Jump to main content

English Master of Arts


The M.A. program offers courses in three distinct areas - Literature & Language, Rhetoric & Composition, Professionalization - that allow students to pursue their intellectual and scholarly interests and improve their employability profile.  Students are able to choose one of two tracks to complete their MA program: one in which students complete a research-based project and one in which students complete the comprehensive exams.

girl studying

Degree Completion Time

The average amount of time taken to complete the degree is two and one-half years (five semesters). However, it is entirely possible to complete requirements over the space of four semesters. Undergraduate and transfer students interested in our MA may also want to consider our Accelerated (4+1) BA and MA in English.

Research and Assistantships

Funds are available to allow students to conduct research and travel to national and regional conferences to make presentations. About half of our graduate students also lead undergraduate composition classes as teaching assistants or shape departmental programs as graduate assistants. Assistantships include tuition waivers and stipends. All applicants for admission are invited to apply for assistantships.

Why choose UNC?

  • UNC has the resources of a large university, while retaining the personal feel of a small school. 
  • Work with research-active faculty in small groups.
  • Follow your passion of studying Literature (British Medieval to the present, early American to the present, World Literature, etc.), Language, and Rhetoric & Composition.
  • Develop your ability to understand and work within specific cultural contexts.
  • Hone your ability to analyze large data sets and complex texts and concepts.
  • Acquire advanced practical skills that enhance your employability: for example, writing in the non-profit sector, editing, writing center administration, teaching first-year composition, etc.

What can you do with an English M.A.?


A recent UNC graduate on his experience in the English M.A. program:

"The English MA program at UNC exposed me to all sorts of future career paths and helped me gain valuable experience in multiple areas. I was not only allowed but encouraged to follow my passions, explore complex, interdisciplinary topics, and go beyond the scope of what was expected. All of the opportunities offered in this program fostered my ability to confidently learn and work independently, and that has been exceptionally helpful in my post-graduation life."

–Karsen Gromm (Spring 2023)