Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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MA wWC Comprehensive Exam

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M.A. with Writing Concentration Comprehensive Exam

As of Fall 2013, we are no longer accepting applications to the MA with Writing Concentration degree program.

The following students are exempt from the Comprehensive Exam
  • Students matriculating in Summer 2012 or later
  • Students planning to graduate after Summer 2012
Students wishing to graduate with a M.A. with WC degree in Summer 2012 (or earlier) must take the Comprehensive Exam as part of their exit

Students who have matriculated in Spring 2012 or before may elect to take the M.A. with WC Comprehensive Exam and have their Capstone count as one of their 6 required writing courses. The exam will be administered by special request to any of these students.  Students who wish to make such a request should send an e-mail to the Director of Creative Writing and the Graduate Administrator no later than the add/drop date of the semester in which they plan to take the exam. The current M.A. with WC reading list will be used for this exam.

Before the Exam
  • Students should have completed their coursework before taking their M.A. with WC Comprehensive Exam.  Exams are offered three times a year: in the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.
  • Students should take, at most, only one class during the semester they plan to take their exam.

Exam Registration

  • After their special request is received by the Director of Creative Writing, students register for the exam officially with GSAS by enrolling in the following courses via the my.Fordham portal here.  Registration for these classes should take place within the GSAS official registration schedule and no later than the Add/Drop deadline.  (Registration usually begins in April for the Fall and Summer semesters and in December for the Spring semester.)
    • ENGL 0936: The MA Comp Exam (0 credit course)
    • ENGL 0934: Comp Prep (1/2 credit course.  If you have completed your coursework (the Capstone course counts as a course), your registration is required for this 1/2 credit course each Fall and Spring semester up to and including the semester in which you register for the Comprehensive Exam). 
  • Students then register with the English department by:
    • Filling out the M.A. with WC Comprehensive Exam Registration Form and submitting this to the Graduate Administrator at

Exam Format

  • The exam consists of three one-hour essay questions.
  • The student is given a choice of three questions for each of the three essays.
  • Questions will focus on an assigned Reading List which can be found here.


There are three official possible grades on the M.A. with WC exam:
  • High Pass (distinguished work of the highest caliber)
  • Pass (satisfactory work)
  • Failure
There is also the unofficial grade of Low Pass, which indicates marginally passable work (not suitable for Ph.D. program admission). Low Pass officially lists as a Pass, and therefore allows for a student to receive the degree. All M.A. with WC exam grades are the product of agreement between at least two faculty members. M.A. with WC students who fail their exam may re-take it once; they should consult with the Creative Writing Director and the Graduate Director to plan their further preparation.

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