Master of Arts | Department of English | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts degree provides opportunities for creative expression and professional development, preparing graduates for teaching and scholarly research, as well as continued graduate study at the doctoral level. Students customarily choose one of three concentrations: literary studies, rhetoric and composition studies, or English studies.

The Master of Arts specializing in literature or rhetoric and composition requires completion of thirty credit hours of course work, reading knowledge of one foreign language, and the successful defense of a master’s thesis. Students in literary studies have the option of taking a comprehensive examination as an alternative to the thesis.

The Master of Arts specializing in English Studies requires thirty-six credit hours of course work. The English Studies concentration is designed for working professionals, especially high-school teachers, interested in a substantial MA program to enhance their credentials and broaden their knowledge in the areas in which they teach or work. A flexible examination, oral or written, serves as the terminal event in the degree program.

The MA in English Studies is designed to be a two and a half year degree.  To that end, the department offers at least two graduate-level courses per term at 5 p.m. or later and distributes its seminars across the ten areas on the English Studies checklist in a given academic year. The department also offers at least three graduate-level courses in the summer, each in a different area on the English Studies checklist.  At least one of these summer courses and one of the evening courses during the regular academic year is a pedagogy seminar, a course focused on the history and practice of teaching a canonical text.

Applicants to the MA program in English must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, and must take the general and subject tests of the Graduate Record Examination. International students must also submit TOEFL scores.