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M.A. in English

Master of Arts (M.A.) in English


The Master of Arts (M.A.) in English offers students the opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge of literature across different historical periods—from the medieval to the present—while introducing them to methods of critical analysis and scholarly technique.

JCU graduate students arrive with the passion and ambition to learn about English-language literature. Additionally, students in our program have the option to enhance their studies with creative writing, which typically requires a separate degree.

Upon graduation, students will have taken nine graduate-level courses in English, American and Anglophone literature and will have completed a field exam and a final essay or project in an area of interest. These experiences cultivate broad reading, rigorous analysis of texts, and extensive writing, providing students with ample opportunities to hone their critical analysis, research and writing skills so that they can make exemplary contributions to their chosen fields. Ultimately, our students leave with the ability to put their knowledge to use in doctoral programs or in a host of careers that value critical thinking and skillful communication, such as professional writing, teaching, journalism, public relations, or other fields.

This 30-credit-hour program is comprised of nine courses in literature. It’s available both full and part time, allowing students to progress through the program at their own pace.


  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.
  • A written statement of purpose indicating personal interests, goals, and expectations from the degree program.
  • Two letters of recommendation, preferably from English professors.
  • Writing Sample.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) – for Graduate Assistant applicants and international students.
  • Scholarships available on a competitive basis.
  • A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Graduate assistants are given a tuition waiver for 15 credit hours per year, plus a stipend. Graduate assistants must be full-time students who can spend 20 hours per week working for the department (daytime hours). Graduate assistants gain experience as consultants in the JCU Writing Center, as instructors of first-year writing, as contributors to university assessment, and as researchers supporting faculty projects.
  • For more information on financial aid, contact Student Enrollment and Financial Services at (216) 397-4248.
  • More information regarding the total cost of attendance can be found here.

  • The Master of Arts in English graduate program requires 30 credit hours comprised of nine courses in literature: including a few that address texts before 1800, and the option of taking one course at the 400 level.
  • The M.A. final project is either an essay that advances the scholarship on a particular literary work (or works) or for those on the writing track, a creative project in poetry or prose.
  • Both full- and part-time students are eligible, allowing students to progress through the program at their own pace.

Master of Arts in English Program Highlights

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Why Choose JCU for a Master’s Degree in English?

English program graduate students arrive with the passion and ambition to learn about English-language literature, and they leave with the ability to put their knowledge to use in rewarding careers. The M.A. in English is designed to provide a broad background in English literatures and to introduce students to methods of critical analysis and scholarship. Expert faculty members teach courses including Shakespeare, Feminist Literary Criticism, Nineteenth-Century Women Writers, Immigrant Literature, and Studies in Post-Colonial Literature. Students are able to immerse themselves in a variety of topics while taking classes that inform their own research and writing.

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What skills will I Learn as a Graduate Assistant (GA) in the JCU English Graduate Program?

Graduate assistants receive extensive training from the moment they enter the master’s program, including: shadowing veteran teachers in the writing program; participating in workshops led by the director of the writing center; and tutoring in the JCU writing center. JCU GA in English students gain real-life, hands-on experience.

Beginning in their second semester, JCU GAs in the English graduate program teach their own section of a first-year writing course. By the time students graduate from the program, they have a rich body of experience in the classroom and the writing center, as well as experience with assessment—equipping them for jobs as writing instructors at the secondary or university level; careers in writing and publishing; or to apply for doctoral programs in a field in which they have demonstrated expertise.

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Our Team and Resources

The English Department at JCU has a remarkable group of researchers who are highly visible scholars in their respective fields, ranging from the early modern to the postmodern. Together they have authored and published numerous monographs, edited collections, critical editions, peer-reviewed articles in academic journals, and chapters in edited volumes, including many by acclaimed presses like Cambridge UP, Oxford UP, Wiley-Blackwell, and Bloomsbury. Such work is a very rich resource for incoming students to draw on.

The Department’s two poets, who also teach in the graduate program, have published a wealth of books of poetry, monographs, collections of essays, anthology of poems, translations of collected poems, and chapbooks. They have also given hundreds of readings of their work nationally and internationally, with regular features on National Public Radio (NPR).

Apart from scholarship, the faculty in English is one of the most highly decorated by the University’s most prestigious awards, having received four Culicchia Awards for Teaching Excellence and three Distinguished Faculty Awards in recent history, suggesting a dedication to teaching and mentoring students at the highest levels. They’ve been recognized nationally, with one of our poets just receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship, others receiving NEA and NEH fellowships, Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence grants, as well as numerous other honors from institutions like the Huntington Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Robert Penn Warren Humanities Center.

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Alumni Network

John Carroll boasts a wealth of alumni for graduates to tap into for networking and employment opportunities. Many of our graduates are currently secondary school teachers in Northeastern Ohio, including at schools such as St. Ignatius High School, Cuyahoga Community College, and Hathaway Brown High School; are continuing graduate work at universities, such as Case Western Reserve University, the University of West Virginia, and Kent State University, among others; while others can be found at well-known local foundations and organizations.

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Required courses (13 of a total 30 credit hours)

  • Four courses that examine pre-Romantic materials
  • EN 598A – Master’s Essay Proposal
  • EN 598B – Master’s Essay

Choose from a wide array of courses, including:

  • EN 522 – Studies in Shakespeare
  • EN 421 – Studies in Renaissance Literature
  • EN 425 – Milton
  • EN 472 – Studies in African American Literature
  • EN 481 – Studies in Irish Literature
  • EN 503 – Special Topics in Creative Writing Workshop
  • EN 561 – Studies in Contemporary British Literature
  • EN 565 – Studies in Modern Poetry
  • EN 570 – Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
  • EN 573 – Studies in Modern American Literature
  • EN 596 – Framed Narratives: Novel and Cinema
  • EN 589 – Studies in Rhetoric and Composition
  • EN 501, 502, 504 – Writing Workshops in Poetry, Fiction, and Non-Fiction