Frequently Asked Questions (AB/MA Program)

Our M.A. alumni have gone on to distinguished and diverse careers in academia and secondary education, journalism, publishing, writing and editing, law, public relations, nonprofit communications, and other professions that require rigorous critical thought, creativity, and expertise in writing and communication.

We’ve had alumni hired into positions at Huffington Post, NPR, St. Martin’s Press, Harvard Business Review, Amazon, Showtime Networks, George Mason University, University of the District of Columbia, U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, MedStar Health, and many more. Read more about our M.A. English Alumni.

In recent years, we’ve placed students into Harvard, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Northwestern, and Duke—just to name a few.

Starting in Fall 2021, you need to take eight (8) courses and complete a thesis in order to earn the M.A. English degree.

The Program Manager works with administrators in the College and Graduate School to ensure that after commencement in May, depending on how many courses you took your senior year (1–4), your graduate courses get transferred onto your graduate student record.

Only two graduate courses can double count on both your undergraduate and graduate student record.

Yes; however, we recognize the need to maintain flexibility for individual student circumstances. Once admitted into the program, AB/MA students have up to three years to complete the degree.

That said, the M.A. can be completed in five years, i.e. 4 years for the Bachelor’s and 1 year for the Master’s if you take the following course load:

  • Senior Year (Fall): 2 graduate courses
  • Senior Year (Spring): 2 graduate courses
  • MA First Semester (Fall): 2 graduate courses (one of which must be the M.A. Thesis Seminar) plus Thesis Research
  • MA Second Semester (Spring): 2 graduate courses plus Thesis Research

Or you can complete the program at a decelerated pace since the only requirement from the Graduate School is that you finish the degree within 3 years of being admitted. For example, for you could complete the program using one of the following timelines. **Please note, these are ONLY examples, so if you find a more cohesive course load per semester, you should communicate this to the Director of Graduate Studies and Program Manager.**

Option A: 6 semesters, 2 years post-Bachelor’s degree

  • Senior Year (Fall): 2
  • Senior Year (Spring): 2
  • MA First Semester (Fall): 1
  • MA Second Semester (Spring): 1
  • MA Third Semester (Fall): 1 (Must be the M.A. Thesis Seminar) plus Thesis Research
  • MA Fourth Semester (Spring): 1 (final elective) plus Thesis Research

Option B: 6 semesters, 2 years post-Bachelor’s degree

  • Senior Year (Fall): 1
  • Senior Year (Spring): 1
  • MA First Semester (Fall): 2
  • MA Second Semester (Spring): 2
  • MA Third Semester (Fall): 1 (Must be the M.A. Thesis Seminar) plus Thesis Research
  • MA Fourth Semester (Spring): 1 (final elective) plus Thesis Research

Students who are admitted to the AB/MA program as juniors typically begin taking graduate courses the fall of their senior year. They can take either one or two courses in addition to any they must complete to finish their Bachelor’s degree. When you enroll in graduate courses as a senior, the cost per credit as an undergraduate still applies and is, therefore, lower than when you would start taking classes as a Master’s student the following year.

However, we understand the need for flexibility. If you determine that you do not want to or cannot begin taking graduate courses until the spring semester of your senior year, i.e. it would lead to course overload for fall, you’d miss practices or games as a student athlete, etc.. please understand that you, unfortunately, forfeit some of the benefit of the reduced tuition cost extended to you as an accelerated Master’s student.

It is not required that you be an English major in order to apply for the AB/MA program; however, many applicants have traditionally been English majors. We strongly recommend that when you apply to the program (new window), your statement of purpose demonstrates how your current major and the work you’ve done so far has prepared you to do well in graduate-level English courses. In addition, your writing sample should be your strongest critical and/or analytical paper on a topic with clear relevance to literary and/or cultural studies, so that the admissions committee can best evaluate your abilities to do well in the program alongside English major peers.

If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to the Director of Graduate Studies at

No: the GRE test scores are not required for admission to either the AB/MA English or stand alone Master’s program.

Yes: you can take up to two courses in other programs that enhance your academic interests, e.g. we’ve had students take courses in History (HIST), Communication, Culture & Technology (CCTP), and Government (GOVT).

Yes: you can take courses at neighboring schools within the Washington Consortium Program. Please note, this counts as one of the two courses you are allowed to take outside the English program.

Registration for consortium courses can only occur during the add/drop period via this electronic form (new window). It requires that you get the appropriate departmental signatures before it is submitted. The signed and completed form should be submitted to the Program Manager who will send it along to the Graduate School for processing.

We highly recommend that you register for a back-up course at Georgetown while you wait for your consortium registration request to be processed, and to monitor your schedule closely, so that you know when to drop the GU course before the end of the add/drop period in September (fall) or January (spring).

No; however, if you are interested in taking a foreign language course(s), you are allowed to register for one lower-level course per semester numbered up to 350—provided that you’ve both requested and received approval from the Director of Graduate Studies.

The Graduate School provides language scholarships to help cover the cost of tuition for this course; other course materials must be paid for out-of-pocket. Read more (new window) about language scholarships on the Graduate School website.

Yes. In the semester before you graduate you are required to take the M.A. Thesis Seminar. This is a preparatory course for the thesis project you will complete independently the following semester with support from your thesis advisor.

Yes; however, the Graduate School puts a cap on the number of hours you may work per week. You can work up to 20 hours/week total in all combined on-campus positions at Georgetown.

Possibly; however, please note that graduate seminar courses are typically scheduled during the work day, Monday through Thursday during the following time blocks:

  • 12:30–3pm
  • 3:30–6pm
  • 6:30–9pm

Please do not expect that there will be enough 6:30–9pm courses offered each semester in order to complete the degree within a decelerated 3-year timeframe (which is the maximum number of years a student has to complete the degree once they’ve started the program).

All graduate seminar courses typically take place in the Department of English Conference Room located in New North Hall 311.

In response to the restrictions cause by the COVID-19 outbreak, some or all courses have moved to a hybrid and/or virtual format. Any change to this information will be shared publicly with students by University administration prior to the start of a semester.

Yes, the Department of English has a designated graduate student lounge with two desktop MAC computers, student mailboxes, bookshelves for personal items, couches, and a desk space. This is located in New North Hall 309.

Once accepted into the program, every M.A. English student is automatically part of the English Graduate Student Association (EGSA). This group is completely student-run and has an Executive Board, including positions like Chair, Communications, Treasurer, Technology, etc… See EGSA’s website (new window).

Interested in learning more about what it takes to teach? Consider registering for the free (!) Apprenticeship in Teaching Program through the Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship (CNDLS). Upon completion of all requirements, a certification will be posted on your transcript—view details here (new window).

Work in the Writing Center (new window) as a Graduate Writing Center Consultant (by application only).

Work as a Justice Graduate Intern at the Center for Social Justice (view current interns (new window)).