MA in English and American Literature

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The Master's Program in English and American Literature is designed for Notre Dame and St. Mary's College undergraduate English majors seeking advanced training before applying to a PhD program at another institution.  The M.A. program is also open to international students with portable scholarship funding from foundations and governments.

Students from other undergraduate institutions should apply directly to the Ph.D. Program. It is not necessary to have an MA before applying to the PhD Program. Students in the PhD program are eligible for an MA upon completion of their third year exams.

The M.A. degree in English requires 30 hours of course credit. There are two types of degrees: research and non-research. Most students choose the non-research program. Students in the research program write a master’s thesis defend the thesis in lieu of the M.A. examination. A research degree is recommended for students planning to pursue a PhD.

Principal Requirements for the Non-Research Degree

  • 33 credit hours of course work, i.e., 11 classroom courses. 
  • A written examination covering a reading list of three literary texts and selected criticism. The written exam is taken at the conclusion of coursework, normally at the end of the spring semester of the second year.

Principal Requirements for the Research Degree

All requirements for the non-research degree must be fulfilled, except students opting for the research degree take 30 credit hours of classroom courses and six credit hours of thesis research. Students must also:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language
  • Complete a thesis consisting of a work of literary criticism