An MA in English offers you the opportunity to advance your skills in literary analysis and to expand your knowledge in literature, writing, and literary theory.

Books and Shakespeare Quote

Online Master of Arts in English

With Concentrations in Literature Studies, English Education, and Writing Studies


The English Language and Literature Department has offered an MA in English and MA in English Education on its Boiling Springs campus for over a decade. The department is excited to now offer a solely online program that pools together the strengths of both previous programs as well as expanding in new areas of English Studies. Whether you are a budding scholar or an experienced professional, we invite you to consider a Master of Arts in English with concentrations in literature studies, English education, and writing studies.



The revised, online MA English program will offer three concentrations that reflect the diversity of the discipline and the evolving nature of English studies. With concentrations in literature studies, English education, and writing studies, this degree is for students who want professional advancement in areas such as writing, publishing, and teaching at the secondary or college levels. While these concentrations represent different disciplines within the field, the overall program goal is for students to develop a scholarly and professional identity. These goals reflect the growing professional demand for strong skills in communication, analysis, critical thinking, and collaboration. 



The Master of Arts in English program is designed to meet the following goals:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to read, write, and think critically on a professional level according to discipline
  2. Demonstrate discipline-specific research methods
  3. Demonstrate the ability to carry out and complete a capstone project that is of publishable quality (specific projects determined in concentrations)*


Course Requirements (30 hours total)

The online Master of Arts in English curriculum offers four core courses (9 hrs.) and seven to eight courses in the concentration (15 hrs. content + 6 hrs. thesis). The core courses build community and foster collaboration among peers as well as provide a foundation for courses within each concentration. The timeline for completion is six semesters (typically two calendar years).


Core Requirements for all Concentrations (9 hours) 


ENGL 501 Introduction to English Studies (2 hrs.) An introduction to the theory and method of graduate English studies and a survey of the field's evolution and current trends. Emphasis on expectations for writing and practice in research methods at the graduate level.


ENGL 502 Seminar in English Studies (1 hr.) Building off ENGL 501, this course guides students through the process for preparing and submitting a professional piece for publication; projects may connect to other coursework and/or capstone projects.

ENED 683 Teaching of Writing (3 hrs.)

ENGL 671 Literary Criticism (3 hrs.)


Literature Concentration (15 hrs. content* + 6 hrs. for thesis)

*At least one pre-1800 literature course and one post-1800 literature course should be taken (see specific titles below).

1 American Literature (3 hrs.)

1 British Literature (3 hrs.)

1 World Literature (3 hrs.)

2 Electives (6 hrs.)


Final 6 hours: Thesis

ENGL 690 (3 hrs.)

ENGL 691 (3 hrs.)


English Education Concentration (15 hrs. content + 6 hrs. capstone) 

ENGL 681 Seminar in Current Issues and Methods of Teaching English (3 hrs.) 

ENGL 675 Young Adult Literature (3 hrs.)

3 Electives (9 hrs.)


Final 6 hours: Capstone

ENED 690 English Teacher as Researcher: Proposal (3 hrs.) 

ENED 691 English Teacher as Researcher: Data Collection (1 hrs.)

ENED 692 English Teacher as Researcher: Analysis (2 hrs.)


Writing Concentration: (15 hrs. content + 6 hrs. capstone)

ENGL 673 Contemporary Trends in Literature (3 hrs.) 

ENGL 629 New Media Studies (3 hrs.)

3 Writing Electives (9 hrs.)


Final 6 hours: Capstone/Thesis

ENGL 692 (3 hrs.)

ENGL 693 (3 hrs.)


Course Titles*

*Course titles are organized by concentration, though students have the opportunity to take approved electives across concentrations.


Course Titles in Literature Studies Concentration 

ENGL 555 Special Topics

ENGL 611 Seminar in British Literature

ENGL 615 Selected British Writers – Romantic Period

ENGL 616 Selected British Writers - Victorian Period

ENGL 631 Seminar in American Literature

ENGL 632 The American Renaissance

ENGL 633 Women's Literature in the United States

ENGL 634 African-American Literature

ENGL 635 Introduction to Poetry of the United States 

ENGL 636 Death in American Literature

ENGL 651 Seminar in Global Literature

ENGL 654 Mythology

ENGL 657 Caribbean Literature

ENGL 659 Literature and Colonization

ENGL 671 Literary Theory

ENGL 672 Required Reading

ENGL 673 Contemporary Trends in Literature

ENGL 675 Young Adult Literature

ENGL 690 Thesis Prospectus

ENGL 691 Thesis


Course Titles in English Education Concentration 

ENED 681 Seminar in Current Issues & Methods of Teaching English

ENED 690 English Teacher as Researcher: Proposal 

ENED 691 English Teacher as Researcher: Data Collection 

ENED 692 English Teacher as Researcher: Analysis 


Course Titles in Writing Studies Concentration

ENGL 621 Texts and Technologies

ENGL 625 Visual Rhetoric and Document Design 

ENGL 629 Seminar in New Media Studies 

ENGL 661 Professional and Technical Writing 

ENGL 665 Principles of Editing and Publishing

ENGL 669 Seminar in Rhetoric 

ENGL 692 (3) Capstone for Writing Studies

ENGL 693 (3) Capstone for Writing Studies


Admissions Requirements

Students may enter in the fall only. To apply for initial admission to graduate study, the applicant should hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and: 

  1. Submit an application.
  2. Arrange for an official transcript of all previous academic work beyond high school to be sent directly from each institution attended. The Privacy Act requires that each student request in writing that transcripts be released to the Graduate School Office.
  3. Standardized scores: No standardized test scores required.
  4. Applicants need three letters of reference that can attest to applicant’s academic potential and suitability to pursue an MA in English as well as the student’s abilities to complete graduate-level work.  
  5. Current licenses: No license is required to be admitted into the program. However, if a student enters the program with the purpose of acquiring graduate or advanced level licensure (ex. English education concentration), then an initial license is required to be on file with the Graduate School or must be obtained while in the program in order to be recommended for licensure. Graduate students who do not have initial licensure may obtain the degree but not be recommended for the graduate-level license; however, obtaining initial licensure while completing graduate coursework is possible for qualified applicants. Note: Licensure requirements are different from state to state. Students are responsible for obtaining graduate level or advance teaching licensure through their school districts and state. GWU can only provide a recommendation through evidence of coursework, transcripts, record of initial license.
  6. Additional Application Requirements: 
  • A BA or BS in English or equivalent degree (from the Communications field, for example). Students without a bachelor’s degree in English or substantial undergraduate coursework in English will be evaluated on an individual basis. Typically, 12-15 hours of upper level English coursework are expected to be completed before admission.  This is to make sure that students are prepared for graduate-level study.  
  • A clear and well-written 250-word statement of purpose, explaining the student’s objectives and purpose for pursuing an MA in English.  Please indicate the concentration the student is interested in – literature studies, English education, writing studies.
  • A writing sample of 2000 words or an equivalent body of work that demonstrates the applicant’s writing abilities and readiness to engage in graduate level work. This writing sample might include an in-depth literary analysis, an extensive research piece (e.g., senior thesis) on a topic within English studies, or a portfolio of writing samples from an internship or current work environment.
  • For English education concentration only: Students must be teaching some aspect of the discipline of English in a real-world context in order to complete the requirements of this program.



Resources & Forms

Application for Admission

Graduate Assistantship Application 

Course Transfer Credit Form




Dr. Cheryl Duffus

Phone: (704) 406-4409