Graduate English Program: From Local to Global

Meet graduate English student, Julia Alexander. Julia decided to come back to college to pursue her dream of earning a Masters in English. She shares her story about being a non-traditonal student in the program.

Why an M.A. in English?

While many of our students pursue the MA to teach high school honors programs, others take it for the joy of delving more intensely into great books. Many of our graduates go on to teach in regional high schools, and many continue on to doctoral programs. Our MA program also includes a strong writing component which prepares students for careers in writing, publishing, editing, and law.

Graduates with MAs in English complete their degrees with the ability to read closely and speak and communicate with interest, passion, and clarity about literature and ideas. Our students are dedicated to improving their critical and creative abilities with written and spoken language. Graduates become more articulate leaders in their communities and workplaces.

Degree Requirements & Resources

Major Area Options (33 hour program)

  • Thesis option
  • Non-thesis option

General Requirements

  • Prerequisite to admission: 30 semester hours of English (exceptions possible upon review)
  • Prerequisite or concurrent enrollment: 6-8 hours of Foreign Language

Specific Requirements

To complete the master of arts degree in English, the student may choose either a thesis or a non-thesis program. The graduate advisor will help prepare a plan of study in either program. Both thesis and non-thesis require 33 hours of graduate work. The recommended schedule for graduate work is as follows:

  • 1st Year
    • Fall - 9 hours
    • Spring - 9 hours
  • 2nd Year
    • Fall - 9 hours
      • Thesis students - ENGL 6301 + 6 non-thesis hours
      • Non-thesis students - 9 hours
    • Spring - 6 hours
      • Thesis students: ENGL 6302 + 3 non-thesis hours
      • Non-thesis students - 6 hours

Note: Graduates may take summer courses when available with the understanding that enrollments of fewer hours during the long semesters may affect financial aid. Enrollment in both summer sessions for a total of 6 hours is considered full-time for financial aid purposes.

Comprehensive Exam and Thesis

Sample Exam

All students studying for the master of arts in English must satisfactorily complete a written Comprehensive Exam administered each fall. Specific information about the exam (length, scoring, sample questions, etc.) is available in the English office. The reading list for the exam is available in the department office.

In addition to the comprehensive exam, thesis students are required to complete a thesis of 60-80 pages on a research topic and an oral defense of that thesis. In consultation with the graduate director, the student must select a committee with one chair and two second readers. While taking thesis hours, the student is expected to consult with the committee chair and to make satisfactory progress on the thesis. The final thesis must be formatted according to the thesis handbook for West Texas A&M University, available through the Graduate School. The graduate director will notify the graduate office that the candidate has successfully defended the thesis.

Students who have selected the "Non-Thesis Option" are required to complete a capstone paper of 20 pages, based on a revised and expanded research paper originally written for a graduate seminar, and to give an oral presentation of the capstone. 


  • Students complete thirty-three (33) hours of coursework, or eleven (11) classes.
  • Thesis or non-thesis options available.
    • Thesis or non-thesis options require thirty-three (33) hours of coursework.
    • Students who have selected the "Thesis Options" are required to complete a thesis of sixty to eighty (60-80) pages on a research topic and give an oral defense of that thesis.
    • Students who have selected the "Non-Thesis Option" are required to complete a capstone paper of 20 pages and to give an oral presentation of the capstone.
  • All students are required to take a Comprehensive Exam.
  • With department approval, students are allowed to take up to six (6) hours of graduate coursework in a related discipline.

Graduate English Courses:

Students must meet with the graduate director and file a plan of study before completion of fifteen (15) graduate hours.

  • ENGL 5360 American Regionalism
  • ENGL 5392 Special Topics in English Studies
  • ENGL 6300 Literary Theory, Methods, and Research
  • ENGL 6311 Seminar in Technical Communication
  • ENGL 6094 Individual Study
  • ENGL 6301 Seminar in Thesis Methods
  • ENGL 6302 Thesis
  • ENGL 6310 Seminar in Language Studies
  • ENGL 6311 Foundations of Professional and Technical Communication
  • ENGL 6330 Seminar in Literary Genres
  • ENGL 6331 Seminar in Major Writers
  • ENGL 6350 Seminar in Cultural Periods
  • ENGL 6380 Composition Pedagogy and Theory
  • ENGL 6381 Seminar in Theory
  • ENGL 6392 Seminar in Special Topics

MA Program Admission


  • Complete online application through the WTAMU Graduate School
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Thirty (30) semester hours of English
  • 6-8 hours of Foreign Language
  • Letter of Interest


Those who do not meet all the requirements for full admission may be admitted on a probationary status through leveling classes, increased GPA, or other required conditions.


  • August 1 for fall admission
  • December 1 for spring admission
  • May 1 for summer admission

English Career Opportunities

English majors are well-positioned to succeed in a wide range of careers. Literature and writing courses develop expertise in communication, empathy, and collaboration skills. Studying the human condition along with developing problem-solving skills increases critical thinking, acknowledged as the number one desire of employers. Our focus on diversity in all its forms results in professionals ready to enhance their skills in the specific requirements of business and industry world-wide. The ability to apply creative and strategic thinking in unique ways makes English majors highly competitive and sought after. Opportunities in online media and content creation are expanding exponentially as is the demand for educated literate writers who can produce high-quality online content for diverse audiences.

What kinds of jobs can I get with an English degree?

  • corporate communications
  • creative and technical writing
  • digital and traditional editing and publishing
  • management and administration
  • media, entertainment, and film
  • nonprofit agency and social work
  • public relations, marketing, and advertising
  • government policy and political speechwriting
  • teaching, at all levels of education
  • paralegals and attorneys
  • journalism
  • archivists
  • literary agents
  • entrepreneurs in business, research, and nonprofits

Career Resources

Program Cost & Scholarships

There are numerous scholarships and financial aid programs available to graduate students. 

Ways to Get Involved
  • Follow our EPML Facebook page.
  • Connect and engage with EPML students and faculty through one of our students organizations, clubs, and honors societies.
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Dr. Ryan Brooks
Director of Graduate English Studies

Classroom Center 319N


(806) 651-2484
Dr. Bonnie Roos
Department Head of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages
Classroom Center 324A
(806) 651-2465