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English Graduate Program

The English Graduate Program offers the following degree pathways:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.) in English
  • M.A. in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing (starting Fall 23)
  • M.A. in English with a Concentration in Composition and Rhetoric
  • Accelerated B.A. to M.A. Program

Graduate Program Coordinator: Dr. Betsy Nies (

The Value of an M.A. in English

Focusing primarily on the analysis and appreciation of literary texts, the program provides students the opportunity to develop their analytic, interpretive, and writing skills; prepares aspiring community college English instructors to teach composition, rhetoric, and literature; offers secondary-level English teachers the chance to explore new pedagogical strategies for reading and composition; gives currently practicing and soon-to-be-practicing technical writers, editors, and Internet publishers training in the intricacies of well-formed language; helps prepare students who intend to pursue the Ph.D. in literature or cultural studies for the challenges of advanced graduate work; and makes available to creative writers further experience with literature.

For financial assistance, please the UNF Graduate School's information on Student Funding and Scholarships. The department also offers Graduate Assistantships on a limited basis; please contact the Graduate Coordinator for more information.

Employment Prospects

In addition to offering one of the supreme human enjoyments, the study of literature enables students to enhance the ability most critical for success in an information-based economy -- the ability to communicate well. Many graduates of our program are teaching in public schools or at the community college level. Others have found or created jobs for themselves in:

  • web-based publishing
  • technical writing
  • editing
  • trade publishing
  • law
  • television and radio production
  • journalism
  • public relations
  • advertising
  • marketing
  • bookstore management
  • corporate in-house education and training
  • university admissions
  • fund raising
  • script writing, and more.

There will always be employment opportunities for people who can read critically, analyze quickly and accurately, translate their ideas in ways others can readily grasp, and write clearly. See our Graduate Handbook for more information.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy both the SUS general requirements and the specific requirements of the Department of English M.A. in English Program.

  1.  A minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher for the last two years (60 semester hours) of undergraduate course work. 
  2.  A B.A. in English or related field. 
  3.  A course in literary criticism (such as ENG 4013 or 4014) with a grade of B or higher. (Applicants who lack such a course but who otherwise fulfill the admissions requirements may take ENG 4013 or 4014 as part of the admissions process.) While not required, LIT 3213 (The Art of Critical Reading) is recommended.
  4.  A writing sample must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator (see sidebar for contact information). The sample should consist of 4-7 pages of literary criticism, composition research, or rhetorical analysis (not creative writing or personal essay); a paper written for an undergraduate literature class is appropriate.

Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee a place in the M.A. Program in English. Candidates need to demonstrate that their previous studies have given them the tools to complete successfully graduate level work. For more complete coverage of our procedures, see our Graduate Handbook.

Admission Sequence

  1. Prospective students must complete the university's application forms.
  2. Once the Admissions Office receives the applicant’s transcripts and writing sample, an Admissions Officer will forward a Graduate Referral to the Graduate Coordinator, who will make the final decision concerning the applicant's acceptance and so inform the Admissions Office.
  3. An Admissions Officer will then send a formal letter with the Graduate Coordinator's decision.
  4. Students should meet with the Graduate Coordinator as soon as possible to review their Programs of Study.

Graduate Advising

The Graduate Coordinator serves as the advisor to all graduate students in the M.A. in English Program. All newly admitted students should meet with the Graduate Coordinator to identify their program aims, discuss their program options,and develop their initial programs of study. Students interested in applying to the Program are encouraged to contact the Graduate Coordinator to discuss the Program and any application concerns.

Graduate Programs of Study and Organizations

M.A. in English

Graduate students can enjoy reading from a range of British, American, and world traditions, honing their critical reading and writing skills, and enjoying the pleasures of sophisticated literary discussion in small classes with graduate faculty. Graduate-level literature courses focus on the analysis of poetry, drama, fiction, film, and other kinds of texts, including biography and memoir; on developing a critical vocabulary for describing the complexities of literary texts; on understanding the nature of literary conventions; on exploring the different traditions in British, American, and world literature; and on investigating developments in and the value of contemporary literary theory.

Courses in film analysis and traditions augment the curriculum. In addition, students can take courses that ground them philosophically and pedagogically in the history of rhetoric, a sure way to deepen one’s understanding of the practice of writing. Finally, students can enroll in graduate teaching practica, gaining experience by teaching others under the tutelage of an experienced professor or take a course in documentary film production. The M.A. in English offers a number of routes for preparing students for a diverse number of career fields.

