At the close of their studies for an M.A. in English at Xavier University, students must pass a written, closed-book comprehensive examination based on works of literature, linguistics, composition, and literary theory. The exam is administered in November and April of each year. The department faculty choose between thirteen and fifteen of these works; the remaining three works are chosen by the student.  This reading list is revised every two years. Students wishing to sit for the exam must notify Ms. Linda Loomis, the English Department Secretary, one month in advance of an exam date. As in the past, students will be required to answer at least one comparative question and several essay questions on individual works. There will also be a section requiring specific textual analysis or explication of one or more passages from one or more of the works on the lists.


The comprehensive exam for the Master's Program in English will be given
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, from 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

On April 12th, students should come to the Hinkle Hall conference room (201 Hinkle—across from the atrium) at 8:30 a.m.


Students currently enrolled in the M.A. program who plan to take the M.A. Comprehensive Exam on Thursday, November 10th, 2016 may select either the 2014-2016 list or the 2016-2019 list reading list below.  Student taking the M.A. Comprehensive Exam after Fall 2016 must use the 2016-2019 list.

Click here to download the Reading List for 2014-2016

Click here to download the Reading List for 2016-2019