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Master of Arts in Language & Literacy

Program Overview

Director: Barbara Gleason, Professor
NAC 6/333a; 212-650-6329;

The MA in Language and Literacy prepares graduate students for careers as teachers of adults in both college and pre-college classrooms. Language and Literacy MA graduates find employment as instructors of college writing and humanities, adult literacy, ESL, and secondary English/ESL education and as administrators of college tutoring centers and adult literacy programs. Classes are conveniently scheduled during late afternoon and evening hours.

Program Requirements

To earn the L&L MA, a student must complete ten three-credit graduate courses (or 30 course credits). In addition, a student must fulfill the CCNY English Department foreign language requirement for graduate students.

I. Four Core Courses (12 Credits)

Introduction to Language (3 credits)
Theories and Models of Literacy (3 credits)
Second Language Acquisition (3 credits)
Adult Learners of Language and Literacy (3 credits)

II. Two Language and Literacy Electives (6 credits)

These classes will be selected by the student in consultation with the MA program Director.
Sample Elective Courses:
TESL Methods
Introduction to Teaching Writing and Literature
Writing: Style and Rhetoric
Basic Writing Theory, Research and Pedagogy
Teaching Creative Writing
Reading/Writing Autobiography
Digital Literacies
Community Colleges as Sites for New Literacy
Writing Center Theory and Practice

III. Four Electives (12 Credits)

Electives may be selected from English Department offerings with approvals from the MA in Language and Literacy and the Graduate English Program Director or the MA in Literature Director. Courses from the CCNY School of Education also provide possible electives for L&L students; permission from both the L&L MA Director and the relevant School of Education graduate program head are required prior to enrollment.

Optional: Supervised Team Teaching for 3 Elective Credits

Students may enroll in "Supervised Team Teaching" for three independent study elective credits if a professor is available to work with the student in a particular semester. To pursue this option, students should consult with the L&L Program Director.

IV. Foreign Language Requirement

Before the M.A. degree can be earned, a foreign language translation exam must be passed. Alternatively, students may fulfill the foreign language requirement by successfully completing specially designated language courses.

Program History

In 1975, Mina Shaughnessy initiated this program as an MA in Teaching College English. The program was reconceived and renamed MA in Language and Literacy by Marilyn Sternglass in collaboration with Cynthia O'Nore in 1986. Since 2003, the MA in Language and Literacy has emphasized preparing teachers of adults and has been affiliated with the Consortium of Worker Education, one of the largest providers of adult education in New York City. Today, the MA in Language and Literacy draws on the important legacies of Mina Shaughnessy and Marilyn Sternglass by including their scholarship in courses and acknowledging their contributions to Composition/Rhetoric and Basic Writing. Among the instructors currently offering L&L courses are several highly experienced community college faculty, including  Lynn Quitman Troyka,  winner of the 2001 Exemplar Award of the College Composition & Communication Conference.

Fellowship Opportunity

Matriculated students in a CUNY graduate program are eligible to apply for the CUNY-CAP Fellowship if they hold a bachelor's degree from a CUNY college.Two Marilyn Sternglass Awards are offered annually on the basis of merit: Info.html

Marilyn Sternglass Awards

Two Marilyn Sternglass Awards are offered annually on the basis of merit:

Marilyn Sternglass Writing Award

(for writing submitted in a L&L graduate course, $500)

Marilyn Sternglass Overall Merit Award

(for matriculated L&L graduate students, $500)