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English Masters Degree Programs with Career Information

Students who want to pursue a career as English or writing instructors may prepare by enrolling in a master's degree program in English. Look at some of the coursework, prerequisites and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Students enrolled in a master's degree program in English explore literature in a variety of genres, authors, time periods and movements. Not all schools require students to complete a comprehensive examination during the program; however, most graduate English programs require students to research and write a thesis as part of the graduation requirement. Those seeking admission must have a bachelor's degree and may be asked to submit a writing sample.

Depending on the type of degree program, students may be expected to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language prior to graduation. Students may, in some cases, be allowed to pursue teaching certifications while completing their studies. Master's degree programs in English are usually completed in about two years, and available concentrations may include creative writing, rhetoric and composition, transnational literature, linguistics or English education.

Education Prerequisites

Applicants to English master's degree programs must possess a bachelor's degree, and some schools require English as the applicants' major. Writing submissions may also be required along with Graduate Record Examination scores.

Course Topics

The curriculum may vary based on the degree concentration chosen. However, all students typically have to complete some courses on topics such as British and American literature, literary criticism and research methods. Concentration coursework may include subjects such as:

  • Old English
  • English language history
  • World literature in English
  • Theory and practice in rhetoric
  • Novel writing
  • Writing nonfiction

Popular Career Options

Graduates of English master's programs generally qualify for careers in writing and teaching. Some careers, such as teaching at the secondary or university level, may require further certification or study. Possible jobs include:

  • High school English teacher
  • Community college English professor
  • High school creative writing teacher

Continuing Education Information

Graduates may pursue a Ph.D. in English. This advanced degree can be especially useful for those interested in teaching at the postsecondary level, particularly at 4-year universities. Graduates interested in teaching middle or high school English typically need to pursue state teaching certifications. Requirements for certification vary by state, but typically involve studying education and gaining practical teaching experience.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Master
        • Master of Arts in English
        • MA in Communication
        • MEd in Reading & Writing Specialist
        • MA in Communication - New Media & Marketing

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising
  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Iowa include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
  • School locations:
    • Virginia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at George Mason University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
        • British Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
  • School locations:
    • Arizona (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northern Arizona University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising
  • School locations:
    • Virginia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Old Dominion University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Eastern Michigan University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Communication Technology
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
        • American Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at North Carolina A & T State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Florida Gulf Coast University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • English Language and Literature

Popular Schools

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