As a part of Mercy College’s accreditation, the MA English Literature program (like every program at Mercy College) is required to maintain and occasionally share among our graduate student community what our accreditors refer to as “program learning goals” and “student learning outcomes.” These things have very particular meanings in accrediting parlance, and those meanings don’t always translate to or encompass the spirit of humanities disciplines such as graduate English literature, a spirit which by its nature involves complexities, nuances, shadows, and wonderworkings which to some degree resist reductionist measurement and assessment (and since reductionist measurement and assessment form the basis of all 21st-century college accreditation, this puts English literary studies in a strange situation).
The MA program has necessarily, then, developed program learning goals and student learning outcomes which work to speak true to our curriculum and to the needs of our accreditation requirements, while also remaining flexible and generic enough so as to not betray the more nebulous spirit and explorations of graduate English literature study.
Below are the MA in English Literature program’s current program learning goals:
- Students will develop their knowledge and comprehension of a variety of literary texts (Program Learning Goal 1)
- Students will develop their knowledge and comprehension of critical approaches and literary concepts (Program Learning Goal 2)
- Students will develop their critical and creative thinking, and their research and writing skills, toward the aim of developing a professional-level proficiency in these areas (Program Learning Goal 3)
Below are the program’s four student learning outcomes. Such outcomes require an even more particular phrasing: they must signal something that a student is expected to be able to do at the end of coursework, as a result of coursework, that they could not do, or could not do as well, at the start of coursework. So: By the end of the MA English Literature program, students are expected to be able to:
- Analyze and interpret literary texts (Student Learning Outcome 1)
- Apply critical approaches and concepts to the analysis and interpretation of literary texts (Student Learning Outcome 2)
- Conduct research relevant to the field, and evaluate source quality (Student Learning Outcome 3)
- Create original research topics and produce writings on those topics which demonstrate clear writing and accurate documentation style (Student Learning Outcome 4)
In one way or another those goals and outcomes undergird all of the curriculum in the MA English Literature program. If anyone has any questions about any of this, feel free to contact the Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.