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 their undergraduate studies with more intensive graduate-level work under the supervision of a faculty of nationally recognized scholars.
The BA/MA program is not compatible with Creative Writing or Film Studies concentrations, although BA/MA students are free to take as many creative writing or film courses as their schedules can accommodate. The BA/MA is compatible with teacher certification, although the requirements for the teacher cert version of 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. Be aware that ENGL 300 is a “gateway” pre-requisite course for the graduate or “swing” courses in the program. You must complete and pass ENGL 300 before beginning your graduate coursework in your senior year (or junior spring if you’re a teacher education student).
You must also maintain a 3.25 GPA in order to remain in the BA/MA program.
In the early spring of your senior year, the Graduate School will send you a link to apply to the MA part of the program, which begins after you receive your BA degree. For students with a 3.7 overall GPA or higher, this link will take you to an expedited MA application that does not require a writing sample or recommendations and does not need to be evaluated by the English Department. If your GPA is lower than 3.7, the link will take you to the full MA program application, which does require those materials and which is evaluated by the English Department.
If you are accepted to the MA year, your 12 graduate credits (9 for teacher education students) will carry over from your undergraduate work. You may then begin taking additional graduate classes during the summer after you receive your BA, and complete the MA degree in your fifth and final year (teacher education students will need to take an additional summer course after completing the thesis in the spring of the MA year). Please note that although a summer graduate class is technically not required, it is necessary to take one if you wish to complete MA with only one additional year of study.
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 you’ve maintained a 3.25 GPA, have passed ENGL 300, and your advisor and the department chair approve, you may enroll in the program.
Junior spring: Teacher education BA/MA students begin graduate work with ENGL 507. (ENGL 300 is a prerequisite; it may NOT be taken concurrently.)
Senior fall: All BA/MA students take ENGL 506 and a graduate elective. (ENGL 300 is a prerequisite; it may NOT be taken concurrently.)
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 education students). You must have taken and passed both ENGL 506 and ENGL 507 by the end of senior year. In the early spring, the Graduate School will send you the relevant link to apply to the MA year.
Post-graduate summer: If you have been accepted into the MA program, you take one additional graduate English class this summer. This course is technically not required, but it is necessary if you want to complete your MA by the spring of your graduate year.
MA year: Take 9 credits in the fall and 9 credits in the spring (including your thesis writing course).
Summer after MA year: Students who took the BA/MA alongside a teacher certification will need to take one final summer course.