District of Columbia Masters English Programs On Campus

Masters in English Schools bring life to literature. Participants often examine literary works through the lens of multiple points of view such as history, culture, gender and genre. Questions such as ‘How do we imagine the relationship between literature and modern politics?’ could spawn lively in-class dialogue and foster intellectual growth in what are sometimes, close-knit departments.

About the Masters Degree in English

The main degree awarded by Masters in English schools is the Master of Arts (MA) in English. A Master of Arts in English program could provide students with the opportunity dive deeply into traditional literary areas, linguistics, creative and professional writing, literary theory, and composition and rhetoric.

English MA: Curricula and Courses

Course plans for MA in English programs typically include both reading and writing requirements and students may complete a thesis, essay, or research project in a specific area of interest.

Most Masters in English schools meld the structure of core courses with the flexibility to tailor the program to specific interests through electives, or a concentration. There are often times opportunities for supervised training in how to teach things like composition. Also, for students to take part in professional conferences and publications.

The actual list of books to be read and course themes vary, though some general examples of core English Masters courses are listed below.

  • Literary Study
  • British Literature
  • World Literature
  • American Literature
  • Literary Criticism
  • Professional Writing

MA in English: Add a Focal Area

Another aspect of Masters English programs is the possibility of a concentration, such as creative writing, teaching, or literature. This is a feature that could make one school standout over another, as they do not all have the same ones.

Either way, participants could diversify skills in writing, linguistics & literary criticism in tandem with this in-depth focal area. Below are a few examples of how a MA in English might be customized. Make sure to review individual schools to see what they offer.

Explore Literature

Students who wish to use their studies for the MA degree to enhance their grasp of and enthusiasm for reading might turn to an emphasis in literature. Masters in English Literature programs could expose students to a broad range of courses in British and American Literature.

Also, participants often learn to apply current literary theory and research to an analysis of the literatures of a specific period, through a survey of many authors, movements and genres. Women’s Literature, Multicultural Literature, African American Literature and Classics are some examples.

For the Writer

To make a MA in English more writer-friendly, some schools offer a Masters in Creative Writing emphasis. Students still establish a firm base in literature and language but could balance it out with workshops in areas such as fiction and/or poetry.

In some cases, a student might also serve as an intern (newspaper, magazine etc.). A final creative thesis in the form of an artfully executed body of work (cycle of short stories, play, novel, poetry) may cap this type of program.

Focus on Teaching

Students who wish to pursue careers as community college teachers or who wish to add to their skill as high-school teachers might focus on Rhetoric and Pedagogy.

Curricula for this emphasis often helps prepare students to plan lessons, teach college composition classes, and manage students in a classroom. Coursework could include history and theory of criticism, semantics and the English Language. There may also be room for electives in literature and languages plus an element of supervised teaching practice. 

How Long Does It Take to Earn A Masters Degree in English on Campus?

Full-time students might complete a Masters degree in English in from one and a half to two years. There are some variables – especially for programs that require less than 30 credits. These may be planned-out so that a full-time student could complete the requirements within one calendar year of study. Part-time options are available, and could stretch time to completion.

MA in English vs MFA in Creative Writing?

Wonder whether to look for Masters in English schools for a MA or MFA degree? The two degrees are distinct. Deciding which degree might be perfect for you depends on your goals.

  • Do you want to teach high school English?
  • Is it your dream to author the next great novel?
  • What type of writing instruction are you interested in?
  • Do you intend to pursue a PhD in English?

These are some factors that might fuel a choice. Naturally, answers are personal, and an academic advisor makes a good sounding board.

About the MA in English

A Master in English degree program may offer some creative writing, and more through a concentration. However, the syllabus usually weighs more heavily on reading the works of other writers. For instance, Masters in English literature programs might explore World Literature, Folklore, Mythology as well as various periods, authors and genres in British and American Literature.

Students could learn how to read literary works with a critical eye, to form a theory, answer a question, and analyze the texts in a cohesive, smartly formatted essay. Think more academic and research-oriented rather than a creative writing workshop atmosphere. A potential forum to bolster skills in persuasive reasoning, critical analysis and communication. Especially on campus, with like-minded rhetoricians.

While some students may decide to pursue a career, English Masters degree in hand, others may want to continue into a PhD program in English. A PhD in English may be useful should one want to teach at the postsecondary level. i

About the MFA

By comparison, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a terminal degree for writers. A MFA program may require a lot of reading, but it is often geared to help students find their own creative voice. Coursework may be devoted to writing and workshops, with the goal for a student to achieve a manuscript-length project at the end of the program.

O’Net reports that 50% of Postsecondary English teachers have a Masters degree, 47% a Doctoral degree and 4% a Professional degree.ii

Admission Requirements

Graduate Schools with Masters in English programs set their own standards for admissions. In addition to any general requirements of the university, candidates for a Master of Arts degree in English may need a minimum GPA (E.g.2.75 to 3.0).

Applicants with baccalaureate degrees in fields other than English may be considered, although they may be required to take additional course work. GRE scores are requested in some schools, but not required everywhere. Students also may need to submit a personal statement of goals, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. A critical writing sample follows school guidelines.

It could be an example that shows an applicant’s research and analytic writing skills particular to the study of literature and language. How they form and defend a coherent argument. Those who want to pursue a Masters degree in creative writing may need to submit a portfolio of creative work (E.g. poems, fiction).

Search and Apply to Masters in English Schools

Are you a voracious reader, with an enthusiastic appetite for literature and a strong interest in research and writing? Do you want to immerse yourself in campus life? Masters in English schools to choose the perfect degree program for you. Refine by location to see which city or state has the grad school you want to apply to, then fill out the on-page form to get started. It’s quick, easy, and free.

[i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4 | [ii] onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1123.00

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