The M.A. Program

A hallmark of the M.A. English program is close student-faculty contact where the maximum enrollment per seminar is 18 students. Classes are held in the afternoons and early evening hours. We offer a rigorous program with a multi-faceted final thesis project, and, once admitted, students have up to three years to complete the degree.

Starting in Fall 2021, the M.A. program requires eight courses (24 credits) plus completion of a thesis and allows students to earn the degree within a four-semester/two year schedule. Many students in the program have full-time status and successfully complete their work in four semesters.

The normative credit load for a full-time student is three courses (9 credits) in the fall and spring of the first year, and one course (3 credits) plus Thesis Research in the fall and spring of the second year. Typically, if a student begins the program in the fall, their course schedule would look like this:

  • Fall 1st Semester: 3 graduate courses
  • Spring 2nd Semester: 3 graduate courses
  • Fall 3rd Semester: 1 graduate course (must be the M.A. Thesis Seminar) plus Thesis Research
  • Spring 4th Semester: 1 graduate course plus Thesis Research

However, students who may be working full-time and/or are interested in accelerating or decelerating the normative credit load are welcome to contact the Director of Graduate Studies and submit a request for consideration.

Note: Starting in 2022, for anyone who enters our program with a spring start date we will work with you to determine your appropriate normative credit load, so that you take the M.A. Thesis Seminar in the semester prior to completing the thesis project.

We define the thesis project broadly, to include critical and creative works, as well as multimodal and public outreach projects. It requires that students register for a thesis seminar course—typically taken in the fall of the second year—along with a 0-credit thesis research course in the fall and spring—in order for students to maintain full-time status to complete work on the thesis project. During the spring semester, students are expected to budget their time accordingly as they complete their thesis while taking their final elective. This includes meeting independently with faculty advisors on an ad-hoc basis and managing deadlines and requirements in a professional manner.

Visit the Thesis Project page for more information on the breakdown of writing the thesis and to view examples of past projects.


We invite you to take a look at our faculty directorymeet our current graduate students, and learn about some of the professional development opportunities typically available to students in a given academic year.

Read answers to Frequently Asked Questions.