There is a famous aphorism which says that "All good things must come to an end." While this may hold true in a multitude of areas, thinking like this carries little weight in the realm of education, where learning is a life-long process.
English majors of junior or senior standing who find the world of literature and writing irresistible and who desire to continue their analysis of various rhetorical and theoretical methods, genres, or hone their own creative writing styles may wish to consider graduate school.
For those seriously considering entering the profession of English as a university teacher, a graduate degree in the field is a must. Most two-year colleges will require their teachers to have at least a master's degree (though a doctorate is becoming more common), and all four-year schools will require a doctorate for tenure-track positions.
The purpose of this page is to provide you with basic information about graduate programs in English and the application materials typically required by those programs. Scroll down the page to learn more!
Choosing a graduate program may seem like a daunting task, but in reality, the questions that students should ask themselves do not radically vary from those asked when an undergraduate institution was being selected. Some possible questions may include the following:
One of the first major decisions that will need to be made in regards to graduate school is the type of program being sought.
A master's degree can take one of two forms:
Some programs result just in a master's degree, while others require a student to complete both a master's degree and a doctorate (Ph.D).
•Talk to your English teacher to learn more about his/her graduate school experience and which schools may be best if you are interested in exploring a specific interest area
•Visit GradSchools.com, an online graduate school directory that can help you narrow down your list of potential graduate schools
•For those interested in writing, especially creative writing programs, check out the Association of Writers and Writing Programs searchable directory
•Look in the two-drawer filing cabinet in JRC 356, which contains brochures and tear-away information cards for various graduate schools and programs across the country
•Talk to Dr. Catherine Craft-Fairchild, current director of the St. Thomas Master of Arts in English program, or Dr. Andrew Scheiber, English department chair
In order to be admitted into a master's program in English, a student must usually have done the following*:
For complete information regarding test format, cost, and testing locations for both the General Test and the Literature in English subject test (the latter is only required by certain schools), please visit the official website of Educational Testing Service. A GRE General Test sample and a GRE Literature in English subject test sample are also available on that same website. GRE preparation guides are also available at most major bookstores.
Graduate programs in creative writing (M.F.A. or M.A.) can vary widely. Some programs are traditional in nature, requiring that students take courses covering various literary periods and genres, have proficiency in a foreign language, and demonstrate an ability to use research and documentation skills.
Other programs--frequently referred to as studio programs--are far less traditional and focus primarily on the growth of the student's writing. Additionally, some graduate writing programs offer workshops only in fiction and poetry, while others have these and other workshops in playwriting, screenwriting, creative nonfiction, travel writing, and more.