Ambitious students entering the English major can apply for a five-year dual-degree program and earn a master’s degree in English with only one additional year of study. Students can cap off their undergraduate studies with more intensive graduate-level work under the supervision of a faculty of nationally recognized scholars.
Note: the BA/MA program is not compatible with Creative Writing or Film Studies concentrations, although BA/MA student are of course free to make as many creative writing or film courses as their schedules can accommodate. Beginning in the fall of 2020, the BA/MA is now compatible with teacher certification, although the requirements for the program are slightly different. The MA in English (as opposed to the Masters in Teaching) is an especially valuable credential for teachers.
You can sign up for the undergraduate portion of the BA/MA at any time from the admissions stage through your junior year by contacting your faculty advisor. You will receive advising to make sure that requirements are being met at a timely pace, and that the level of academic performance is appropriate for graduate admission.
In the fall of your senior year, you begin taking graduate courses and formally apply to the Graduate School for admission into the MA portion of the program. (In the case of Teacher Certification students, you must begin taking graduate coursework your junior spring; your senior spring is reserved for clinical practice.)
To apply for the MA portion, you follow the same procedures as any other candidate for the MA program. You submit a full application to the Graduate School. You are evaluated on the basis of your transcript, faculty letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a writing sample. If you are accepted, your 12 graduate credits (9 for TE students) will carry over from your undergraduate work. You then begin taking additional graduate classes during the summer after you receive your BA. You then complete the MA degree in your fifth and final year, which includes the writing of a thesis.
The MA year, during which students are eligible for paid assistantships, offers a dynamic and rigorous curriculum taught by a highly qualified faculty that includes scholars of national and international reputation. Offerings include literature courses that range from the ancient to the contemporary and include American, British and global literatures. They include film, media, critical theory, creative writing and the teaching of literature. Specialized topics include the Bible as Literature, Science Fiction, American Gothic, the Irish Literary Revival and the Black Atlantic.
At the end of five years, you emerge with an MA degree, a deeper knowledge of English, more highly developed skills, and a stronger sense of the value of your learning in society and in the workforce.
Suggested timetable for BA/MA students:
Freshman and sophomore years: Make substantial progress on your English major requirements so that you have room in your schedule for graduate work during your senior year. Consultation with your advisor is essential.
Sophomore spring: Teacher education students apply to the Center for Pedagogy for admission into the appropriate certification program
Junior fall: Consult with your faculty advisor about your GPA and progress in completing requirements to determine whether you are in a good position to undertake the BA/MA program. If your advisor and department chair approve, you may enroll in the program.
Junior spring: Teacher education BA/MA students begin graduate work with ENGL 507.
Senior fall: All BA/MA students take ENGL 506 and a graduate elective.
Senior fall/winter: If you have been performing at a high level in your graduate courses, apply to the graduate school for admission into the MA program.
Senior spring: Make sure all program requirements have been met so that you can graduate in May. This includes 36 undergraduate English credits and 12 graduate credits (9 for Teacher Ed BA/MA students). You should have taken both ENGL 506 and ENGL 507 by the end of senior year.
Post-graduate summer: If you have been accepted into the MA program, take one additional graduate English class.
MA year: Complete your degree by taking 9 credits in the fall and 9 credits in the spring. (Teacher ed BA/MA students will need an additional semester to write the MA thesis.)