The Master of Arts Degree launches students into the study of literature, writing, and rhetoric at the graduate level. The program offers two years of intensive study in the major fields of British and American literature, covering the debates and approaches that animate the discipline of English. Our MA graduates are fully prepared to proceed to study at the doctoral level, and their training in critical thinking, language skills, and cultural history has also proven to be fruitful preparation for a range of careers outside of academia.
The Master of Arts program gives students broad exposure to the current state of literary studies – its history, its methodologies, its ever-changing canon, and its production of new knowledge. The program offers study in all areas of English and American literature, and in rhetorical criticism, the teaching of writing, and the role of rhetorical practices in shaping disciplinary, institutional, and cultural knowledges and identities. The graduate program in English encompasses a spectrum of traditional literary fields from the medieval period to postmodernism, as well as rhetoric and composition, linguistics, and digital humanities. Research and teaching in interdisciplinary areas, including American studies, African-American studies, gender studies, and cultural studies, are also well represented within the program. At Northeastern University, graduate students in English may take full advantage of the opportunities that the greater Boston area affords as the site of rich cultural and educational resources.
Learn more about the Master of Arts program in English from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.
- Master’s students may be nominated for scholarships
- Opportunities for involvement in cutting-edge research in centers including the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks; the Writing Center; the Digital Scholarship Group; and the Humanities Center as well as with individual faculty
- The department has strong graduate faculty in the fields of American Literature; Transatlantic and Caribbean Studies; Digital Humanities; Writing and Rhetoric
- Identify and describe the historical and cultural contexts of representative works of English and American literature, including works in new and emerging genres
- Identify and describe generic conventions, thematic and rhetorical strategies, and representational features of such works
- Identify and apply a variety of critical and analytical methodologies in order to analyze such works
- Construct original written and oral arguments about such texts and ideas and conduct appropriate research to develop and provide support for those arguments
- Observe disciplinary conventions regarding intellectual dialogue and interaction with the work of other scholars
Many successful MA English graduates have been accepted to well-regarded PhD programs throughout the country, including Cornell, Loyola University Chicago, Notre Dame, Princeton, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the State University of New York at Buffalo, the University of California-Davis, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Minnesota, and the University of Washington. Others have found the program valuable for enhancing their credentials and opening opportunities for advancement in a variety of fields, including teaching, publishing, writing, law, and business.
- Application fee – US $75.00
- Personal statement
- Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended
- English proficiency for international applicants
- Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Three letters of recommendation
- Writing sample
|Priority review:||February 1 (applications considered through August 15)|
|Final deadline for international applicants:||June 15|
|Final deadline for domestic applicants (non-international):||August 15|
|Deadline for special student applicants (non-international only):||August 25|
|Final deadline for international applicants:||October 1|
|Final deadline for domestic applicants (non-international):||December 1|
|Final deadline for Special Student applicants (non-international only):||December 15|
Annual progress review
Comprehensive examination (timed examination and thesis options)
Theories and Methods
Complete 4 semester hours from the following:
Writing and Rhetoric
Complete 4 semester hours from the following (if completing 12 semester hours of Literary Period requirements).
Complete 8 semester hours from the following (if completing 8 hours of Literary Period requirements).
Note: For ENGL 7392 Writing and the Teaching of Writing - Master's students may register with permission from the instructor
Complete 8 semester hours from TWO of the following Literary Periods (if completing 8 semester hours of Writing and Rhetoric requirements), or complete 12 semester hours from THREE of the following Literary Periods (if completing 4 semester hours of Writing and Rhetoric requirements):
Comprehensive Examination Options
Timed, Written Exam or Thesis
Master's Qualifying Exam
(Required for students who must maintain full-time status while completing the comprehensive examination)
A minimum 3.500 GPA is required to pursue this option.
(Required for students who must maintain full-time status while completing the MA Thesis. Not repeatable.)
Complete 8 semester hours of ENGL courses.
Optional Co-op Experience
Requires two consecutive semesters of Co-op Work Experience and Experiential Integration:
Northeastern's signature experiential learning model combines academics with professional practice to help students acquire relevant, real-world skills they can apply to their desired industry. Each program offers its own unique experiential learning opportunities, but they might include:
- Full-Time Co-op Opportunities — Students on co-op work in a paid and unpaid positions in their field of study for three to six months.
- In-Class Case Studies — Professors integrate case studies and exercises into the classroom to bring a real-world perspective and relevance to what they’re teaching.
- Research — Students collaborate with faculty in our more than 30 federally funded research centers, tackling some of the most pressing challenges in health, security, and sustainability.
Our faculty represents a wide cross-section of professional practices and in fields ranging from finance to education to biomedical science to management to the U.S. military. They serve as mentors and advisors, and collaborate alongside students to solve the most pressing global challenges facing established and emerging markets.
By enrolling in Northeastern, you gain access to a network of more than 245,000 alumni and 3,200+ employer partners, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and global NGOs. Our current students and faculty across strategically located regional campuses further foster that lifelong global community of learning and mentoring.
Below is a look at where our Humanities & Social Sciences alumni work, the positions they hold, and the skills they bring to their organization.
Where They Work
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- City of Boston
- Liberty Mutual Insurance
- Fidelity Investments
- State Street
What They Do
- Business Development
- Community and Social Services
- Media and Communication
What They're Skilled At
- Public Speaking
- Social Media
Learn more about Northeastern Alumni on Linkedin.