Category Archives: Course Information

ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis Tutorial: How To Enroll

Just a reminder here: Anyone getting close to the end of the MA program needs to start thinking about the ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis Tutorial. Let’s look at some basic points about what it is, what you have to do to enroll in it, and what you do once in it:

  • ENGL 599 counts for three credits, like any other course, and is a requirement for the MA degree. Unlike any other course in the program, 599 is run as a one-on-one tutorial between each student and a chosen professor (mentor).
  • The tutorial is always taken during whatever you intend to be your final semester in the program.
  • During the tutorial you have one responsibility and goal: writing a 25-page thesis paper on a topic of your choice, involving primary and secondary sources that you select, all operating under the guidance of your mentor.
  • To pass the tutorial your thesis paper must receive final approval from your mentor and from a second reader selected from the MA faculty.
  • You enroll in 599 using a different process than for any other course in the MA program:
  1. First, during the semester prior to your final semester, think up a general topic or idea for your thesis and write it down. Your thesis topic can be based on a paper written for another course earlier in the program; you can even use that paper as the first draft for your thesis paper.
  2. Contact any professor teaching in the program and ask the professor if he or she would be your mentor. Include your general topic along with your request. If the professors says yes, you will then work up a more formal thesis proposal with that mentor; If your selected professor cannot mentor you, you can either just ask another professor or can contact the program director at cloots@mercy.edu and a mentor will be assigned.
  3. In the meantime, be aware that all students must take and pass the program’s Comprehensive Exam in the time between the penultimate and ultimate semester in the program. So while you’re developing your thesis proposal with your mentor, also start thinking about the Comp Exam which you must request from the program director upon completing your penultimate semester. Students must complete their Comp Exam before beginning their 599 tutorial.
  4. Once you have developed a formal thesis proposal under the mentor’s guidance, and once the mentor deems it acceptable, the mentor will contact the program director who then opens up an individual 599 section for each student with the mentor as professor. It is therefore impossible to be “closed out” of a 599 as each one is opened on an individual basis. The only way a student who needs to be in ENGL 599 might not get into one is if the student doesn’t do these steps in a timely-enough fashion as to have this all settled by the start of the final semester.

Students Needing ENGL 500 this fall should email cloots@mercy.edu now

ENGL 500 is the MA program’s NY State “core course” which means all students must complete it as a part of their degree requirements. The course runs during each fall semester, and only during each fall semester.

Entrance into the fall 2019 instance of ENGL 500 is going to be by permit-only. Every single student who needs to take 500 this fall will get a seat. Students who need to take the course this fall are those who are on track to graduate prior to the fall 2020 semester but who have not yet completed the course. Once every student who needs the course this fall has been enrolled, we will also give permits to other students interested in taking the course this fall.

We’re doing this to ensure that students who must have the course this fall do not find themselves shut out of the course.

The first step in this process is for everyone who has not yet completed 500 and who plans to complete their MA degree prior to fall 2020 to email the program director now at cloots@mercy.edu indicating that you need the course. We will begin building a list of all students who need it and will begin entering permits for these students later this spring semester after general registration opens.

Students who do not plan to graduate prior to fall 2020 but who would like a seat in this fall 2019 instance of the course should also email the program director now at cloots@mercy.edu indicating interest. Once all students who need the course this time around have enrolled, we will begin issuing permits to the remaining students in the order that they emailed their request, first come first serve. If anyone has any questions about any of this, contact the director at cloots@mercy.edu.

Important Notice for Students in “Working Women in the USA”

The following book previously required for the Working Women in the USA course is now not a required purchase:

  • Working Women in American Literature 1865-1950, ISBN 9781498546782

Dr. Gogol will still be using that book for the class this semester, but will now be providing scans of relevant sections of it during the semester. This change is due to the unusually high cost of the book, and the valid concerns about the cost raised by a number of students.

Some Books for your spring courses

Below are some of the book orders for the spring courses. Because professors are still in the process of determining their reading lists, you should consider this a list-in-progress. Works listed below are a certainty but more works might be added. Ultimately the syllabus your professors share in class will mark the definitive list, but this here will allow you to start securing at least some of your books ahead of the semester. I will update this list throughout December and January if/as I receive more book info from the different professors. The Mercy College bookstore will list the book orders too, but they purposefully don’t give you specific edition information or ISBN numbers in order to “dissuade” you from buying the books for cheaper elsewhere. Search by the ISBN to ensure you are securing the right edition for your courses. I recommend Alibris for finding inexpensive used copies and Powell’s for fairly-priced new books, but of course you can buy your books anywhere.

