Master of Arts in English

Earn a master's degree in English (M.A.) and get a a deeper understanding of how literature, theory, language and culture can be made relevant in the modern world. Faculty members take their roles as mentors very seriously, giving students the careful attention that helps them define and achieve their professional goals.

Program director

James Mardock, PhD

(775) 682-6372

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December 15 is the deadline for fall enrollment and October 15 is the deadline for spring enrollment consideration. 

Program handbook

Review the MA in English handbook to find out if the program is right for you.

Program overview

This graduate program is small and intimate enough (70 to 80 students) that students enjoy a sense of community and benefit from close faculty mentoring.

The Department of English offers four areas of emphasis within its M.A. program. Those emphases allow students to pursue research goals that align most closely with their personal interests. No matter which emphases you choose, you can expect to find qualified and caring mentors within the Department of English faculty. These professors are experts in topics such as rhetoric, composition theory, British literature, American literature, sociolinguistics, cultural studies, digital media, gender studies and public engagement.

Areas of emphasis

Admissions to the M.A. program

Applicants to the master's program must have an undergraduate major or minor in English or its equivalent from an accredited college or university and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. Potential applicants who do not meet these minimum requirements should talk with the director of graduate studies to determine which undergraduate English courses to take should they wish to prepare for graduate studies in English.

Application deadlines and requirements

For the M.A. program, candidates are accepted for fall (December 15 deadline) and spring (October 15 deadline) semester admission.

Applicants are required to submit for Department of English graduate committee approval:

  • Scholarly writing sample approximately 15-25 pages in length, demonstrating readiness for graduate study in English
  • 2-3 page statement of intent, including declaration of emphasis area
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation

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International applicants

The graduate application system in the U.S. tends to be an open application process. Rather than arranging to work with a particular scholar in advance of applying, students generally apply to programs by following the application instructions on the program website. If they are admitted, then they approach a faculty member in the department to supervise their studies.

International student admission requirements

Degree requirements

The following general requirements apply in all emphases within the master's in English program, except where clearly stated in the specific descriptions for each emphasis. Please consult with an advisor as requirements might vary from student to student.

Teaching assistantships

Teaching assistant positions also are available to M.A. students on a competitive basis. Teaching assistants in the Department of English receive an annual stipend, health insurance and a tuition waiver. Teaching assistants teach three courses per year (2/1 or 1/2 depending on departmental needs), typically in the Core Writing program. New applicants to the English Graduate Program are automatically considered for a teaching assistantship when they apply for admission, unless the applicant specifies they do not wish to be considered. No separate application is needed.

A teaching assistantship in the M.A. program may be held for a maximum of two years. The M.A. degree must be completed within six years from the time you first earn graduate credits that you apply toward the degree. This timeline represents a very general model for your progress toward the degree. The key is to be aware of what you’re doing, keep medium and long-range goals in mind and consult frequently with your mentor/chair.

Example program timeline

Additional program information

Apply to the MA in English