English, M.A.

Graduate Degree

English is both a traditional and evolving discipline that involves the study of language, writing, history and culture. At Marshall University in West Virginia, the Master of Arts in English program introduces students like yourself to a variety of topics in English Studies such as:

Literary Theory
Creative Writing
Writing pedagogy
Critical Analysis
Digital Humanities

Good writing is the basis for employment in fields like creative writing, digital humanities or any professional career and our department strives to provide that basis for you.

Why Study for a Master’s in English at Marshall?

The English graduate program, located in the College of Liberal Arts at Marshall University, offers an intensive, yet informal approach to English Graduate Studies. Students enroll in a variety of courses that help you build a broad knowledge while working toward an area of emphasis. Classes are offered during the day and evening at the Huntington, West Virginia, campus, and classes are small to help build community among the students and faculty.

Students studying for a Master’s in English at Marshall University are required to complete a capstone project, including a thesis, portfolio or comprehensive exam and earn six credit hours in another language besides English. These requirements are all aimed at putting you in the best position for your future employment.

The English graduate program also offers an emphasis in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Upon completion of the M.A. in English program with this emphasis you’ll be familiar with methods in teaching English as a second language.

Career Outlook for English Graduate Majors

An M.A. in English has a wide range of opportunities. Earning an M.A. in English at Marshall University will make you a better, more confident, communicator and professional. There are many career options in West Virginia and beyond for someone earning a graduate degree in English, including:

Professional and Technical Writing
Pursuing a Ph.D. or Law degree (J.D.)
Teaching English in a community college
Teaching English at the high school or middle school level

Each of these fields require a solid basis in writing and verbal communication only obtained through an M.A. in English. Many of our English students have parlayed internships into employment. The internships for English majors include working with things like:

Clio App (A history app founded at Marshall)
The Huntington Museum of Art
Robert C. Byrd Institute
Mountain State Press

Opportunities for English Graduate Majors

The English graduate program at Marshall gives students the opportunity to learn and grow as part of a vibrant community of writers in West Virginia, and the program is designed to meet the increasingly diverse needs of today’s graduate students. Our students are passionate. Our faculty are award-winning teachers and highly acclaimed writers.

Students are encouraged to approach their studies from the perspective that best serves their academic purposes and/or career plans, such as:

Literary Studies
Creative Writing
Digital Humanities

Beyond coursework, you will have the opportunity to meet nationally renowned authors through our A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series. Recent visitors have included Eula Biss, Jayne Anne Phillips, Afaa Michael Weaver, Hanif Abdurraqib and many more. Students like yourself will have the opportunity to network and work closely with other writers in your field. We want to provide you with the right connections in areas like literature studies, creative writing and English education to put you in position for a post graduate career.

We also sponsor Et Cetera, Marshall University’s literary journal, published annually since 1953, featuring work written and edited by our students. And we’ll work to help you find outlets to get your work published as well.

English students like yourself can also work in the Writing Center on campus to help other students. The opportunity provides English students the opportunity to refine their written and verbal skills while teaching other students.

The English department at Marshall University is a member of the Association of Departments of English, an arm of the Modern Language Association. The department is also a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, a national organization that includes over 550 college and university writing programs.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should follow the admissions process described in this catalog or at the Graduate Admissions website at www.marshall.edu/graduate/admissions/how-to-apply-for-admission. All admission materials must be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office.

In addition, to be admitted to the English department, an applicant must have:

  • an undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all previously completed undergraduate university work (otherwise strong candidates may be fully admitted with a 2.75 GPA);
  • a letter of interest/ personal statement identifying the applicant’s reasons for pursuing an M.A. and how the degree will contribute to the applicant’s broader plans (1-2 pages);
  • a writing sample of 8-12 pages (scholarly essay, creative writing, or language study), prefaced by a brief explanation of why this work has been selected;
  • at least three professional letters of recommendation regarding the applicant’s academic ability, at least two of which must be from college instructors. Applicants who are not able to obtain letters from college instructors may submit letters from other professional sources with a brief note of explanation.

International students and applicants who have earned a degree from a non-English institution must provide proof of English proficiency as follows: minimum of 80 on TOEFL IBT (or 550 paper based); IELTS 6.5; Duolingo 105.

Conditional Admission

The English M.A. program may admit applicants conditionally for one term, on a limited basis, at the discretion of the program.

Provisional Admission

The English M.A. program may admit applicants provisionally, on a limited basis, at the discretion of the program.