Please note that while we have a rolling application review process all year long, we give priority, in our review process, to applications that are received by April 15 for fall admission, and by November 1 for spring/summer admission.
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English - Literature, Master of Arts
This plan fosters your understanding of concepts, periods, authors, and issues fundamental to the advanced study of literature in English.
Requirements Accordion Open
To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)
You must additionally complete:
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
- All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
- All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
Read the full policy here.
Overview Accordion Closed
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
|Minimum Units for Completion||36|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.|
|Thesis||Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Research||Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Progression Plan Link||View Program of Study|
In the Literary Studies Emphasis of the English MA, students acquire a strong foundation in literary theory and research and develop an advanced understanding of traditional and emerging literary histories and fields of scholarship. The course of study for this flexible program includes foundational coursework in literary theory, rhetorical theory, and literary research methods, while additional courses build upon these foundations by developing expertise in specific genres, periods, and topics. The program provides opportunities for students to work on closely mentored, individualized projects directed toward practical professional goals like writing and submitting essays for publication in journals and for presentation at conferences. This degree is ideal for students seeking preparation for PhD work or community college teaching in literature, and for secondary teachers and others seeking additional training in literary studies.
Student Learning Outcomes
Theory and Knowledge
- Students will learn the theoretical foundations and research methods in advanced literary studies, and gain expertise in specific genres, periods, and topics in the field.
Analysis and Critical Thinking
- Students will learn to critically analyze how written, digital, visual, and spoken texts shape and are shaped by diverse local, national, global, historical, aesthetic, and ideological contexts.
- Students will learn to evaluate and synthesize appropriate research, scholarship, and methodologies as demonstrated in advanced-level scholarly projects, creative work, discussion and presentation, and other appropriate assignments.
Research and Application
- Students will learn to construct course-related projects directed at investigating, understanding, and applying scholarly approaches and criticism in the field of literary studies.
- Students will learn to participate in advanced professional activities (conferences, publications, practicum experiences, research projects, and other activities).
Details Accordion Closed
Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy.
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.
Individual program admission requirements include:
- 2 letters of recommendation
- Personal statement or essay
- Writing sample
- Resume or curriculum vitae
This Master’s degree requires 36 units distributed as follows:
- Common Course Requirements: 9 units
- Five Literature Courses: 15 units
- Electives: 12 units
Take the following 36 units:
Common Course Requirements
- Select five courses from the following literature courses (15 units):
- Electives (12 units)
- Select four ENG Elective Courses; up to 9 units of non-ENG coursework may be counted toward this requirement with advisor approval.
The 36 units required for the degree must include at least 6 units of Global Learning Initiative (GLI) -focused coursework, at least three units of which must be taken from the following list:
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.
Master’s study involves a person’s substantial investment, and we want to help you ensure that your money and time are well spent.
The personal statement (500-1,000 words) can discuss your individual qualities in light of the general expectations just mentioned. Can you offer specific information that supports your ability to succeed in an MA Literature program? How does your educational background or work or extracurricular experience translate into the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills you will need? This statement might include discussion of (1) your preparation and motivation for graduate-level study in literature, (2) your immediate hopes or plans for your studies while you are a graduate student, and (3) your long-term objectives for your degree. After you complete it, what will this degree mean to you personally and professionally in five or ten years?
For the writing sample, it is most helpful to have an essay that demonstrates your ability to work in a scholarly, critical, or interpretive manner. Such a paper might demonstrate a strong critical argument about a literary work (or similar text), including adequate textual analysis and interpretation and possibly outside research. Most desirable would be an 8-15-page essay that demonstrates your writing, critical thinking, and research skills in close relationship to literature.
For both personal statement and writing sample, you should copy-edit and proofread so that you submit writing as polished as possible.
Your recommenders can help, too. Letters of support that address your academic training and skills are preferred and are the references most helpful to our purposes. If you do not have any recent academic coursework and cannot get letters of reference that speak to your academic training, you might then seek out recommenders who have been your direct supervisors and who can attest that you are a disciplined, responsible, well-regarded person.
People considering graduate study in our program have sometimes found it helpful to test their preparation or upgrade their application by enrolling at NAU as a non-degree student in order to take one or two graduate literature classes. These courses can count toward a degree if a person is subsequently accepted int the program as a regular degree student. View information at the “Non-degree admission” tab on this page: https://nau.edu/graduate-college/admissions/.
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