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M.A. in English

Student Studying EnglishThe English language is arguably the most flexible instrument of thought and expression in the world. From the poetic drama of the Elizabethans to the experimental pyrotechnics of the modern novel, the study of English literature offers ever-fresh insights into the human condition, while helping students improve their command of today’s most influential language.

The 36-credit Master of Arts in English curriculum combines in-depth study of the wealth of the British and American literary traditions with an examination of how the language developed over time and how it is used in everyday discourse. As a degree candidate you will take three required courses designed to strengthen your critical reading and writing skills: “Text(s) in Context,” “Research and Criticism,” and “The Critical Tradition.” A thesis is also required.

You will also choose seven electives from a rich array of options that include: “Style and Syntax” (for writers and others who need a theoretical and technical knowledge of the field); “Cultural Linguistics” (an exploration of human communication in its cultural context, including the origins of language); “Middle English Literature” (lyric, romance, tale, fable and drama in the period 1100-1500); and “20th Century American Literature” (an intensive study of writers such as Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Pynchon and Morrison).

Through its wide-ranging subject matter and focus on reading and writing proficiency, the study of English prepares students for the broadest variety of careers. Studies show that an ability to learn new skills and procedures is an outstanding characteristic of those who have majored in English. Many graduates of master’s programs in English go on to become elementary or secondary school teachers or pursue doctorates and become college professors, but a graduate degree in English can also be excellent preparation for a career in business, law, journalism, public relations and many other fields.