English Graduate Program: From Local to Global

Graduate English student Julia Alexander shares her story about being in the program.


Why an MA 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. We have recently placed students at top-tier research institutions, including the University of Chicago, Boston University, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. 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.


Students are able to complete the MA in two years attending full-time or in four years with half-time enrollment. We are very conscious of the costs associated with attending graduate school. We offer evening and online courses to accommodate working students, especially those already employed. We continue to expand our graduate scholarships, fellowships, and grants to assist students in paying for their education. Upon student request, we can usually help secure career-oriented GA-ships and paid internships.


  • 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.
  • All students are required to take English 6300, Introduction to Graduate Study.
  • All students are required to take a Comprehensive Exam
  • With department approval, students are allowed to take up to six (6) hours of coursework in a related discipline.

Full 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
  • Letter of Interest

Probationary Admission

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


Dr. Pat Tyrer, Director of English Graduate Students: Classroom Center 319G;; 806.651.2476

Dr. Bonnie Roos, Department Head, English Philosophy, and Modern Languages: Classroom Center 324A;; 806.651.2465



Major in English (Major Code: 5106)

Major Area Options (33 hour program)

  • Thesis option
  • Non-thesis option

General Requirements

  • Prerequisite to admission to master’s degree program: 30 semester hours of English
  • Prerequisite to enrollment in 6000-level English courses: 24 semester hours of English
  • 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 department head 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
      • Teaching Assistants -ENGL 6380 & ENGL 6300 + 3 non-thesis hours
      • Thesis & Non-thesis Students -ENGL 6300 + 6 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.

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 department head, the student must select a committee with one chair and one or two second readers. While taking thesis hours, the student is expected to consult with the committee 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 thesis director will notify the graduate office that the candidate has successfully defended the thesis.

Students must see the department head and file a plan of study before completion of 15 graduate hours.


ENGL 6300 Intro to Graduate Studies
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 6330 Seminar in Literary Genres
ENGL 6331 Seminar in Major Writers
ENGL 6350 Seminar in Cultural Periods
ENGL 6381 Seminar in Theory
ENGL 6392 Seminar in Special Topics