Master of Arts in English

Our master of arts degree in English offers opportunities for intensive study of language and literature in a variety of representative courses across our disciplinary areas of study, which include world literature, British and American literature, composition and rhetoric, media studies, technical and professional writing, and creative writing in multiple genres. 

After completion of this degree, you will be able to articulate and translate complex cultural, historical, literary, and artistic ideas into accessible material for a general audience and prepare yourself for career opportunities in nearly any imaginable field that touches the humanities, including higher education, public and private education, leadership and administration, writing and related fields, marketing, public relations, law, communication, and beyond.

Further your education with a Master's degree in English.

Find out why LU's program is so unique!



Here's our own Dr. Jim Sanderson talking about LU's unique graduate programs and opportunities in English with Stephanie Broussard in graduate recruiting and Natalie Rhodes in marketing.

Graduate Degree Requirements

Departmental Requirements

The MA English requires the completion of 30 semester hours of graduate work: 24 in English (or 18 with an approved 6-hour minor), and 6 in thesis or oral defense. In general, you are encouraged to emphasize graduate seminars (courses numbered 5000 or above) in your graduate coursework. In the non-thesis alternative, you may substitute 12 semester hours of coursework for the thesis. If you do not have an undergraduate degree in English or do not have the language requirement for the B.A., you should take the 36 hours of coursework. In the alternative certification options, you may substitute the alternative certification for the thesis. You must defend either a thesis or coursework.

You must take ENGL 5335 Introduction to the Profession. You should then concentrate on literature, rhetoric or writing. ENGL 5310 Teaching English and 5312 Studies in Language and Linguistics (Grammar) are strongly encouraged for graduate assistants or if you are wishing to teach at the college or high school level, unless satisfied at 4000-level. 

You should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate courses. In addition, international students must score higher than Lamar University graduate admission policy on the various TOEFL tests or IELTS test.

The degree of Master of Arts in English has a thesis, a non-thesis option and an alternative certification option:

  • The thesis option requires the completion of 30 semester hours of graduate work: 24 in English (or 18 with an approved 6 graduate hours outside of the department) and 6 in thesis. You may write a creative or critical thesis or complete an approved written project. You must orally defend your theses.  
  • In the non-thesis option, you substitute 12 semester hours of coursework for the thesis, resulting in 36 hours of coursework (with the possibility of 6 graduate hours outside of the department). If you do not have an undergraduate degree in English or do not have the language requirement for the B.A., you should take the 36 hours of coursework. You must orally defend your coursework.
  • In the M.A. in English with alternative certification, you will work simultaneously on English courses (24 hours) and the alternative education program (15 hours plus 6 hours of teaching internship or student teaching). You should contact the Teacher Education Department. You must orally defend their coursework.

Graduate Admission Policy

First and foremost, if you wish to pursue an MA English, you should consult with the Chair of the English department, whose information is on our staff page. Following are things to be aware of prior to that consultation:

To be accepted into Lamar’s M.A. in English Programs, you must complete the following:

  • Apply through Apply Texas
  • Send a graduate application and officials transcripts of undergraduate and graduate work to Graduate Admissions.  
  • Send the chair of the English Department an electronic one to three page “Statement of Purpose”, detailing your educational background; personal interests in graduate language, literary, writing or rhetorical study; and desired career path.
  • A writing sample if requested from department (if the department is not familiar with you, the department may ask you to submit a portfolio of up to 20 pages of undergraduate creative or scholarly writing to support your application and/or letters of recommendation).

For acceptance, you must meet the following criteria:

  • 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of advanced coursework or in advanced English courses
  • “Statement of purpose” that indicates a complementary match with the department’s offerings
  • Acceptable writing sample

If you have less than a 3.0 in advanced English courses or in the last 60 hours, then you may submit GRE scores to Graduate Admissions for additional consideration. You are encouraged to submit GRE scores if you have them.

The Department may admit a student on a conditional basis. 

Because of our emphasis on writing, the graduate program will expect international students to make higher scores on the TOEFL and IELTS than Lamar’s graduate English Proficiency Requirements.

After graduate students take 12 hours, a review committee will assess their performance based on GPA and completion of courses. As a baseline, after 12 hours, you must have a cumulative GPA in all graduate English courses of at least 2.5 to continue graduate study, recognizing that the minimum GPA to remain in good academic standing is 3.0, which is the minimum GPA required for graduation.

The Department has the right to “waive” these requirements under special circumstances.

Graduate Program Review  

The Chair and the Writing Director (or an equivalent appointed committee) will monitor your progress and advice and approve your study and course choices. After you complete 12 hours, the Chair and/or the Writing Director will review your progress. Among other criteria, the Chair and/or the Writing Directing, consulting with other Graduate Faculty, will assess your overall GPA (3.0 minimum), ability to meet deadlines, ethical integrity, respect for colleagues and peers, evolving awareness of professional opportunities and the likely potential either for generating a scholarly/creative thesis or command of the coursework necessary for passing the Oral Examination. 

Oral defenses—thesis and non-thesis

First, you should ask a professor to head the committee, and this should be done no later than the semester BEFORE graduation (if possible, it should be done sooner than this). 

Second, you and the committee head should confer about other possible members of the committee, and once you and the committee head have agreed on a list of names, it should be your duty to make the first contact with these other possible members and secure at least an informal agreement (you would be best advised to see these possible members in person when making initial contact). Then both you and the committee head should see to it that the committee membership is formally registered in the Office of the Department of English and Modern Languages. You should have all members of the thesis or examining committee initial G-3 forms (the form used to establish the thesis or examining committee).  

In the semester that you hope to graduate, you and/or the committee chair should notify the main office.  We will contact the members of the committee, arrange a time and prepare the G-5 form to be signed by you and the committee members. If you are taking the 36 hour exam option, then the office will collect questions from faculty members who have taught you.  

As the exam date approaches, the main office will provide the committee head with a G-7, which will be completed and turned in when you pass the exam.  

If the committee believes that you did not adequately pass the thesis defense or oral exam, the G-7 provides space for commentary. If the committee believes that you are not sufficient in the thesis defense or oral exam, it may recommend that you complete written answers to certain questions, complete a research or written project over certain questions/topics or satisfactorily complete another oral exam within a specified time as determined by the committee with a maximum of one semester. These conditions should be filed in the main office and on the G-7.   

Committee heads should keep up with the processes and forms specified above.