The Master of Arts in English is designed to provide a broad background in English literatures and to introduce students to methods of critical analysis and scholarly technique. The department welcomes students interested in preparing themselves for doctoral programs, teachers intent on deepening their understanding of literature, and persons eager to enrich their lives through reading and writing. The program cultivates broad reading, rigorous analysis of texts, and extended writing informed by research. It includes coursework spanning a range of historical periods from the medieval to the present.

Program Learning Goals

Students will:

  1. Analyze and evaluate texts to form and articulate accomplished interpretations of those texts.
  2. Produce extended written analyses of literary texts, informed by research, that demonstrate awareness of audience, knowledge of critical theory, understanding of formal elements of language and genre, formulation of an original question of thesis within the field, sophisticated organization, and clear and persuasive argumentation.
  3. Build oral communication skills by listening to others’ ideas and articulating their own responses and questions clearly to situate themselves in a larger critical and/or theoretical conversation that begins in but extends beyond the classroom.
  4. Incorporate knowledge of cultural and historical contexts of Anglophone and translated creative works into original interpretations of those works.

Admission Requirements
We invite applicants from any accredited college or university who wish to pursue graduate studies in English, American, and Anglophone literatures. Applicants to the programs usually have taken at least six upper division undergraduate courses in English, American, and world literature. For application we require:

  • A completed application.
  • Transcripts from previous institutions.
  • Two current letters of recommendation with recommendation cover sheet.
  • A statement of purpose outlining the applicant’s vocational aims and reasons for undertaking graduate studies in English.
  • A sample of critical writing.
  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) only for those applying for graduate assistantships.
  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) only for international students.

Course of Study

  • Plan A: requires at least eight courses (consisting of a minimum of 24 hours of course work) together with a thesis, typically 60 to 100 pages.
  • Plan B: requires at least ten courses (consisting of a minimum of 30 hours of course work) with an essay, typically 25 to 35 pages.

The department offers two plans of study leading to the degree. Students taking Plan B have the option of including one of two writing tracks in their degree program: Creative Writing or Composition and Rhetorical Studies. Students who have selected one of the writing tracks will substitute writing workshops for four courses.

Students are required to take at least three courses that examine pre-1800 materials and at least three courses that examine post-1800 materials in the following categories.

  • Medieval
  • Renaissance
  • Restoration and Eighteenth Century
  • Romantic and Victorian
  • American Literature to 1900
  • Modernism
  • Contemporary

The course of study is completed with a comprehensive examination in one of the six period categories.

Financial Assistance

  • A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Graduate assistants are given a tuition waiver for up to 18 credit hours per year plus a stipend. Students are expected to spend 10-20 hours per week working for the department. Graduate assistants aid professors with courses
    and research, teach composition courses, and work in the Writing Center.
  • A 33% tuition scholarship is available to all certified/licensed teachers who wish to take graduate courses in English.
  • The University’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid offers assistance on student loans.