MA Degree Requirements

Regardless of concentration, all students must complete 30 credit hours for the degree, with at least 15 of those hours at the 600-level. University regulations permit us to accept (with approval of the MA Committee) up to six hours of transfer credit and up to six hours taken as a “special student,” before a student is fully admitted to the program. With approval from the MA director, students may take a limited number of courses in other departments that complement their interests within their concentration. As discussed further below, in each concentration, a student may choose to write a thesis as part of the degree.

Requirements Specific to Concentrations

There are two concentrations of study, both leading to the MA degree in English: MA in English and the MA in English Research track.  Both tracks require 30 hours of coursework. The requirements are as follows:

MA in English – for students pursuing advanced English studies. Students may choose to focus their coursework in either Literature or Writing and Rhetoric. Requirements:

1.  English 501, Introduction to Graduate English Studies -1 credit hour
2.  Either English 605, Introduction to Scholarship in English or English 606, Literary Criticism- 3 credit hours
3.  Directed study resulting in a major paper with presentation to be completed in the last semester of coursework-1-3 credit hours

MA-Research – for students pursuing advanced English studies with an emphasis on breadth of coverage. Students are encouraged to take a variety of courses throughout the duration of their MA. