Skip to Content

MA Literature

The Department of English offers graduate study leading to the M.A. degree in Literature. The program features small classes (maximum size 15) and ample opportunity for association with faculty and visiting writers.
Students may pursue one of two programs. A 30-hour thesis program includes 18 hours of Literature, 6 hours of credit for a thesis, and 6 hours in an approved Minor or Area of Emphasis. A 36-hour non-thesis program normally includes 27 hours in English and 9 hours in an approved Minor or Area of Emphasis.
Students select courses from a wide range of topics, periods, and genres in British and American literature, as well as theory. Regular offerings in literature range from Anglo-Saxon poetry and prose to contemporary poetry, drama, film, and fiction. Students may choose Minors or Areas of Emphasis in fields outside of English; in focused study of a literary period, genre, or issue; or in a combination of both. In addition to traditional literary studies, specialties include, among a great many others,

  • African-American Literature
  • Chicano/Chicana Literature
  • Children's Literature
  • Critical Theory
  • Studies in the American Southwest
  • Women's Literature
  • Literature's connections with Art, Music, and Film

The forty-five graduate faculty members in English hold advanced degrees from universities throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, and India. The faculty's diverse scholarly interests include medieval cosmology, political fiction, medieval pilgrimage literature, Nigerian and Indian literature, beat poetry, and Jewish-American literature. Faculty members have produced a great many critical studies, scholarly translations, and textbooks. They have received numerous grants and awards from national, state, and private foundations, and they have published widely in major literary journals.
An extraordinary feature of the program is the opportunity to hear and meet a remarkable number of great writers. The University Professorship brings first-rank novelists and poets to the Department for a year at a time. Recent University Professors have included Robert Stone, Denis Johnson, Leslie Marmon Silko, Ai, and Barry Hannah. Every other year we host Tim O'Brien, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Going After Cacciato and The Things They Carried.
In addition, our Lindsey Literary Series has brought us well over a hundred guests, including Margaret Atwood, John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Ann Beattie, Joseph Brodsky, Sandra Cisneros, James Dickey, Rita Dove, Horton Foote, Allen Ginsberg, Nikki Giovanni, Ken Kesey, Maxine Hong Kingston, Denise Levertov, Larry McMurtry, W. S. Merwin, James Michener, N. Scott Momaday, Annie Proulx, Gary Snyder, and Alice Walker. Each writer stays for at least two or three days, usually giving two readings, attending two receptions open to students, visiting a class, and holding a question-and-answer session for graduate students. Few programs anywhere offer personal contact with such a distinguished array of literary talent.