Department of English

O'Dowd Hall, Room 544
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2250
fax: (248) 370-4429

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Master of Arts in English

Where can literature take you?

The English M.A. program allows you to read closely, think deeply, and ask important questions about literature's relationship with a wider world. 

Program RequirementsApply Now


Our updated curriculum emphasizes literature's relationship to social change, with new course offerings in areas like disability studies and literature and the environment. 

Students in the M.A. program will hone analytical and communication skills that are valued across a range of professions. Secondary teachers will deepen their subject area expertise and broaden their horizons, and our evening classes are designed for working adults. 

Our program also provides a solid foundation for students who plan to pursue a Ph.D., and we are proud to have recent graduates studying in top-tier doctoral programs at UM-Ann Arbor, UT-Austin, and The Ohio State University. 

M.A. students are eligible for funding in the form of Graduate Assistantships. For current undergraduate English majors, we also offer a Combined BA/MA program, which allows students to double-count up to 12 credits, saving both time and money.

For more information, please contact Joanne Lipson Freed ( 



 The M.A. program in English admits students on a rolling basis with the following deadlines: 

  • February 15 (early), April 15 (regular) and July 15 (late) for fall semester
  • October 1 (early) and November 15 (regular) for winter semester
  • March 1 (regular) for summer semester

Students interested in Graduate Assistantships are strongly encouraged to apply by the regular admissions deadline. Most successful applicants have completed significant undergraduate coursework (a major or minor) in English or a closely related field; generally, successful candidates will have earned a 3.5 average in English courses.

How to Apply

Please apply now through the Office of Graduate Study.

A complete application for the program will include the following: 

  • Completed online application form
  • Undergraduate transcripts, and graduate transcripts, if applicable
  • Personal statement (500-1000 words), describing applicant's past academic experiences, areas of interest, and reasons for pursuing an M.A. in English. 
  • Writing sample, a critical or interpretive essay of no more than 2000 words that demonstrates preparation for advanced literary study.
  • Letters of recommendation from three faculty members who can speak to the student’s demonstrated academic abilities and level of preparation to pursue graduate study.

Please note that we do not require GRE scores for admission.


The department offers multiple Graduate Assistantships, which provide significant financial support, as well as training and mentorship in teaching and/or research. In addition, we award the Cole Pope Scholarship on the basis of academic merit and financial need.

Graduate Assistantships

The English department offers several kinds of Graduate Assistantships; the most common are Teaching Assistantships (T.A.s) although the department occasionally appoints Research Assistants (R.A.s) as faculty needs dictate. G.A. positions are awarded on a semester by semester basis and are renewable. They include a full tuition remission and a stipend of approximately $4,000 per semester. 

Check Handshake to find our open G.A. positions, or you can indicated your interest on your graduate application to be considered for an Assistantship. 

Cheryl Cole Pope Scholarship

The Cheryl Cole Pope Scholarship honors Ms. Pope dedicated work ethic, commitment to professional excellence, service to her community and practical generosity to those in need.  Awarded annually, the scholarship is open to current or prospective students in the English M.A. program, and is awarded on the basis academic merit, financial need, and demonstrated commitment to community service.



For detailed information about program requirements, please consult the Graduate Catalog.

The Master of Arts in English degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 36 credits in an pproved program of study. Before undertaking advanced coursework at the 6000-level, students must complete the four courses (16 credits) that comprise the literary studies core:

  • Introduction to Graduate Studies (ENG 5200)
  • Critical Theory and Practice (ENG 5330)
  • One course in Literary History
  • One course in Literary Kinds

Upon successful completion of the general core requirements, students must take five additional courses (20 credits).  These courses must include the following:

  • Two 6000-level seminars or
  • One 6000-level seminar and  ENG 6996 - The Master's Project 

The Master’s Project (ENG 6996)

The Master Project involves completion of a project of a scholarly or pedagogical nature, which typically arises out of a student’s graduate coursework. The course is open only to students who can propose an independent project and who have made arrangements with a faculty member interested in supervising it. Any written work to be submitted in partial or total fulfillment of a project should not exceed 7,500 words.

Students must submit an application for ENG 6996 and a prospectus of the project four weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which they will complete the project.

Exit Portfolio

All students must complete an Exit Portfolio during their final semester of the program, which consists of a seminar paper revised under faculty supervision, and a reflective essay. For details, consult the documents below. Exit portfolio Applications must be submitted to the Program Coordinator no later than the deadline for applying to graduate; for December Commencement, this is the last Friday in September. For April/May Commencement, this is the last Friday in January.

Exit Portfolio Guidelines
Exit Portfolio Application Form


Apply to graduate online through the Office of Graduate Study.