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Valuable Mentorship, Flexible Options

Earn your Master of Arts degree in English in a program that offers a level of funding, instruction and individual attention usually reserved for doctoral programs. With small classes and mentoring faculty, you'll have opportunities to conduct research and present at national and regional conferences, lead undergraduate composition classes as a teaching assistant or help shape departmental programs as a graduate assistant. You’ll also find a strong sense of community and connection with faculty and students, within and beyond the classroom. We offer many evening courses so you can complete the program on a schedule that fits your needs.

Degree Details

Credits Required:




Time to Completion:

1.5 - 2 years

Cost Estimator

Degree Options

M.A. in English

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

Greeley Program

Complete your master’s degree in English with a research-based project or comprehensive exam:

Master’s Project

An ideal option if you plan to pursue a Ph.D., the master’s project usually takes the form of a research paper, but can also involve creative work such as poems or short stories. You can decide your project's focus and consult with program faculty to build the project around your career goals. The master’s project culminates with a public presentation to an audience of students and faculty. 

Accelerated (4+1) English B.A. and M.A.

An accelerated (4+1) English B.A. and M.A. is available. Please visit this program overview for details.

Comprehensive Exam

Through written examinations administered over a two-day period, you’ll respond to questions about texts taken from reading lists based on your interest areas.

Extended M.A. Project Option

Beginning August 2022, the English M.A. program will feature an Extended M.A. Project option that allows students to complete a substantial, year-long research-based project weighted at 12 credits. Learn More

Related Education Programs

"The Master of Arts in English Program at UNC offered many diverse experiences that made me valuable on the job market. As a graduate student, I was able to teach a variety of courses, work as a tutor in the Writing Center and work with first-generation, minority students. These experiences gave me an advantage over other candidates. Additionally, my experience using computers in the classroom helped me obtain my position as an Assistant Director of Freshman English while working on my Ph.D. at the University of Denver. The large amount of content expected for the comprehensive exams ensured that I was well-read, which improved my score on the GRE Subject Test and opened opportunities to attend various schools for my doctoral training."

—Kandi Tayebi, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies, Sam Houston State University

Your Future in English Studies

At UNC, you’ll benefit from the quality of your learning experience and the people with whom you study. Classes are small, offering a high level of personal interaction and mentorship by top faculty. You’ll also find numerous opportunities to pursue research and field experiences within your areas of interest.

Consider our program if you:

  • Enjoy studying a wide variety of topics within the English discipline 
  • Prefer small classes and working closely with faculty
  • Want to conduct research and gain real-world experience

You’ll study:

  • Literary history
  • British and American literature
  • Composition and rhetoric
  • Creative writing and linguistics
  • Pedagogy
  • Literary criticism and theory

Sample courses:

  • Literary Criticism and Theory
  • American Literature to the Civil War
  • British Romantic Literature
  • Studies in the Renaissance
  • 20th Century British Literature
  • American Literature WW1 to Present

Where can your degree take you?

A Master of Arts in English can open diverse career pathways. Our graduates have applied their education everywhere from local high schools to the Iowa caucuses. You might pursue a career in teaching, writing, editing or other advanced degree programs in literature, law, theology and library science. Other options include publishing, marketing, advertising and communications.

Ready for what's next? Here's what you need to know.

If there's anything else we can do, be sure to connect with us. We're only a shout away.

Still not completely sold? We understand. Here's more information on costs and funding and how to apply.

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