Master of Arts in English sample timeline

First year


  • Read degree requirements (general and program-specific) on English website and Graduate School website
  • Read the Graduate Student Survival Handbook on the Graduate School website
  • Meet with Director of Graduate Studies in English in the early weeks of the semester
  • Meet twice with appointed faculty mentor
  • Plan approach to fulfill the requirements for your degree (including language requirements)
  • Submit transfer credit valuation form (if applicable) to Director of Graduate Studies
  • Meet and talk with faculty members who share your interests


  • If you do not have a teaching assistantship but wish to, apply (or reapply) for the teaching assistantship by the deadline
  • Choose a committee chair and in consultation with chair, form rest of your committee
  • Check progress toward degree requirements, including foreign language requirement
  • In consultation with committee chair, consider the thesis vs. non-thesis option (if you choose thesis, begin to consider topics)
  • Complete program of study and submit it to Director of Graduate Studies
  • Begin focusing plans for the M.A. comprehensive exam/final project(s)/thesis


  • Continue preparation for exam/final project(s)/thesis
  • Consider doing a summer internship, field institute, or volunteer work
  • Consider and begin to research longer-term goals (more graduate school vs. careers, etc.)
  • Continue taking language classes if requirement not yet met

Second year


  • Meet with chair early to discuss progress through degree
  • Prepare for the M.A. comprehensive exam and/or work on final project(s)/thesis
  • Apply to graduate schools with early deadlines (if applicable)


  • Finish coursework
  • Apply to graduate schools and/or jobs
  • Complete comprehensive exam/final project(s)/thesis
  • Submit application for graduation early
  • File notice of completion (and thesis) by Graduate School deadline

Note: 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.