English, MA

College of Arts & Sciences

Program Description:


M.A. Concentration in Language and Literature (30 hours)

The Master of Arts in English with a concentration in Language and Literature emphasizes research and writing, innovation and tradition, in order to promote well-rounded scholars in British, Irish, and American literature; literary history, criticism, and theory; and language theory. The combination of coursework and the multi-optioned portfolio enables M.A. students in this concentration to develop areas of special emphasis, while ensuring a broad understanding of a variety of historical fields. Applicants should already possess a Bachelor’s degree in English or a closely related discipline.

The degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework; competency in a language other than English; and a portfolio (ENGL 596). All students work under Plan II (no thesis), as described below.

The 30 credit hours of coursework are distributed across core and distribution requirements as follows:

• 9 credit hours of core requirements: Introduction to the Professional Study of English (ENGL 500); Pedagogy (ENGL 530, 533, 534 or 592); and Theory (ENGL 510, 511, 610 or 541 when taught from a theoretical perspective).

• 18 credit hours of area electives, with at least one course from each of four areas: 1) the Middle Ages, 2) the Early Modern/Contact Period, 3) the Long Nineteenth Century, and 4) Modern and Contemporary.

• 3 credit hours of Portfolio (ENGL 596).

In completing these course requirements, students must take at least two 600-level seminars. Students must form a Committee on Studies (COS) at the beginning of their second semester; the COS advises the students on course selection and on portfolio preparation. First semester MA in Language and Literature students should consult with the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies for advisement on course selection and the appointment of the COS. In the semester before graduation, students begin preparing a portfolio of work under the direction of their COS. In the semester of graduation, students enroll in ENGL 596, “Portfolio,” for 3 credit hours. In addition to the essays and other works, the portfolio must include a ten- to fifteen-page preface situating the portfolio selections in a critical, theoretical, historical, or professional context. Students defend their portfolio before the COS no later than the end of the tenth week of the final semester..

M.A. Concentration in Medieval Studies (33 hours)

The Master of Arts in English with a concentration in Medieval Studies is designed for students who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary Master’s degree in medieval English literature. The course of study offers a multicultural and interdisciplinary foundation for the study of the Middle Ages and hence would appeal to students who wish to continue their studies in the medieval period above the B.A.-level. It also appeals to secondary school teachers who are seeking a multi-disciplinary content-intensive M.A. degree. Finally, this concentration prepares the student for the Ph.D. concentration in Medieval Studies.

This concentration requires 33 credit hours of interdisciplinary coursework, of which 24 credit hours must be in English. See the department’s Web site and Graduate Studies Handbook for specific policy and procedures.

M.A. Concentration in Rhetoric and Writing (31 hours)

Optional emphases in Teaching and Professional Writing

A Master of Arts in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Writing prepares graduates for careers in professional writing and post-secondary teaching. Students interested in teaching study pedagogical theories and develop practical applications in traditional classrooms and in online or tutoring venues. Students interested in professional writing enroll in writing workshops, where they strengthen existing abilities and sharpen technical expertise in a variety of genres; internship placements in workplace professional writing venues are optional.

This degree requires 31 credit hours of course work; competency in a foreign language or approved research skill; and a portfolio (ENGL 596). Students may choose emphasis in writing or teaching; all students work under Plan II (no thesis).

• 9 credit hours of core required courses: 530 or 533 or 534; 542 and 543.

• 9 credit hours of course work, including one 600-level seminar, chosen from at least two of the groups A-E listed in the English Department Graduate Studies Handbook.

• 12 credit hours of general electives: Four courses from among 534-545, 513-520, 587, or other courses in English as approved by the Committee on Studies (COS) and the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies; students may offer up to 6 credit hours of courses from departments outside of English as electives as approved by their COS and the Graduate Director; students may offer up to 6 credit hours of ENGL 597 (Problems) for work related to teacher training or professional writing experience, as approved by their COS and the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies.

• 1 credit hour of Master's Portfolio, ENGL 596: In the semester before graduation, students prepare a portfolio of work under the direction of their COS which is presented for evaluation in the ninth week of the student’s final semester of attendance.

Emphasis in Teaching (12 credit hours)

Teaching Emphasis students take 530 or 533 or 534 (depending on what they take for the Core Requirement above) plus 9 credit hours in other pedagogy-based courses offered in English, the College of Education, or other departments as approved by their COS and the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies; up to 6 credit hours may be offered as Teaching Practicum (ENGL 597, Problems).

Emphasis in Professional Writing (12 credit hours)

Professional Writing Emphasis students must take 533, either in the Core Requirement or as an elective, plus 9 or 12 credit hours (depending on where they count 533) from 513-520, 587. Professional Writing Emphasis students may take up to 6 credit hours of courses in other departments as approved by their COS and the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies; up to 6 credit hours may be offered as Professional Writing Internship (ENGL 598, Internship, CR/NC) as approved by their COS and the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies.

Admission Requirements:

Application Deadline

Fall semester: January 15

A Bachelor’s Degree is required for all applicants to the Master’s Programs in English and to the M.F.A. in Creative Writing. A Master’s Degree in English or Comparative Literature is required for all applicants to the Ph.D. program. All applicants must provide full transcripts, a letter of intent, a writing sample, transcripts from all previously attended postsecondary institutions, and three letters of recommendation.

Early application is recommended (all paperwork must be received on or before the listed deadline). Decisions on applications received by January 15 are announced by April 15.

Career Opportunities:

 “Besides teaching and literary research, a major in English can lead to professional careers in archival and curatorial librarianship, publishing, journalism, advertising and the arts; as well as human resources, sales and marketing, management, and government work. Even when additional qualifications are needed, as in law, an undergraduate major in English is often a distinct advantage” (from UNM Course Catalog). UNM’s English department offers five different areas of concentration: liberal arts, pre-graduate, professional writing, pre-law, and creative writing. It also offers a major in English-Philosophy.  A bachelor's degree is the minimum formal education required. Some areas may require a graduate degree, or may assist employment in highly competitive areas. English is a broad degree that can lead to job opportunities in many diverse fields. . 

Contact Information:

Dylan Gauntt: Graduate Program Advisor
(505) 277-4437