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Master of Arts in English

Major: ENGL
Degree Awarded: MA
Unit: GA
Program Webpage:

Program Information

Mission Statement

The M.A. in English provides graduate training in literatures written in English, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition. Goals for the M.A. are that students will 1) gain advanced knowledge of British, American, and other literary traditions, and 2) write a thesis or culminating project in which they initiate and complete specialized research addressing a significant question in literary studies or rhetoric and composition, or produce a significant body of creative work.

Admission to the MA Program


*Note: Applications must be complete with all supporting materials, official transcripts, and GRE scores by the deadline to be considered for admission.

M.A. admission with application for Graduate Teaching Assistantship: Jan. 5

MA without funding: 1 month prior to the first day of classes for the semester in which they wish to enroll.

All M.A. degree applicants should present the following documents:

  1. Complete official transcripts of previous undergraduate and graduate work;
  2. Two academic letters of recommendation (that is, actual letters attached to the evaluation form from faculty members who can address the applicant's academic performance and potential);
  3. Score reports on the Graduate Record Examination General Test (from within the last five years);
  4. A sample of critical writing (at least ten pages);
  5. Applicants who plan to focus on creative writing may submit a sample of their creative work in addition to the required critical essay;
  6. International students must also submit reports of the TOEFL or IELTS examination;

Above documents should be submitted to:

Graduate Admissions
Houchens Building Suite 105
Louisville, KY 40292

or submitted via the online application:

  1. Any applicant who wishes to be considered for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship must also submit a GTA application (
GTA application should be submitted to:
Annelise Gray
Department of English
University of Louisville
Bingham Humanities Building RM 315

Louisville, KY 40292


Successful applicants for M.A. admission typically present the following credentials, though meeting these minimum requirements is no guarantee of admission:

  1. A "B+" or better average in the major from an accredited college or university;
  2. A "B" or better average overall from an accredited college or university;
  3. A score in the 50th percentile or better on the GRE Verbal section;
  4. Letters of recommendation that give promise of success in the program;
  5. A writing sample that promises success in the program;
  6. International students must also present scores of at least 600 on the TOEFL Examination (paper test) or at least 210 on the TOEFL Exam (computer test); IELTS scores are also accepted for consideration in lieu of the TOEFL.

The Director of Graduate Studies in English reviews all applications and, in consultation with the English Graduate Committee, makes all admission decisions. Complete applications to the Master’s program are considered throughout the academic year, though applicants who wish to be considered for Graduate Teaching Assistantships must present all credentials, including the GTA application, by January 5. Applicants with a B.A. in a field other than English, or with fewer than 24 credit hours for an English major, may be eligible for admission to the M.A., but the Graduate Committee may require that such students make up deficiencies on an individual basis.

In extraordinary circumstances, an applicant with incomplete credentials may petition the English Graduate Committee for admission in provisional status. Admission in non-degree status is at the discretion of the English Department Director of Graduate Studies as governed by School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies policies.

All applicants must fulfill the general requirements of the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. Apply Now


The Master of Arts in English requires 30 hours of academic work at the graduate level. In addition to fulfilling the core requirements, students may take additional work in literary studies, creative writing, or rhetoric and composition.

Required Courses 15 hours:

  1. English 601: Introduction to English Studies
  2. English 691: Contemporary Theories of Interpretation OR English 692: Topics in Interpretive Theory
  3. One course in literature before 1700
  4. One course in literature from 1700-1900
  5. One course in literature after 1900

Electives – 9-15 hours:
Students may take no more than three 500-level courses. Creative writing courses (including up to six hours of thesis guidance) may total no more than 15 hours.

Students may count one elective outside the department of English toward their degree.

Language Requirement
Students must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English. (See the Graduate Program Guidelines for more information.)

Admission to Candidacy
Students are admitted to candidacy for the M.A. after they have completed coursework and met the language requirement; they remain master’s degree candidates until they complete a thesis or culminating project.

Thesis Option: 24 hours of coursework + 6 hours of Thesis Guidance
Students who choose this option will be expected to write a critical or creative thesis that is a genuine contribution to the field, shows an awareness of current academic practice, and employs methods appropriate to an extended academic project. Students must submit a prospectus and have it approved at least three months before the thesis oral examination is held. Guidelines for writing a prospectus are in the English department's Graduate Program Guidelines.

Non-Thesis Option: 30 hours of coursework + a culminating project
Students who choose this option may, as a culminating project, select one of their strongest seminar papers or creative writing projects to revise; the purpose of the project is to give students the opportunity to revise a seminar paper with publication in mind. To this end, students will write a brief prospectus (2-3 pages plus bibliography) detailing the types of revisions they will make to the paper. A screening committee will evaluate the prospectus and, upon its approval, the student will make the necessary revisions under the guidance of a faculty advisor.

Time Limit and Residency for Masters
All work for the M.A. must be completed within six years of admission to the program. The student must complete a minimum of 24 hours at the University of Louisville.

Departmental Faculty

Department Chair
Glynis Ridley

Anderson, David R.
Biberman, S. Matthew
Billingsley,Dale B., Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs
Boehm, Beth, Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
Brueggemann, Brenda, Director of Composition
Chandler, Karen M.
Clukey, Amy
Dietrich, Julia C., Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education
Golding, Alan C.
Griffin, Susan M, Justus Bier Professor of Humanities
Griner, Paul F.
Hadley, Karen C.
Horner, Bruce M., Endowed Chair in Rhetoric and Composition
Jaffe, Aaron
Johnson, Timothy
Kopelson, Karen
Olinger, Andrea
Petrosino, Kiki, Director of Creative Writing
Rabin, Andrew
Rosner, Mary I.
Ryan, Susan M., Vice Chair
Schneider, Stephen, Director of Graduate Studies
Sheridan, Mary P., Director, Thomas R Watson International Conference on Rhetoric and Composition
Skinner, Jeffrey T.
Stanev, Hristomir
Turner, Joseph
Williams, Bronwyn T. Director, University Writing Center
Willey, A. Elizabeth, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Wise, Elaine O., Chair of the Division of Humanities

Visiting & Term Faculty
D'Antoni, Joan,  Instructor Term
Hachten, Dale F.,  Instructor Term
Rogers, Linda,  Instructor Term
Smith, Steve,  Instructor Term
Stewart, Thomas,  Assistant Professor Term
Tanner, Denise J.,  Instructor Term

Byers, Thomas B.
Cross, Geoffrey A.
Freibert, Lucy M.
Hall, Dennis R.
Henke, Suzette A.
Journet, Debra S.
Lu, Min-Zhan
Mattingly, Carol J.
Miller, Robert
Mullen, Karen
Richardson, Harold E.
Rickey, Mary Ellen
Van, Thomas A.

Contact Information

English - MA

Dr. Stephen Schneider, Director of Graduate Studies (502)852-0505
Annelise Gray, Graduate Program Assistant, Sr. (502)852-0505

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