Employment of authors, writers, and editors is expected to grow 8 percent from 2008 to 2018. Improved communications and Internet capabilities allow writers to work from almost anywhere.
Source: "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition" 

The Master of Arts in English program provides you with the knowledge and understanding of civilization and culture as manifested in literature. You will explore, analyze and debate texts in their critical, social and political contexts, and determine the implications of differing cultural, historical and philosophical perspectives. You gain not only a comprehensive grasp of great literature in English and of issues in critical theory, language and rhetoric but also a variety of reading and interpretive strategies that can be applied to challenging personal, professional and societal conditions. 

Beyond the Classics

At GSU, English programs go beyond the classics. You study other cultures and societies through readings in African American, Native American, Latin, Asian and women's literature. The broad, comprehensive curriculum leads you to understand and appreciate human motivation and behavior. 

Academic Achievement

The master's program in English develops a sophisticated scope and proficiency in interpretation, analysis, writing and the analytical skills acquired through the study of literature, theory and rhetoric. 

Career Advancement

The program meets the needs of teachers of English and others who wish to develop their abilities. The advanced study of English can lead to expanded careers in English, including teaching at the community college level; careers in publishing, editing, creative writing and advertising; continuing graduate and professional study in law, theology and other disciplines; and doctoral level study.

Program Fact Sheet

Required Preparation

Special Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the university admission criteria, applicants must:

  • have completed a bachelor's degree in English or in a very closely related field from a regionally accredited college or university with a 3.0 GPA
  • have an undergraduate major in English, literature, language, linguistics or a closely related field
  • submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination, including a score of 500 or higher on the verbal section and four or higher on the writing exam portion; students scoring a 3 may be granted probationary status with additional requirements assigned
  • complete prerequisite course work with a B or better in each course
  • provide three letters of recommendation, with at least two from professors/instructors in the field. 

Required Preparation

  • Students without the following undergraduate prerequisite course work will be granted conditional admission and be required to complete all prerequisites before full admission to the M.A. in English program: three hours in English (or British) literature, three hours in American literature, three hours in Shakespeare, and three hours in literary criticism. Completion of all prerequisites is required in addition to graduate degree requirements noted.
  • Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 for the first nine credit hours to continue enrollment. Only one course in which a student earns less than a B may be repeated once. 

Thesis/Non-Thesis Option

With faculty approval, students may choose a thesis option. To receive approval for the thesis option, a student must propose a thesis project after 18 credit hours have been completed to the English program  tenure track faculty. At least two of the faculty members must approve for the student to receive approval. In the thesis option, a student completes research and prepares a formal thesis manuscript. The thesis option would be appropriate for students who have research interests or who intend to pursue doctoral studies. In the non-thesis option, a student takes ENGL 8950 Comprehensive Exam in English. More information concerning the options is available in the English graduate student handbook.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements Thesis Option

I.  Required Courses (21 Hours)

*ENGL 7100 Introduction to Graduate Studies (3)

ENGL 7200  Seminar: Rhetorical and Critical Theory (3)

ENGL 8700 Graduate Research (3)

**ENGL 8900 Graduate Thesis (3) 

Select three of the following courses:

ENGL 7500  College Composition: Theory and Practice (3)

ENGL 8540  Seminar: English Literature (3)

ENGL 8550  Seminar: American Literature (3)

ENGL 8560  Seminar: Women's Literature (3)

ENGL 8570  Seminar: World Literature (3)

* Must be taken as early as possible in the graduate student's career, preferably within the first two terms.

** ENGL 8900 cannot be attempted until after completing the other core courses and the four elective/selective courses. 

II.  Additional Requirements (12 Hours)

With the advisor's approval, students will select at least four 5000-level or above courses in literature, rhetoric, composition, linguistics or closely related fields. 

III.  Total - 33 Hours

Degree Requirements Non-Thesis Option

I.  Required Courses (21 Hours)

*ENGL 7100  Introduction to Graduate Studies (3)

ENGL 7200  Seminar: Rhetorical and Critical Theory (3)

ENGL 7500  College Composition: Theory and Practice (3)

ENGL 8540  Seminar: English Literature (3)

ENGL 8550  Seminar: American Literature (3)

ENGL 8560  Seminar: Women's Literature (3)

ENGL 8570  Seminar: World Literature (3)

* Must be taken as early as possible in the graduate student's career, preferably within the first two terms. 

II.  Additional Requirements (12 Hours)

With the advisor's approval, students will select at least four 5000-plus level courses in literature, rhetoric, composition, linguistics or closely related fields. 

III.  Exam (1 Hour)

ENGL 8950 Comprehensive Exam in English 

IV.  Total - 34 Hours

Graduation Requirements

Students must meet the university requirements for a master's degree found in the GSU Catalog. Please meet with your faculty advisor during the first semester to complete your study plan.

Advisor Information

Rashidah Jaami' Muhammad

Professor, English
Academic Program Coordinator

708.534.6974
rmuhammad@govst.edu