Master of Arts in English: Concentration in Composition

MA English Conference info here

Grad Preview Week Event Zoom Recording: October 28, 2020


Bridget GelmsGelms, Bridget
Phone: (415) 338-3112
Office: Humanities 546






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.

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Post Fall 2019 Requirements & Courses

  • Core Requirements (15 Units)
    • ENG 702 - Introduction to Graduate Study of Composition, Linguistics, and TESOL
    • ENG 707 - Topics in Langauge Analysis
    • ENG 728 - Topics in Sociolinguistics
    • ENG 733 - Seminar in Student Teaching
    • Culminating Experience (Choose one):
      • ENG 895 - Field Study or Applied Research  Project
      • ENG 898 - Master's Thesis
  • Concentration Requirements (15 Units)
    • ENG 700 - Introduction to Composition Theory (3 units)
    • ENG 709 - Seminar in Teaching Integrated Reading and Writing (3 units)
    • ENG 710 - Course Design in Composition and Post-Secondary Reading (3 units)
    • Electives selected with an advisor's approval (6 units)

Pre Fall 2019 Requirements

See the previous bulletin for more detailed information. 

Advising/Admission Procedures

Please review before applying: Graduate Studies: Application for Admission Instructions.

International Applicants: also see Graduate Studies International Admissions

Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP): Eligible out-of-state students can now pay in-state tuition in the MA Composition program. 

The application process for the MA Composition program is as follows. If you have questions about the process, please contact:

1. Complete the online application through Cal State Apply. Create your account AND Complete your profile. 

TIP: Students who will study on a F1/J1 visa must select Non-Resident for U.S. Citizenship Status under your Extended Profile.

Please note: You will only see a list of programs that aligns with your academic degree objective.

2. Submit the following online (A-C) by uploading on the Cal State Apply site’s “Program Materials” section:

A) A 1-2 page typed statement of purpose. Please write a statement of purpose in which you do the following:

o    Explain your interest in pursuing the degree.

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

o    Establish your readiness to do graduate-level coursework.

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

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

B) 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.

C) Please upload legible unofficial copies of transcripts from each college or university attended. Including study abroad coursework, or community college coursework, even if this coursework appears as transfer credit appears on your degree transcript.  Full academic disclosure is required.  Photographs or screenshots of transcripts will be rejected. An incomplete academic history will significantly delay review of your application. The Division of Graduate Studies may request official transcripts from you at any point during the application review process.  

3. If selected for admission, you will be required to submit official transcripts to the Division of Graduate Studies in order to secure your offer of admission. Please note: if you previously attended SF State, you do not need to submit a SFSU transcript.

If selected for admission, please mail official transcripts to:

Graduate Admissions Office, ADM 250
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94132

4. International applicants who are non-native speakers of English must also have official TOEFL scores sent (institution code: 4683, department code:14). IELTS scores are also accepted.
International applicants who are non-native speakers of English must also submit a certified financial statement.

5. Two letters of recommendation that speak to your academic potential. Use the Evaluations tab to manage submission of letters of recommendation. Letter writer email addresses should be from professional or academic organizations (ex., or, not personal email addresses. Cal State Apply instructions on how to submit letters of recommendation.


Applications for Fall admission: Accepted starting October 1 – early deadline February 1, regular deadline April 1, and final deadline July 31.

Applications for Spring admission: Accepted starting August 1 – early deadline November 15, regular deadline December 1.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

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



Composition offers two graduate level certificates: