English, MA

for the degree of Master of Arts in English


head of department: Vicki Mahaffey

director of graduate studies: Eleanor Courtemanche


overview of graduate college admissions & requirements: Graduate Admissions

overview of department admissions & requirements: https://english.illinois.edu/admissions/graduate-admission


department website: http://www.english.illinois.edu

college website: https://las.illinois.edu/


department office: 210 English Building, 608 South Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801

phone: (217) 333-3646

email: engl_resources@ad.uiuc.edu


The Department of English offers programs of study leading to the Master of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees. We welcome qualified students who wish to pursue their interests in English, American, and Anglophone language, literature and film beyond the undergraduate level. The Ph.D. program is, in general, designed to educate and train teacher-scholars who will take positions in colleges and universities throughout the country. We consider the Master of Arts program to be the first step toward the Ph.D. degree; we expect students admitted to the M.A. program to receive the M.A. and go on to complete a Ph.D.  We therefore do not offer a formal terminal M.A. program.

Both the M.A. and Ph.D. may be earned with a specialization in Writing Studies. Also, doctoral students specializing in other fields may earn a graduate concentration in Writing Studies. 


Graduate Degree Programs in English

English, MA

concentration: Medieval Studies

English, PhD

concentration: Medieval Studies|Writing Studies

for information on the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) program in Creative Writing, see Creative Writing.


Affiliated Programs offering certificates or minors:

  • Department of African American Studies
  • Asian American Studies Program
  • American Indian Studies
  • Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Gender and Women's Studies Program
  • The Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies Initiative
  • Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities
  • Latina-Latino Studies Program
  • The Program in Jewish Culture and Society
  • Unit for Cinema Studies
  • Unit for Criticism and Theory

Admission

A student who wishes to be considered for admission to graduate studies in English must present the equivalent of at least 20 semester hours of undergraduate work in English and American literature, excluding required work in rhetoric or composition. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the verbal and subject tests are required for those applying for the literature program. The GRE subject test for literature in English is not required of writing studies applicants. All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Currently, a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test (213 on the computer-based test) is required. Before a teaching assistantship involving classroom instruction or student consultation can be awarded to a non-native speaker of English, the applicant must take the Test of Spoken English (TSE) and achieve a score of 50 or higher (230 or higher before 1996). Because applications for admission usually far exceed capacity, in recent years undergraduate grade point averages of students admitted have been significantly higher than the 3.0 (A = 4.0) required by the Graduate College. The committee on admissions tends to select those applicants who have a solid array of undergraduate courses, knowledge of a foreign language, strong recommendations, and a compelling writing sample: in short, an academic record that shows promise of doing outstanding work in the field and earning degrees within a reasonable time. We do not admit part-time students. Applicants are considered only in spring for fall admission, and the deadline for submitting applications is noon on December 2nd.

Graduate Teaching Experience

Experience in teaching is considered a vital part of the graduate program and all M.A. and Ph.D. candidates will have ample opportunity to teach undergraduate writing classes.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to students in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and waivers of tuition and service fees. For complete information about the program, prospective applicants should consult our website at https://english.illinois.edu/admissions/graduate-admission or write to the above address.

for the degree of Master of Arts in English


A full-time student can complete this program in two academic years. Students must choose to complete a specialization in Literature or Writing Studies.

Virtually every student will teach rhetoric classes, and is required to enroll in a teaching proseminar (ENGL 593). 4
Course work selected from list below in consultation with advisor
Language Requirement: Students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of at least one foreign language.
Total Hours32

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
At least two semesters or the equivalent in residence
Minimum Hours Overall Required Within the Unit: 24 (12 at 500-level)
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall: 16
Minimum GPA: 3.0

Course work listing for M.A. requirements for the Literature Specialization:

Eight semester-long courses in British and American Literature and Critical Theory.

Courses (worth four hours of credit each) must be taken in six of the following nine areas:

  • Medieval British Literature (beginning to 1485)
  • Renaissance British Literature (1485-1660)
  • Restoration/Eighteenth-Century British Literature (1660-1800)
  • Nineteenth-Century British Literature (1800-1900
  • Twentieth-Century British Literature (1900-2000)
  • Early American Literature (beginning to Civil War)
  • Later American Literature(Civil War to present)
  • Anglophone Literature (other than British and American)
  • Critical Theory

Candidates may substitute another area (such as film) for one on the above list with the permission of the Director of English Graduate Studies. However, all students must take at least one course in a period before 1660, and one course in either Early or Later American Literature.

At least four of the eight courses must be in 500-level graduate seminars (limited to 14-18 students). The others may (but need not) be in 400-level courses (limited to 36 students) in which graduate students complete work beyond that expected of undergraduates.

In their first year of teaching, students are required to complete a Professional Seminar in the teaching of composition or business and technical writing for four hours of credit. (ENGL 593)

The Foreign Language Requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating a reading knowledge of an appropriate foreign language in one of the following three ways:

  1. By completing the equivalent of three full years of undergraduate work
  2. By passing a proficiency exam administered by a UIUC foreign language department
  3. By passing a non-credit 501 language course with a grade of B or better

Course work listing for M.A. requirements for the Writing Specialization:

Eight semester-long courses in Writing Studies, Literature, and Theory.

Courses (worth four hours each) must be taken as follows:

At least 16 of the 32 required hours must be in 500-level courses. Eight of the 16 hours must be ENGL 505 and 1 course from the following list: ENGL 582, ENGL 583, ENGL 584. In addition, students must take two courses in Literature or Theory and four courses approved by the Writing Studies advisor.

At least four of the eight courses must be 500-level graduate seminars (limited to 14-18 students). The others may (but need not) be 400-level courses (limited to 36 students) in which graduate students complete work in addition to that expected of undergraduates.

In their first year of teaching, students are required to complete a Professional Seminar (ENGL 593) in the teaching of composition or the teaching of business and technical writing for four hours of credit.

The Foreign Language Requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating a reading knowledge of an appropriate foreign language in one of the following three ways:

  1. By completing the equivalent of three full years of undergraduate work
  2. By passing a proficiency exam administered by a University of Illinois foreign language department
  3. By passing a non-credit 501 language course with a grade of B or better.