Master of Arts, English | Fitchburg State University
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English Studies (MA, hybrid)

Degree Overview

The English MA offers students an introduction to graduate study in literature, culture, and teaching, connecting students to a diverse and impressive community of teachers, scholars, and writers. The program has the following two possible emphases: (1) Literature and (2) Teaching. Students in each emphasis may take courses in both literature and teaching. This is a 30-credit program, including either 24 credits of coursework and 6 credits of thesis work, or 30 credits of coursework and an exit exam. 

The English MA's Literature emphasis intends to offer advanced graduate work in literary and cultural studies, featuring a range of diverse canonical and non-canonical authors and texts across multiple genres and media, connections to multiple academic and professional futures, and the opportunity to produce a culminating MA thesis. 

The English MA's Teaching emphasis develops the scholar-teacher by building on candidates' academic and professional experience to develop a strong specialization in traditional and newer canons of English literature and in the theories and methodologies for teaching English. Students have the opportunity to produce a culminating pedagogical action research thesis. Completion of this degree enables the teacher with an initial teaching license to self-petition to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for professional licensure in the state of Massachusetts.

The Masters of Arts in English degree provides specialization in the study of the traditional and newer canons of literature, literary theories, and research writing. It is created for students pursuing careers in literary studies, writing, research and community college or college teaching. It provides a background for students planning to go on to doctorate programs. The program bridges teaching and scholarship by studying canons of literature alongside theories and methods for teaching English in middle and secondary schools. 


The program aims to train students to understand and employ a variety of strategies in literature, research, writing and teaching. The program aims to:

  • Promote graduate-level scholarship in the study of literature
  • Encourage the development of a wide range of literary knowledge, including a global perspective
  • Bridge the gap between cutting-edge scholarship and classroom practice
  • Suggest ways to integrate the voices of women and minorities into the traditional literary canon
  • Enable practicing teachers to expand strategies for teaching literature through the application of current modes of criticism
  • Explore major literary theories and the history of English as a discipline

The Master of Arts, with a teaching emphasis is designed to develop the scholar-teacher by providing a strong background in English and skills for the complex process of teaching English. It is also designed for students interested in studying the theories, methods, and materials for teaching English in the middle and secondary schools in addition to broadening their knowledge of literature.

Requirements and Curriculum

Two-Year Course Rotation (PDF)

Required Courses for Thesis Option
ENGL 8050 Advanced Research in English Studies (3 credits)
Seven 8000 or 9000-level courses for those choosing the thesis option or ENGL 9XXX Pedagogical Research (21 credits)
ENGL 9100 Master's Thesis Research or ENGL 9XXX Pedagogical Research (3 credits)
ENGL 9200 Master's Thesis Writing or ENGL 9XXX Pedagogical Research Writing (3 credits)

Required Courses for Exit Exam Option
ENGL 8050 Advanced Research in English Studies (3 credits)
Nine 8000 or 9000-level courses for those not choosing the thesis option (27 credits)

Program at a Glance


Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling admission basis. Admissions requirements are as follows:

  • Official transcript of a bachelor’s degree preferably with (but not limited to) a major or minor in English from a regionally accredited institution
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Professional resume
  • Official transcripts of graduate level course work from a regionally accredited institution (if applicable)
  • Graduate application and fee


Online and on-campus courses offered in the evenings with some day courses during the summer.

Total Credits

30 credits

Program Cost

Tuition and fees

Time Frame

While you can complete the program in as few as 3 years, you have 6 years to complete the program.

Career Opportunities

  • English teacher in middle or secondary schools
  • Writer
  • Literature or Research Specialist

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