M.A. in English
The English master's program prepares students for teaching in high school or college, for continuing graduate work toward a doctorate in English, or for many other careers that involve strong communication skills. The MA in English can be taken with a concentration in literature, creative writing, rhetoric and composition, teaching, or TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). While the MA in English does not lead to initial teacher certification, it does qualify—in all concentrations—for moving to Rank II.
(Click to view requirements for each concentration.)
About half of a student's coursework is in British and American literature, with the other half consisting of courses in the student's concentration. A detailed list of course requirements for each concentration can be found in the Graduate Catalog, which is available on the WKU Graduate School website. A master's thesis is required for the Creative Writing concentration and optional for the others.
Students come to our M.A. program out of a desire to learn more about English language and literature, improve their writing and research skills, and prepare for the next step in their career. Graduates of our program have gone on to teach at the community college, pursue the Ph.D. in English or doctorates in other fields, continue teaching high school with enhanced credentials, or work in many other fields.
Our graduate students are an active and close-knit group. They have recently formed a graduate student organization, SAGE (Student Association for Graduates of English), which is also open to undergraduate senior English majors. New students report finding both the faculty and other students welcoming and supportive.
A minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate English courses beyond the general education requirements (at least 27 hours of undergraduate English are required for the literature and teaching tracks; a minimum of 12 hours, with at least two courses in upper-level literature, are required for concentrations in Creative Writing, Rhetoric and Composition, and TESL).
A minimum score of 4.0 on the GRE Analytical Writing section
Minimum GRE verbal and quantitative scores
Statement of purpose that describes applicant's:
- Academic and/or professional experiences
- Goals in pursuing graduate studies in English; and
- Areas of interest in the discipline
A writing sample (approximately 10-15 single-spaced pages of poetry or 20-30 double-spaced pages of prose) if applying for the creative writing concentration. The writing sample should be the same genre (poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction) in which the student plans to write the thesis.
Applicants should submit the following to the Graduate Studies Office:
- An application
- Official transcripts
- GRE scores
- Statement of purpose that describes applicant's:
- Academic and/or professional experiences;
- Goals in pursuing graduate studies in English; and,
- Areas of interest in the discipline
- A writing sample if applying for the M.A. in English with a Creative Writing concentration
All materials can be submitted on the WKU Graduate School page.
The department offers approximately a dozen graduate assistantships, which come with a $10,992 stipend, partial or full tuition remission, and eligibility for insurance coverage. Graduate assistants (GAs) work in the Writing Center and receive mentoring the first two semesters; some also work on a special assignment with a professor. These include working with the Robert Penn Warren Center, Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature, or Steel Toe Press. In their second year, GAs are eligible to become Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), which comes with a $300 per semester stipend increase, and ordinarily teach two sections of English 100 per semester.
Applications for graduate assistantships are submitted to Dr. Wes Berry. Here's the link to the application.
Degree Completion Checklist for Current Students
Graduate degree seeking students should consult the graduate school's website and follow the timeline for submitting necessary forms (Forms C, D, and so forth). Here's the link to the checklist.
English as a Second Language Tutorial Opportunities
Learn more about Teaching English as a Second Language graduate options.
M.A. study is capped by a two-hour oral examination. Exam contracts for the five M.A. focus areas are available here:
For Further Information
Please feel free to contact the graduate advisor, Dr. Wes Berry with questions about our program.
Advisor: Dr. Wes Berry
Office: Cherry Hall 134
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