Close up of a student reading in a poetry class.

MA in English


We see into the life of things.

William Wordsworth

The Master of Arts in English at Montclair State University provides a rich, dynamic and rigorous curriculum in the reading, writing and teaching of literature, taught by a highly qualified, internationally renowned faculty. All our classes are small seminars, offered in the evening. Recent courses have included Shakespeare’s Tragedies, Science Fiction, Charles Dickens, Modern American Fiction, the Irish Literary Revival and Creative Writing Pedagogy. The curriculum provides excellent preparation for PhD programs, and many graduates have gone on to leading programs. Secondary school teachers appreciate the enrichment we offer in teaching literature, while mid-career students can refurbish writing and reading skills for new professional endeavors.

For secondary and middle-school teachers, we also offer a nine-credit low-residency graduate certificate in English.  Students completing this certificate may count all nine credits towards their MA should they enroll in the degree program.

View requirements for the MA in English (official course catalog).

View the guidelines for your MA thesis in English.

Who enrolls in the MA in English program?
All kinds of people! Our graduates are teachers at every level, kindergarten through college, locally or in remote areas of the world. They are writers, editors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, journalists, volunteers, financial analysts and public servants. They advance in publishing, media, journalism, library science, nonprofit and business careers. They become informed citizens, independent researchers, careful readers and artful writers.
What is the program structure?
This 33-credit program includes required seminars in Research Methods and Literary Theory. Electives may be chosen from areas including American Literature, British Literature, International Literature, Film, Creative Writing and Pedagogy, with new courses in Digital Humanities to be launched. The culminating experience is a master’s thesis, written on a topic of the student’s choice. Students may attend full or part-time.
What are the requirements for a thesis?
The thesis is the culminating project for the Masters of Arts in English. It is a deeply researched essay in the range of 25-35 pages, written under the supervision of a faculty member in the field. Although the thesis should grow out of the student’s work in graduate courses, it will substantially build upon this work by aspiring to reach the standards of a publishable professional scholarly article in the cohesiveness of its research, the rigor of its argument, and its engagement with current issues in its field of study.  The thesis is a semester-long project, but students usually begin researching and conceptualizing their topics for a summer or a semester before formally enrolling in the thesis course.  For more information on the thesis process, read the guidelines for planning and writing your thesis.
What advantages will I gain with this degree?
In obtaining the MA in English, you develop as a reader, a writer and a thinker. You gain skills that matter in the workforce, in our democracy and in private life. You learn to express yourself to others – not only in your own field but also in the world at large – thoughtfully, meaningfully, resonantly and with deepened cultural awareness.

Whatever your career, you will pursue questions that matter to you throughout your lifetime. In studying English, you study all of human experience.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the MA in English, please contact the Program Coordinator, Dr. Adam Rzepka at

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact The Graduate School at Montclair State University at or 973-655-5205.