Master's in English

Deepen your knowledge of Anglophone literatures

Achieve your professional and personal goals with a rigorous, personalized, project-based graduate experience. Through seminar courses, students develop extensive knowledge of literature, literary critical methods and analytical writing.



Credit Hours


Years to Complete


Accelerated Degree Program





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Learning Outcomes

Students will have the freedom to pursue their particular interests in literary studies in a way that prepares them for an array of future plans, including admission to a doctoral program in English

Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, M.A. students will design a program of study that may include traditional coursework, internships, and a culminating project.

Career Opportunities

Students complete this program can go on to their doctoral studies or pursue careers in education, non-profit administration, library sciences, law, health care, communications, journalism and any other professions. 

Choose Your Master's Track

Choose from a thesis-based track (Plan A) and a non-thesis track (Plan B). Students will determine which track to pursue in their first semester. 

Plan A: Thesis-Based Requirements

  • 30 credit hours beyond the BA degree, including 24 credit hours of courses plus 6 credits of an M.A. thesis.
  • Thesis must be approved by the thesis director and one other reader, usually the Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Up to 3 courses (i.e. 9 credits) may be from the 5000 level.
  • Required 6000-level courses 
  • Electives – 9 credits with a minimum of 6 credits from ENGL Literature courses. Choose from the following

    • ENGL elective courses 5000-6000-level
    • One graduate level (cognate) course from outside ENGL, with permission from the Director of Graduate Studies.
    • Studies in Rhetoric and Composition Theory- 3 credits by consent of the Director of Graduate Studies.  Recommended for those considering a Ph.D. degree
    • Master’s thesis—6 credits

Plan B: Non-Thesis Requirements

  • 30 credit hours beyond the BA degree, at least 21 of which must be from the ENGL department at the 6000 level.
  • Up to 3 courses (9 credits) may be from the 5000 level.
  • Required 6000-level courses 
  • Electives- 15 credits with a minimum of 6 credits of  from ENGL Literature courses. Choose from the following:

    • ENGL elective courses 5000-6000-level.
    • A culminating project to be developed in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and an assigned faculty mentor (3 credits)
    • Up to two graduate level (cognate) courses (6 credits) from outside ENGL, with permission from the Director of Graduate Studies
    • Studies in Rhetoric and Composition Theory- (3 credits) by consent of the Director of graduate Studies and recommended for those students who may be considering pursuing a PhD degree

Graduate education in the humanities is affordable

The Graduate School is excited to offer all students in humanities graduate programs a $500 per credit hour rate. Take advantage of this nearly 60-percent tuition reduction in the following master of arts programs: EnglishHistoryTheology and Philosophy. This competitive rate reflects Marquette’s commitment to the humanities, which are at the heart of our Catholic, Jesuit tradition.


Take the next step towards your future


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  • Application Information
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Application Deadline

Students typically begin their studies in the fall of each academic year. This program has rolling admission, which means you may apply any time before the following dates:

  • Fall term admissions- August 1 (June 1 for international applicants)
  • Spring term admissions- December 15 (October 1 for international applicants)

Application Requirements

Read all application instructions prior to beginning an application.

  • A completed online application form and fee.
  • Copies of all colleges/university transcripts except Marquette.1
  • At least two letters of recommendation (three are preferred).
  • A statement of purpose. The best personal statement summarizes your academic interests and achievements and your career goals. Emphasize strengths that may not otherwise be obvious from your application file.  
  • One or two writing samples.
  • For international applicants only: TOEFL score or other acceptable proof of English proficiency.

1Upon admission, final official transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities, with certified English translations if original language is not English, must be submitted to the Graduate School within the first five weeks of the term of admission or a hold preventing registration for future terms will be placed on the student’s record. 

Financial Aid

Private scholarships may also be available. U.S. citizens and permanent residents may be eligible to apply for need-based federal aid (loans) to help fund their educational expenses as well.

Trinity Fellows Program

Students interested in the English master's programs may want to consider applying for the Trinity Fellows Program as well. Trinity Fellows is a graduate fellowship program dedicated to developing urban leaders with a commitment to social and economic justice. Trinity Fellows participate in a 21-month study/ work program while earning a master's degree. Those who have completed a full-time service program (minimum 10 months), and/or have worked for 2+ years in the nonprofit sector are eligible to apply. Details and instructions to apply are found on the Trinity Fellows website.