MA Requirements

The Master of Arts (MA) in English and American Literature enables students to deepen their knowledge of literature through graduate work in different historical periods and genres; to devise theoretical and historical frameworks that enhance their comprehension of literary and cultural materials; and to complete individualized projects that best represent the particular strands within literary studies of most interest to them. Small seminars with outstanding teacher-scholars in all the major areas of literary study provide an excellent grounding in the contemporary practices of literary criticism, theoretical work, and historical scholarship.

Degree Requirements

To earn the degree, students complete at least 20 hours of coursework in Literature. An introductory course in literary and cultural theory is also required. Students may choose either to write a thesis or to take a written examination to cap the degree. Both options include a final oral defense.

Funding Opportunities

Almost all students admitted to the MA program in English and American Literature hold Graduate Assistantships, teaching two sections of first-year composition in the College Composition program during their first year in the program, and three during the second. During their first year, students also enroll in a full-year workshop that supports their classroom teaching experience and a two-credit introduction to issues of the profession required of new MA and PhD students in all degree programs.

For those applicants who do not wish to be considered for a teaching assistantship, other assistantships are available: please contact the graduate program director.


  • Write us at with any general inquires about admission and the application process
  • Directors of Literature Program, Michele Navakas and Patrick Murphy
  • Director of English Department Graduate Program, Cynthia Klestinec