The program entails eleven courses (33 credit hours). 

Teaching Practicum and Independent Study Courses

Students who would like college-level classroom teaching experience or who wish to pursue a course of independent study with particular professors may do so by seeking out faculty members willing to direct them. Students can sign up for an independent study or a practicum after they have completed 18 hours of graduate study (or six courses). In the program's eleven courses, students are allowed to enroll in a maximum of two practica, or two independent studies, or one practicum and one independent study.

Thesis Option

ENG 6971 - Thesis (pass/fail). A literature thesis will count as one of the required 11 three-credit hour courses.

Program of Study: Master of Arts in English

Concentration: Creative Writing

Graduate students concentrating in Creative Writing develop their craft while deepening their understanding of literary genres and traditions. Dynamic workshops, independent studies, and special topic offerings explore techniques and trends in the contemporary literary writing environment. Alongside courses that delve into influential authors and literary movements, graduate work in Creative Writing provides students dedicated time to experiment with forms, hone editorial skills, and work closely with faculty actively engaged in the writing world so that each student can master form, style, and voice. 

Program of Study: Concentration in Creative Writing

Concentration: Composition and Rhetoric

A number of graduate students in the M.A. Program in English go on to teach writing at community colleges, and a few teach in UNF's Writing Program. Moreover, most secondary-level English teachers give some form of writing instruction. The program provides students the option of taking courses in rhetoric and composition, which will enhance their qualifications for this kind of work. The program also recommends this concentration for students wishing to pursue careers as technical writers, editors, or Internet publishers. The concentration consists of nine-credit hours (three courses). Students take courses in theory, research, pedagogical issues, and/or technical writing. Students may also take a teaching practicum following the completion of background courses in composition and rhetoric.

Program of Study: Concentration in Composition and Rhetoric

Concentration: Accelerated BA to MA in English

Final Degree: Bachelor of Arts in English, Master of Arts in English

Take three graduate classes while you are an undergraduate. Nine credit hours will count towards both a B.A. and M.A. in English. To start the application process, follow the instructions under "Process." 

The Accelerated BA/MA Concentration offers the following perks:

  • Earn an MA with only one additional year of study after you earn your bachelor’s degree in English.
  • Use undergraduate financial aid and/or scholarships as partial payment for three graduate courses.
  • Enter the M.A. program in English without taking the GRE.
  • Save the costs of living by earning an MA more quickly.

You must complete the following:

  • Major in English.
  • Earn a 3.5 GPA in your English classes.
  • Complete 21 hours of English major requirements, including ENG 4013 Approaches to Literary Interpretation, before applying.
  • Meet with COAS English Undergraduate Advisor and English Graduate Coordinator at the beginning of your junior year.
  • Solicit two UNF Department of English faculty to write recommendation letters.

Graduate classes replace nine hours of undergraduate study (one upper level English class and six hours of free electives). Undergraduate classes must be planned carefully so that the student has the appropriate classes available to replace with graduate courses.

Contact the Graduate Coordinator or more information.A master's in English opens the door to more careers. Also visit our alumni page that features an career list for our recent M.A. graduates.

Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Pathways

English Graduate Organization (EGO)

About EGO

The English Graduate Organization (EGO) is a social and pre-professional organization for graduate students of the University of North Florida's English Department.

The EGO co-hosts the Annual English Graduate Student Conference, holds readings of critical and creative writing, and organizes sessions to discuss topics of interest to graduate students.

The EGO provides graduate students a chance to contribute to the life of the department and the university. In addition, the EGO is a way for students to advise and help one another navigate their way through the graduate studies program.

Biannual Graduate English Conferences

Since 2000, the English Graduate Program and the EGO have sponsored a graduate English conference every year in which current graduate students and alumni deliver scholarly papers.

The event gives students and alumni experience in one of the central activities of university-level critical writing. Starting in 2009, EGO and the program will expand to two conferences per year, one in the Fall, the other in Spring. A free lunch is served.

Benefits of Presenting a Paper

Students should ask the instructors of their 6000-level courses whether they would be willing to give credit for presenting a paper. Instructors in turn are discouraged from grading the presentations. All students in the program should try to deliver a paper at least once.

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