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English – Graduate Degree

Degrees Offered: Master of Arts (M.A.)


In addition to the Graduate School Admission Requirements, applicants must have achieved an average grade of B or higher in upper-level undergraduate courses in the major. A writing sample and two recommendations,addressing the applicant's aptitude for graduate study are required. A personal interview may be requested.

Program Description

The M.A. degree in English provides broad training in English studies, with a concentration in one of three areas: literature, professional writing, or rhetoric and composition. A total of 33 graduate English credit hours is required: 12 hour core, 9 hour concentration, and 12 hours in one of the following options

  • Thesis Option: 6 hours of thesis and 6 hours of ENGL electives
  • Non-Thesis Option: 12 hours of ENGL electives

In addition to the coursework, all M.A. in English students must successfully pass written comprehensive examinations based on reading lists and content knowledge, which are specific to each concentration.  For those writing a thesis,  a final oral defense is required. For reading lists, sample exams, and other information on the M.A. in English, see the current Guide to Graduate Studies in English, available at (Any student who receives two final course grades of C or one final course grade of F will be dismissed from the program.)


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Location of Course Offerings: Cullowhee and Biltmore Park

Admission Requirements:

  • Graduate School Admission Requirements
  • Program Admission Requirements
    • An average grade of B or higher in upper-level undergraduate courses in the major
    • Writing sample
    • Two letters of recommendation addressing the applicant's aptitude for graduate study

Application Deadline:  The graduate English program has a rolling application deadline; the Graduate School must have all required application materials at least two weeks before the term begins. However, if students wish to be considered for graduate assistantships, for best consideration submit materials by early March for the following fall term. Assistantships may be available at other times.

Graduate Program Director:

Dr. Annette Debo
Department of English

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