Eastern Michigan University
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MA in Literature

Program Overview

Graduate students in literature must complete 30 credit hours as follows, while maintaining a 3.0 GPA:

  • LITR 510 Critical Practices in Literary Studies, which must be taken in the first semester of study
  • LITR 511 Literary Criticism, which must be taken in the first or second semester of study
  • Two courses in Medieval and/or Renaissance literature
  • Two courses in 18th and/or 19th century literature
  • Two courses in 20th century literature

Students must also take two elective courses in literature or a cognate field (creative writing, history, women's studies, etc). LITR 510 is offered every fall, and LITR 511 every winter. Most other graduate literature courses are offered every other year. Please note that LITR 585: Literature for Teachers, offered every winter, can only count toward an elective. However, if it is cross-listed with another graduate LITR course designation, then it can count toward the period category which that class normally satisfies. LITR 578: Postcolonial Perspectives in Literature can count toward different  period categories, depending on the literary and historical focus of this class in a given semester. 

Choosing from an array of core and special topics courses, students have an opportunity to design their program of study to suit their academic interests. The MA degree covers two options for the culminating project of the program, an exam or a thesis. The exam entails a comprehensive study of the field of literature with an individually directed research question in a student's field of choice. The thesis allows students to design and develop a specific research question on a literary topic of their choice while working closely with faculty advisers in their field. The thesis also gives students three credit hours for the elective portion of the coursework. A full description of the program and available courses.


For general information about applying to graduate programs in English, available assistantships and scholarships and important deadlines, visit the department graduate admissions page. Here you can also download graduate studies checklists, handbooks and forms. Minimum undergraduate GPA required for admission to the MA program in Literature is 3.0. To apply, follow the general English graduate admission requirements to submit an online or paper admission to the Graduate School. In addition to the application form and fee, students must also submit the following materials:

  • official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs previously attended
  • a 1-2 page personal statement which describes your previous experience with literature, interest in advanced literary studies at EMU and career goals
  • two letters of recommendation, preferably from professors or professionals who can speak to your potential as a student
  • a writing sample which demonstrates your ability to develop an original academic argument about literature, join the critical conversation on your chosen literary text(s) and synthesize information obtained from research. There is no set length, but a writing sample is typically 8-15 pages.

International students are required to submit English proficiency test scores in addition to the above materials (minimum scores are listed on the English graduate admissions page). We have a rolling admission to the program, but please bear in mind that the application deadline for Graduate Assistantships is January 23. For all other questions about the application process, please contact the Literature Program Coordinator Dr. Laura George.

Course Descriptions

For information on recent and upcoming graduate courses, visit our course descriptions page.

Resources for Graduate Students

Career Opportunities

Our program is renowned for its collaborative atmosphere, in which faculty help students explore professional goals and intellectual interests. Perhaps more than any other major, English provides an amazing variety of career paths and opportunities. Our MA graduates pursue careers in education, law, journalism, social media, advertising, public relations, cultural institutions, film and theater, community advocacy, the non-profit sector, web development and design, and entertainment. On our career page, you can read recent studies which show that English majors are successful and desirable in the current job market.

Graduate Placement Record

Being in our program means working with great faculty mentors who are interested in your ideas and happy to help you enter the field as a junior scholar. Many program graduates are now pursuing doctoral degrees in English at leading US and international universities. We have a high doctoral placement record, and most successful applicants receive full funding.