MA Degree Requirements

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites; however, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on this Graduate Bulletin website and on the Graduate School website, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines. What follows is a summary of the general MA in English degree requirements.

Regardless of concentration, all students must complete 30 credit hours for the degree, with at least 15 of those hours at the 600-level. University regulations permit the MA Committee to accept up to six hours of transfer credit and/o up to six hours taken as a “special student,” i.e., before a student is fully admitted to the program. Credit is not granted automatically but on a case-by-case basis.

With approval from the MA director, students may take a limited number of courses in other departments that complement their interests within their concentration. Students wishing to explore this option should get in contact with the Graduate Programs Advisor for further information and instruction on the process. As discussed further below, a student may choose to write a thesis as part of the degree.

Concentration Requirements

There are two concentrations of study, both leading to the MA degree in English: MA in English and the MA in English Research track.  Both concentrations require 30 hours of coursework. The requirements are as follows:

MA in English (General Focus) – for students looking to broaden their literary coverage. Suitable for students who view the Masters as a terminal degree or those who wish to complete a directed study as opposed to a thesis. Requirements:

1.  English 501, Introduction to Graduate English Studies  (1 credit hour)
2.  Either English 605, Introduction to Scholarship in English or  English 606, Literary Criticism (3 credit hours)
3.  Directed study resulting in a major paper with presentation to be completed in the last semester of coursework (1-3 credit hours)

MA-Research (Specialized Focus)– for students pursuing advanced English studies with an emphasis on research, criticism, and methodology.  Suitable for students considering a PhD or for those desiring to write an MA thesis. Students may choose to focus their coursework in either Literature or Writing and Rhetoric. Requirements: 1.  English 501, Introduction to Graduate English Studie (1 credit hour)
2.  Both English 605, Introduction to Scholarship in English and English 606, Literary Criticism (6 credit hours)
3.  Six-hour thesis to be completed in the final two semesters of coursework (6 credit hours)


Jennifer Rhee, Director of the MA Program
Thom Didato, Graduate Programs Advisor

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