English Masters Degree Programs with Career Information

Students enrolled in a master's degree program in English explore a variety of literary genres, authors, time periods and movements. Additionally, they develop research and writing skills through advanced study in a chosen area of concentration.

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Essential Information

Master's degree programs in English are designed for students who want to pursue a career as English or writing instructors. Usually completed in about two years, English master's programs offer concentrations including creative writing, rhetoric and composition, transnational literature, linguistics or English education. Most graduate English programs require students to research and write a thesis, while some schools may require students to complete a comprehensive examination. In some cases, students may be allowed to pursue teaching certifications while completing their studies.

Students seeking admission to English master's degree programs must have a bachelor's degree and may be asked to submit a writing sample. Depending on the type of degree program, students may be expected to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language as well.

Master's Degree in English

Applicants to English master's degree programs must possess a bachelor's degree, and some schools require English as the applicants' major. Writing submissions may also be required along with Graduate Record Examination scores. Program curricula may vary based on the degree concentration chosen by the student. All students, however, typically have to complete some courses on topics such as British and American literature, literary criticism and research methods. Common coursework includes:

  • Old English
  • English language history
  • World literature in English
  • Theory and practice in rhetoric
  • Novel writing
  • Writing nonfiction

Popular Career Options

Graduates of English master's programs generally qualify for careers in writing and teaching. Some careers, such as teaching at the secondary or university level, may require further certification or study. Possible jobs include:

  • High school English teacher
  • Community college English professor
  • High school creative writing teacher

Continuing Education Information

Graduates may pursue a Ph.D. in English. This advanced degree can be especially useful for those interested in teaching at the postsecondary level, particularly at 4-year universities. Graduates interested in teaching middle or high school English typically need to pursue state teaching certifications. Requirements for certification vary by state, but typically involve studying education and gaining practical teaching experience.

Master's programs in English typically allow students to choose specializations that fit their career goals, such as creative writing or linguistics. Most students pursuing a master's degree in English want to become English or writing instructors, though it's important to note that certification is required at the middle and high school levels, and not all master's programs lead to certification. Graduates may also consider pursuing doctoral degrees.

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