Read, write and question everything.

The Master of Arts in English program provides a strong foundation in English, American and comparative literature, and in literary theory and analysis. This versatile program includes a broad offering of courses and personalized plans of study. Students may design a program that combines the traditional and the cutting edge, with course topics ranging from Shakespeare, Jane Austen and classic American writers to feminist theory, postcolonial literature and psychoanalytic theory. 

Our program attracts men and women who wish to teach, as well as those who plan to pursue a PhD or a profession that requires a strong foundation in critical analysis or advanced oral and writing skills. Students enjoy a collegial relationship with faculty who are award-winning poets, playwrights, authors, reviewers and nationally known scholars. Faculty areas of interest span historical periods, genres and cultures, including the Bible, Romantic poetry, Native American studies, feminist and cultural studies, Victorian literature, children’s literature, film and television theory, ethnic literature, dramatic studies, psychoanalytic theory and writing pedagogy.

Program Requirements

The 32-credit English program is individually prescribed; with guidance from the program director, students design a course of study that comports with their academic and professional interests. Only two courses are mandatory: ENGL 404 Graduate Proseminar and ENGL 405 Contemporary Critical Theory. The remainder of the 8-course program is elected from offerings best adapted to the student’s needs and interests. Along with literary training, students develop practical skills in research and pedagogy through their chosen course work and available research and teaching assistantships. Select students are allowed to pursue advanced research that culminates in a thesis taken as a ninth course. While this flexible program can be completed in three semesters, a typical course load is two classes per semester, and part-time students are allowed up to five years to complete the degree.

All students are considered for financial merit-awards upon application to the program.

Download our English program fact sheet

Customize Your Program

The MA in English grants students a strong foundation in literary studies while also allowing them freedom to explore their personal academic interests. This foundation begins with our two core courses: ENGL 404 Graduate Proseminar and ENGL 405 Contemporary Critical Theory. The Proseminar refines students’ existent literary skills and introduces them to graduate work through the study of high level research and scholarship connected to particular texts or genres. Building upon the essential skills in analysis, writing and research students master in the Proseminar, Contemporary Critical Theory helps students become fully conversant in the discourses and theories that shape literary and cultural criticism, ranging from feminist and critical race theory to queer theory and New Historical approaches.

The director of the program works hand-in-hand with students to design the rest of their course study around classes that benefit their professional careers beyond the program. We educate women and men who enter into a variety of fields, including teaching, business, publishing, film production, law and PhD programs. Students interact closely with professors who are renowned scholars of their fields, taking classes with experts whose passions, research and scholarship are rooted in the course material they teach. Faculty areas of interest span historical periods, genres and cultures, including:

  • The Bible
  • Romantic poetry
  • Native American studies
  • Feminist and Cultural studies
  • Victorian literature
  • Children’s literatureFilm and Television theory
  • Ethnic literature
  • Dramatic studies
  • Psychoanalytic theory
  • Writing pedagogy

Students also have the option to pursue one of our dual degrees:

    Sheldon George
    • Sheldon George
    • Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in English
    • Phone: 617-521-2211
    • Office: C310G
    Renee Bergland
    • Renee Bergland
    • Hazel Dick Leonard Professor of English
    • Phone: 617-521-2220
    • Office: C310E
    Pamela Bromberg
    • Pamela Bromberg
    • Professor and Department Chair of English
    • Phone: 617-521-2214
    • Office: C310F
    Kelly Hager
    • Kelly Hager
    • Associate Professor, English
    • Phone: 617-521-2173
    • Office: C301F
    Suzanne Leonard
    • Suzanne Leonard
    • Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Cinema and Media Studies Minor
    • Phone: 617-521-2544
    • Office: C301D
    Lowry Pei
    • Lowry Pei
    • Professor of English
    • Phone: 617-521-2216
    • Office: W304L
    Afaa Weaver
    • Afaa Weaver
    • Alumnae Professor of English
    • Phone: 617-521-2175
    • Office: E211
    Richard Wollman
How to Apply

If you have already submitted your application online, check your application status now. Please allow three business days for received documents to be reflected on your application status page.

Admission options and prerequisites vary by program. Learn more about the requirements for the MA in English. 

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Sheldon George

Professor George On The English Graduate Program

Get to know the Director of the Graduate Program in English!