Master of Arts Program

The master of arts program in English offers a rigorous, personalized, project-based postgraduate experience that will prepare students to achieve their professional and personal goals. Students will have the freedom to pursue their particular interests in literary studies in a way that prepares them for an array of future plans, including admission to a doctoral program in English; admission to graduate programs in a range of disciplines, including law, library sciences, education, or business; or preparation for careers in the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, M.A. students will design a program of study that may include traditional coursework, internships, and a culminating project.

Our New M.A. Program

In 2018-19, the English department launched a new M.A. format to meet the changing needs of students pursuing a degree. In place of a period-based M.A. exam as the culminating experience of the degree, students may write an M.A. thesis, complete a professional project, develop a pedagogy project, or combine a sequence of courses to meet their personal and professional goals.

Two Tracks to Choose From

The M.A. degree has two tracks: a thesis-based track (Plan A) and a non-thesis track (Plan B). Students will determine which track to pursue in their first semester. For students matriculating in the Fall 2018 and after, the degree requirements are as follows:

Plan A Requirements

Plan A requires 30 credit hours beyond the BA degree, including 24 credit hours of courses plus 6 credits of an M.A. thesis. The thesis must be approved by the thesis director and one other reader, usually the Director of Graduate Studies. Up to 3 courses (i.e. 9 credits) may be from the 5000 level.

Required 6000-level courses (15 credits), to include ENGL 6820 (3 credits) and 4 courses (3 credits each) chosen from the following:

    • ENGL 6210 (Beginnings to 1500)
    • ENGL 6215 (16th and 17th Century Literature)
    • ENGL 6220 (Studies in Shakespeare)
    • ENGL 6300 (The Long 18th Century)
    • ENGL 6400 (Studies in 19th Century British Literature)
    • ENGL 6500 (Studies in 20th Century British Literature)
    • ENGL 6700 (Studies in 20th Century American Literature)
    • ENGL 6710 (Twenty-First Century Literatures)
    • ENGL 6720 (Studies in Transatlantic Literatures)
    • ENGL 6730 (Studies in Transnational Literatures)
    • ENGL 6800 (Studies in Genre)
    • ENGL 6810 (Studies in the History of Literary Criticism)
    • ENGL 6820 (Studies in Modern Critical Theory and Practice)
    • ENGL 6830 (Studies in Literary Criticism)
    • ENGL 6931 (Topics in English)
  • Electives – 9 credits (a minimum of 6 credits of which need to be from ENGL Literature courses) and which can be chosen from:
    • ENGL elective courses 5000-6000-level
    • One graduate level (cognate) course from outside ENGL, with permission from the Director of Graduate Studies
    • ENGL 6840 -Studies in Rhetoric and Composition Theory- 3 credits] by consent of the Director of Graduate Studies and recommended for those students who may be considering pursuing a Ph.D. degree

ENGL 6999 Master’s thesis—6 credits

Plan B Requirements

PLAN B requires 30 credit hours beyond the BA degree, at least 21 of which must be from the ENGL department at the 6000 level. Up to 3 courses (9 credits) may be from the 5000 level.

  • Required 6000-level courses (15 credits), to include ENGL 6820 (3 credits) and 4 courses (3 credits each) chosen from the following:
    • ENGL 6210 (Beginnings to 1500)
    • ENGL 6215 (16th and 17th Century Literature)
    • ENGL 6220 (Studies in Shakespeare)
    • ENGL 6300 (The Long 18th Century)
    • ENGL 6400 (Studies in 19th Century British Literature)
    • ENGL 6500 (Studies in 20th Century British Literature)
    • ENGL 6700 (Studies in 20th Century American Literature)
    • ENGL 6710 (Twenty-First Century Literatures)
    • ENGL 6720 (Studies in Transatlantic Literatures)
    • ENGL 6730 (Studies in Transnational Literatures)
    • ENGL 6800 (Studies in Genre)
    • ENGL 6810 (Studies in the History of Literary Criticism)
    • ENGL 6820 (Studies in Modern Critical Theory and Practice
    • ENGL 6830 (Studies in Literary Criticism)
    • ENGL 6931 (Topics in English)
  • Electives (15 credits) – a minimum of 6 credits of which need to be from ENGL Literature courses and which can be chosen from:
    • ENGL elective courses 5000-6000-level.
    • ENGL 6995, a culminating project to be developed in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and an assigned faculty mentor (3 credits)
    • Up to two graduate level (cognate) courses (6 credits) from outside ENGL, with permission from the Director of Graduate Studies
    • ENGL 6840 -Studies in Rhetoric and Composition Theory- 3 credits] by consent of the Director of graduate Studies and recommended for those students who may be considering pursuing a Ph.D. degree


Financial Aid

Although assistantships are not typically available for students pursuing an M.A. degree, a number of merit-based partial tuition scholarships are available.

Additional Information

Students with questions about the M.A. program should contact Dr. Angela Sorby, the director of graduate studies in English at angela.sorby@marquette.edu