Composition Theory: Issues of composition theory, research, and classroom practice. Introduction to graduate studies in Composition.
  • English 704: Pedagogical Grammar for Composition: Theory and practice of responding to linguistic, stylistic, and rhetorical issues in student writing.
  • English 709: Seminar in Teaching Integrated Reading and Writing: Exploration of the integration of reading and writing from both a theoretical and pedagogical perspective.
  • English 710: Course Design in Composition and Post-Secondary Reading: Theory and practice of designing post-secondary reading and composition courses. This course is offered only in spring semesters. Prerequisite: English 709.

Requirement Upon Completion

For the final award of the degree, students must fill out a Certificate Approved Program (CAP) form (pdf) available on the Graduate Studies website, pay the $7.00 application fee at the Cashier's Office, and submit the form to the Department of English Office in HUM 484 for the Certificates in the Teaching of Composition and Post-Secondary Reading.

No course applied to the Certificate may be taken CR/NC, and a grade of A or B must be earned in each course. Students wishing to earn the Certificate must follow all University requirements and procedures for graduate certificate programs as outlined in the San Francisco State University Bulletin. For further information, contact the English Department, HUM 484, (415) 338-2264 or Graduate Studies at 338-2234.

Certificate in Teaching Post-Secondary Reading

Coordinator

Mark Roberge
Email: roberge@sfsu.edu
Phone: (415) 338-7457
HUM 467

Description

The certificate in Teaching Post-Secondary Reading is designed to assist prospective and already practicing post-secondary teachers in meeting specific individual professional needs in the areas of basic literacy and reading instruction. The certificate can help prepare students for teaching position in the community colleges and community agencies where specialized background and techniques in reading instruction are desirable.

The certificate meets new requirements for teaching reading in the community colleges (Assembly Bill 1725) which specifies that new instructors must possess a master’s degree in Education with a specialization in reading, or master’s in English or ESL with additional certification in the teaching of reading.

Requirements/Guidelines

Admission to the Program

This 12-unit program is open to all graduate students in English, unclassified graduate students, and candidates for degrees in other departments.  For M.A. Literature candidates, the sequence of courses is separate from the 30 unit Literature requirement.  Candidates pursuing the Certificate or M.A. in Teaching of Composition may con-currently complete the requirement for the certificate in Post-Secondary Reading.

  • If you currently are NOT a matriculated M.A. student at SF State, and you wish to apply for admission to the certificate program, you must apply to the University. To do so, you will need to apply online at Cal State Apply. You must also fill out the internal Department of English application (pdf) and submit it to the department. A statement of purpose should be submitted with your English Department application. The statement of purpose should:

• Explain your interest in pursuing the degree.

• Describe any previous experience that may contribute to your success in the program.

• Establish your readiness to do graduate-level coursework.

• Explain what you plan to do with the degree/certificate upon completion. 

In addition, be sure that your statement of purpose demonstrates your ability to produce clear, cogent, and polished prose. 

  • If you currently ARE a matriculated M.A. student at SF State, and you wish to apply for admission to the program, you do not need to apply to the university, but you must fill out the internal English Department application and submit the application, statement of purpose, and unofficial transcripts to the Department of English office in HUM 484. Details on what should be included in the statement of purpose are above. The application is available online (pdf).The deadline to apply for fall semester is May 1; the deadline to apply for spring semester is November 1.

Please note that you cannot take more than one course for the certificate program through College of Extended Learning. Also, certificate students who are not enrolled in a master’s program are not eligible for financial aid.

Certificate Program Courses

The courses of the Certificate program, English 701, 709, 710 and 715, emphasize both theory and practice. While students receive theory primarily in English 701 and 709, coursework in all four courses, provide opportunities for immediate benefits in the practice of teaching.    

This seminar explores the theoretical background and recent research influencing secondary and college-level reading instruction. Students will read and discuss books, journal articles and research reports relating to the acquisition of literacy at all levels. Among others, topics will include current observations concerning the role of prior knowledge and reader’s “schema” in the reading process, general linguistic processes involved in developing reading and other basic literacy skills, and reading and writing relationships. Students participate in planning individual and group presentations as well as classroom lessons which translate some aspect of research into effective teaching practice. This course can be taken concurrently with English 715. Although not a prerequisite, some prior or concurrent experience in teaching or tutoring is desirable.

  • English 701: Theoretical Backgrounds in College Reading Instruction
  • English 709: Seminar in Teaching Integrated Reading/Writing - Exploration of the integration of reading and writing from both a theoretical and pedagogical perspective.
  • English 710: Course Design in Composition and Post-Secondary Reading - Theory and practice of designing post-secondary reading and composition courses. This course is offered only in Spring semesters. Prerequisite: English 709.
  • English 715: Pedagogy and Practice of Post-Secondary Reading - This course combines an introduction to theory and specific techniques in reading instruction for low-level readers, ESL learners, and college students with “hands-on” experience and observation. Through tutoring assignments in the Department of English Tutoring Center classes*, students will learn to identify and diagnose specific reading/basic-literacy problems (including those related to initial writing and spelling skills) and develop effective strategies for attacking these problems. In addition, class participants will research and report on areas of particular professional or practical interest.  If desired, an additional unit of Independent Study credit is automatically available for students who complete the course requirements. Although not a prerequisite, concurrent enrollment in English 701 would be useful.

Requirement Upon Completion

For the final award of the degree, students must fill out a Certificate Approved Program (CAP) form (pdf) available on the Graduate Studies website, pay the $7.00 application fee at the Cashier's Office, and submit the form to the Department of English Office in HUM 484 for the Certificates in the Teaching of Composition and Post-Secondary Reading.