Master of Arts Degree in English

In addition to the general requirements for admission to graduate studies (See General Regulations and Procedures), admission to the Master of Arts degree programs in English also requires:

Unconditional Admission

1.  Preparation: Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have at least 9 semester hours in English above the 200 level. Admission with fewer than 9 semester hours in English above the 200 level is at the discretion of the graduate coordinator. A Graduate Admissions Committee will review each application; consequently, all applications and supporting documents must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions of the University in accordance with submission deadlines established by that office.

2.  Scholastic Achievement: A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in all previous English coursework.

3. GRE or other test scores are not required for admission.

4. A one-page single-spaced cover letter (application essay) describing your purpose for applying and how the degree will help you meet your professional and career goals.

5.  Three letters of recommendation to be sent to Graduate Admissions at the University of North Alabama.

6.  Writing Sample: Minimum of eight pages, preferably a research or scholarly essay or paper from previous classes, to be sent to Graduate Admissions at the  University of North Alabama. 

Conditional Admission

At the discretion of the department's graduate admissions committee, applicants may be admitted on conditional status subject to attainment of grades which include no more than three semester hours of C and no grades lower than C on the first three graduate courses (nine semester hours) for which enrolled and other conditions deemed appropriate by the committee to address applicant's specific weaknesses.

Transfer Admission

In addition to the general requirements for Transfer Admission to Graduate Studies (See General Regulations and Procedures), up to 9 semester hours of graduate credit by transfer will be accepted with the approval of the graduate program coordinator. Exceptions must be approved by the graduate program coordinator, department chair, and college dean.


Prior to the completion of 12 semester hours credit in the program, students shall be assigned an academic advisor by the Graduate Coordinator.

Degrees and Program Plans

Master of Arts Degree in English: a minimum of 36 semester hours of credit, to include the following core and options:

Core Courses of Study 1
EN 601Introduction to Graduate Studies: Bibliography and Research3
EN 655Literary Criticism3
Literature Requirement
Select a minimum of 18 semester hours of literature courses 218
Elective Courses of Study6
Foreign Language Requirement 3
Thesis or Non-Thesis Option: Select one from the following:
Thesis Option 4
The master’s degree program in English provides for an option of a minimum 36 semester hours of coursework or 30 semester hours of coursework plus a thesis earning six hours’ credit.
Master's Defense
24 hours English Electives (500-600 level). 18 of these hours must be Literature courses.
Non-Thesis Option 5
Comprehensive Examination
30 hours English courses (500-600 level). 18 of these hours must be Literature courses. 6

Students should take the core courses as early as possible in their program, but must complete them by the time they have taken 18 hours of coursework.


Not including the core classes, Directed Reading and Research (EN 699), or Thesis (EN 690) hours.


The M.A. in English requires demonstration of reading proficiency in a foreign language. Students satisfy the foreign language requirement in one of the following ways:

  • by completing a second-year course sequence in a language with a 3.0 GPA or higher, or
  • by successfully completing graduate coursework in foreign language reading proficiency, or
  • by the successful completion of a reading proficiency examination administered through the Department of Foreign Languages, or
  • by the successful completion of EN 504: Old English Language and Literature, or
  • by a comparable alternative approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Students choosing the Thesis Option must complete six (6) semester hours of  Thesis (EN 690), in addition to the core and 24 additional semester hours of graduate courses in English for a total of 36 hours.
Thesis Proposal: Students choosing this option must submit a thesis proposal no later than mid-term of the semester prior to enrolling in  Thesis (EN 690).
Thesis Defense: Students choosing the Thesis Option must enroll in  Master's Defense (EN 695), during the term in which they complete the thesis.


Students choosing the Non-Thesis Option must complete 30 hours of graduate courses in English in addition to the core, excluding Thesis (EN 690).

Comprehensive Examination: Students choosing this option must enroll in Comprehensive Examination (EN 696),at the appropriate time and must successfully complete a comprehensive examination.


At least 50 percent of the coursework required to complete the selected option must be earned at the 600 level.