505 Transformations of the Epic
  • Beowulf, ISBN 9780451530967
  • The Divine Comedy, ISBN 9780142437223
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh, ISBN 9780140441000
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ISBN 9780393930252
  • The Iliad, ISBN 9780140275360
  • Nibelungenlied, ISBN 9780140441376
  • Song of Roland, ISBN 9780486422404
514 Sam Shepard
  • Sam Shepard: Seven Plays, ISBN 9780553346114
  • Spy of the First Person, ISBN 9780525521563
  • Fool for Love and Other Plays, ISBN 9780553345902
  • Great Dream of Heaven, ISBN 9780375704529
  • Hawk Moon, 9780933826236
522 Humanism in Renaissance Texts
  • The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism, ISBN 9780521436243
540 Ulysses

Required:

  • Ulysses, ISBN 9780394743127. This is the single-volume Gabler edition. Dozens of used copies are currently available at Alibris for under $5. Powell’s is selling new copies for $10.50. Almost every edition of Ulysses is different than the others, and so if you have a copy of Ulysses already it will be different than this Gabler edition. Everyone should secure this assigned edition.
  • Ulysses Annotated, ISBN 9780520253971.

Recommended:

  • If you have the time, you’d do well to read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (and perhaps some or all of Dubliners) before the spring semester begins, but it is not required. The protagonist of Portrait carries over into and plays an essential role in Ulysses so your experience with Ulysses will be fuller if you’ve read Portrait.
542 Classics of African-American Lit.
  • Clybourne Park, ISBN 9780865478688
  • Intimate Apparel, ISBN 9781559362795
  • Sweat, ISBN 9781559365321
  • Jitney, ISBN 9780573627958
  • Venus, ISBN 9780822215677
  • Topdog/Underdog, ISBN 9781559362016
  • Gloria, ISBN 9780822234333
  • A Mercy, ISBN 9780307276766
  • An American Marriage, ISBN 9781616208776
546 Working Women in the US
  • Dr. Breen’s Practice, ISBN 9781981189427
  • Very Much a Lady, ISBN 9781416509592

Recommended but not required (scans of sections of this will be provided as needed during the semester):

  • Working Women in American Literature 1865-1950, ISBN 9781498546782

Please complete the “blue course survey” for each course before 12/14

Mercy College’s semester-end feedback surveys aka the “Blue Course Surveys” are now active for each of your MA courses. You should see links to the surveys in the left-hand side of your main Blackboard screen after you login. Please complete the survey for each MA course you are in. These are 100% anonymous and remain anonymous forever. Your professors don’t see the anonymous results until after final grades are locked in (likewise, the survey closes on 12/14 before professors finalize and submit your grades). Your professors are currently able to see the response-percentage for each course, but that’s it. These surveys are your VOICE and provide you with a way to express your thoughts, positive or negative, about your MA courses and professors. These are taken very seriously by the college.

After the semester, each of your professors will read your anonymous feedback for their class. The MA program director, the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, and the Associate Dean will review all of the surveys for all MA courses. The college’s President and Provost will review the response-percentages for the MA program and for the School of Liberal Arts and may review some of your particular responses too. Your voice and feedback matter and influence the courses we run, how we run them, and who runs them. The response-percentages matter and can effect things such as the college’s investment in and even respect for our graduate program and the School of Liberal Arts overall.

So please, complete the survey for each of your MA courses before the surveys close on 12/14. Your voice and your feedback are critically important to helping us measure if our MA English students are being well-served in their MA courses, and how we might improve as a faculty and a program. Thank you.

Spring Registration Opens Today 11/7: Any Questions?

So it looks like registration is going to open on-schedule this Wednesday the 7th. If anyone has questions about the courses or their schedules, let me know at cloots@mercy.edu. You can read the course descriptions on this post from a short time ago. Note that at the bottom of each description it tells you how the course works toward your MA course requirements. Just as a reminder, here are your course requirements (table taken from page 5 of the handbook available in the left-hand column of this blog):

Fall Blackboard sections become visible Wednesday 8/22.

Links to the Blackboard sections for your fall courses should become visible to you starting on Wednesday 8/22. Please bear in mind that what you see on 8/22 will in most cases look like a theater several hours before a play begins. Things are still being setup, some people haven’t even arrived yet, and everything is still very much in the works. Some Blackboard sections might have no information loaded into them yet, and might remain that way for some time leading up to the semester-start on Wednesday 9/5. In such cases please keep in mind that your professors aren’t actually under teaching contract until 9/1, and are still on leave and pursuing their own research and scholarship. Everything will be sorted and ready for the start of the school year on 9/5, at the very latest.

Side note: all students taking the 599 thesis tutorial this fall should by now see their 599 section listed in their fall schedules. If you do not, let me know at cloots@mercy.edu.

[UPDATED 6/7] Update Regarding ENGL 500 for the Fall

Update 6/7: A second section ENGL 500 is now open. Some of those on the waitlist for the original section have already gone and registered for the new section (which is the right thing to do). All those still on the waitlist should now go and grab a seat in the newly opened section. Mercy’s staff advisors will be reaching out to everyone on the waitlist encouraging you to go register for a seat in the new section, just as I am doing here.