Department of English


MA Program

Typical MA Schedule

Fall Semester

  • 5-credit course
  • 5-credit course
  • 5-credit course
  • Please remember that if you enroll in a 500-level graduate seminar you will receive 5 credits. If you enroll in a 400-level graduate section of an undergraduate course, you will receive 4 credits. Faculty in the English department are accustomed to adding an extra one-credit option to their 400-level courses. If you want this credit, you need to enroll in a one-credit "course" (not officially cross-listed but) loosely linked to each of our 400-level courses. It will have the same number with an "M." It is open only to students enrolled in the corresponding 4-credit 400-level course. Each faculty member determines the work required to obtain that extra credit (typically, depending on the course, some combination of extra meetings throughout the semester, extra readings, a long seminar paper rather than the shorter essays required of undergraduates, or an extra in-class presentation). If you are enrolling in a 400-level course in another department, please be certain that the instructor is willing to offer this extra one-credit option.
  • Begin to contemplate whether your summertime completion of the MA will consist of writing an MA Essay or preparing for an MA Exam. If you would like to write an essay, you might begin conversations with possible Faculty Advisors. If you are working on a final essay for a course that dovetails quite closely with your developing interests, you might want to ask the instructor (or another faculty member) if an extended version of that project might work well as an MA Essay. If you are considering the exam option, review the exam lists (for your exam, you will need to select four lists, representing four fields [English Renaissance, Aesthetics and Theory, Victorian Literature, etc.) and consult with the MA Advisor; these fields generally include but are not restricted to the fields of the graduate courses in which you enroll throughout the year.

Spring Semester

  • 5-credit course
  • 5-credit course
  • 5-credit course
  • See note about credits for 500- and 400-level courses above.
  • By late winter you should have begun the planning process that will enable you, by early April, to decide whether your summertime completion of the MA program will consist of writing an MA Essay or taking an MA Exam. This planning process involves such steps as, for example, consulting with possible Faculty Advisors; considering a possible seminar essay that might serve as the kernel of an excellent MA Essay; discussing the exam process with the MA Advisor; selecting your four exam lists and choosing your exam committee (i.e., the faculty members with whom you will work as you prepare, and who will be evaluating your answers on the completed exam).
  • By no later than April 15, those students who are planning to write an MA Essay will submit a form to the department listing their proposed topics and the professors (usually one per student, but sometimes two) who have agreed to serve as their Faculty Advisors. At the same time, those students planning to write an MA Exam will finalize details with the MA Advisor.


  • Work on your MA Essay in consultation with your Faculty Advisor(s). The submission deadline for the MA Essay is August 1. Students who opt for the MA Exam will need to complete the exam by the same date.
  • If you have received incompletes—and this is particularly undesirable in a one-year program such as ours—you will need to arrange a deadline with your instructors that will enable them to report your final grade to the dean’s office no later than the end of the first week of August. If your grade is not reported by then, you will not be able to graduate.