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Graduate Program

Typical MA Schedule

Fall Semester

  • Three 5-credit courses (see course notes)
  • Begin to contemplate whether your summertime completion of the MA will consist of writing an MA essay or preparing for an MA exam.
    • Essay: Start looking for faculty advisors and thinking about possible essay topics. Speak to the MA advisor if you would like to expand on an essay written for
    • Exam: Review the exam lists (for your exam, you will need to select four lists, representing four fields) and consult with the MA advisor.

Spring Semester

  • Three 5-credit courses (see course notes)
  • Make the final decision as to whether you’re going to complete the program with an MA essay or MA exam.  
    • Essay: Consult with possible faculty advisors, and consider seminar essays that might serve as the start of the MA essay. By April 15 submit a form to the department listing your proposed topics and faculty advisor(s).
    • Exam: Discuss the exam process with the MA advisor, select your four exam lists, and choose your exam committee. By April 15 finalize exam details with the MA advisor.


  • Essay: Work on your MA essay in consultation with your faculty advisor(s). The submission deadline for the MA Essay is August 1.
  • Exam: Complete the MA exam by August 1.
  • Arrange a deadline with your instructors to finish any incompletes so that your final grade to the dean’s office can be submitted no later than the end of the first week of August. If your grade is not reported by then, you will not be able to graduate.

Course Credit 

Please remember that if you enroll in a 500-level graduate seminar you will receive 5 credits. If you enroll in a 400-level graduate section of an undergraduate course, you will receive 4 credits.

Faculty in the English department are accustomed to adding an extra one-credit option to their 400-level courses. If you want this credit, you need to enroll in a one-credit "course" (not officially cross-listed) loosely linked to each of our 400-level courses. It will have the same number with an "M." It is open only to students enrolled in the corresponding 4-credit 400-level course.

Each faculty member determines the work required to obtain that extra credit (typically, depending on the course, some combination of extra meetings throughout the semester, extra readings, a long seminar paper rather than the shorter essays required of undergraduates, or an extra in-class presentation). If you are enrolling in a 400-level course in another department, please be certain that the instructor is willing to offer this extra one-credit option.