Master of Arts in English

Fully Online Beginning Fall 2021!

Apply by 12/18/22 | Start Class 01/09/23

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Program Overview

Offered by the College of Liberal Arts at USI, the 100% online Master of Arts in English (MAE) is designed for individuals who want to teach dual credit courses in high school classrooms or composition and literature classes in two-year and four-year institutions of higher education. 

The program also serves the needs of professional writers and others whose occupations require excellent reading, writing, and analytical skills, as well as students who are preparing for further work in a doctoral program in English.

The MAE program offers advanced studies in literary history and theory, rhetorical theory, the history of rhetoric, composition studies, and practical applications in teaching. 

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Career Outlook

Earning your Master of Arts in English from USI will open doors to opportunities such as:

Admission Requirements
  • Applicants must hold a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited institution. Although applicants do not need to hold an undergraduate degree in English, preference will be given to those applicants with an educational background or work experience in English or a related field. 
    • The MAE includes courses in Literature, Rhetoric and Writing, and Creative Writing. The Graduate Faculty in the English Department prefers to admit those students who appear to have the best chance of successfully completing the Master’s degree, and we assume the most successful students will be those whose educational backgrounds or work experiences indicate that they possess the abilities to examine, analyze, and write critically about a diverse range of texts in English. 
  • Applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. However, applicants with an overall undergraduate GPA between 2.75 and 2.99 may also apply to the program, provided that the student majored in English and has a GPA in the major of 3.25 or higher.
Application Procedures

  1. Submit an online application and a $40 application fee.
  2. Upload the following to your application account:
    • A well-written cover letter of approximately 500 words indicating how your education or work experience has prepared you for graduate studies and how the Master of Arts in English degree fits with your personal or professional goals.
    • writing sample of approximately 3,500 words. Examples include literary analyses, rhetorical analyses, grant applications, or any other kind of professional writing. If necessary, you may submit two documents totaling 3,500 words.
  3. Submit official transcripts to Graduate Studies.
  4. International applicants may be required to submit additional information.

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Program Delivery and Technology Requirements

Courses within the MAE are offered entirely online using a learning management system. Some courses will require synchronous learning on either Monday or Tuesday evenings. Access to a reliable computer with internet access is required. 

Program Highlights

Upon completion of the MAE program, students should be able to do the following:

  • Read, interpret, and write about a diverse range of texts in English.
  • Demonstrate a solid grounding in Literature, Rhetoric and Writing, and Creative Writing.
  • Conduct independent research.
  • Write critically and effectively in specific professional contexts.
  • Critically examine and analyze texts critically from a diverse range of perspectives and through the lens of history and theory.
  • Participate actively in academic discourse communities in written form, engaging in the theoretical discussions central to the field with current and relevant research-based information.
Scholarships and Aid

Graduate Studies Graduate Assistants

Students admitted to the MAE program and enrolled in at least six graduate credit hours per semester may qualify for a limited number of graduate assistantships through the Office of Graduate Studies. In addition to pursuing a formal program of graduate study, a graduate assistant performs professional duties and assumes responsibilities commensurate with their educational background and experience. A graduate assistant receives a fee waiver and is paid wages for work performed.

More Information

University Scholarships and Grants

Eligible students must be enrolled in no fewer than three (3) graduate level credit hours during the funding period. These awards are not automatically renewable. Recipients are selected by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the Director of the MAE program.

Since the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year, the MAE program has awarded more than $27,000 in scholarships to students in varying amounts.

More Information

Student Accomplishments

Our students have published their scholarship and presented papers at conferences around the country.

List of Accomplishments

Current Student Resources

ENG 695: Capstone Project Syllabus

ENG 695: Capstone Project Template for Title Page

MAE Petition for Course Substitution

Program Curriculum

The program is comprised of 33 credit hours of coursework leading to a Master of Arts degree in English. The program includes 12 credit hours in English Core Classes, 18 credit hours in Additional English Classes, and 3 credit hours of a Capstone Project including a research paper and presentation at an end-of-semester Capstone Symposium.

Course Numbers & Titles

English Core Classes (12 credit hours)

  • ENG 501 – Information Literacy and Research
  • ENG 512 – Advanced Academic Composition
  • ENG 644 – Literature: Theory and Pedagogy in Higher Ed
  • ENG 646 – Composition: Theory and Pedagogy in Higher Ed

English Core Classes (18 credit hours)

American Literature

  • ENG 632 – American Literature to the Civil War 
  • ENG 634 – American Literature from the Civil War to the Present
  • ENG 636 – Multiethnic American Literature

British Literature

  • ENG 624 – British Literature of the Middle Ages
  • ENG 626 – British Literature of the Early Modern Period
  • ENG 628 – British Literature of the 18th and 19th Centuries

World Literature

  • ENG 672 – World Literature

Writing Studies

  • ENG 617 – Professional and Technical Writing
  • ENG 618 – Public Digital Rhetorics

Advanced Theory

  • ENG 612 – Rhetorical Theory
  • ENG 615 – The History of Rhetoric
  • ENG 652 – English Language and Linguistics
  • ENG 679 – Studies in Literary Theory


  • ENG 599 – Seminar in Language and Literature
  • ENG 609 – Workshop in Creative Writing
  • ENG 642 – Teaching Creative Writing
  • ENG 674 – Women Writers
  • ENG 676 – Contemporary Literature

Capstone Project (3 credit hours)

After completing 30 hours of coursework, students will be required to enroll in:

  • ENG 695 – Capstone Project

Program Calendar

Course Start Application Deadline Document Deadline Registration Deadline
01/09/23 12/26/23 01/02/23 01/06/23

Meet the Faculty!

As a student in the MAE program, I took a wide range of classes, from Teaching Composition to Workshop in Creative Writing. I know these courses, along with the support I received from faculty and peers, provided me with the skills and confidence necessary to complete the program.

-Kathleen Bolander, MAE Grad

Among the positives of the program that come to mind, and these are a few among many, are the smaller class sizes, the unique and engaging seminars taught by experts in their subject area of interest, and professors with a genuine interest in their students’ development.

-Luke Anderson, MAE Grad

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Charles Conaway
Director, Master of Arts in English

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