English Literature Masters Degree Program Information

A master's degree program in English literature combines writing with critical analysis and often focuses on one genre or movement in the field. Graduates of these programs are prepared for a wide variety of career options.

Essential Information

Students working towards a master's degree will typically focus on one genre or movement in English literature. Most master's degree programs in English literature allow candidates to design and individualize their courses of study based on interests and research topics for the graduate thesis. Some of the most popular career choices can be found in the fields of teaching, editing, writing, and journalism. Admission requirements vary from school to school, but typically include bachelor's degrees, GRE scores, and strong writing samples that demonstrate the academic potential of their chosen research topics.

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Master's Degree in English Literature

Not all programs in English or comparative literature require bachelor's degrees in the same field; some even consider backgrounds in other fields to be assets. Master's degree programs are structured around lectures, class discussions, and writing. Common courses include:

  • Composition theory
  • Rhetoric
  • Literary theory
  • Thesis project
  • Topics in English literature

Career and Salary Info

Because many options are open to those with master's degrees in English literature, graduates may have a harder time than most settling into their careers. Some pursue further academic research at the Ph.D. level, while others prefer the steady income of a university professorship; a few make their livings as editors or writers. Business or administrative backgrounds can help graduates land jobs in the publishing industry. Other careers choices open to graduates exist in the fields of human resources, public relations and advertising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for public relations specialists was $56,770 in 2015 (

Students enrolling in English literature master's degree programs can expect to focus their coursework and studies on their individual thesis. With all the choices of potential careers available to graduates of these programs, narrowing studies down to a specific area of English Literature may be helpful in career selection.

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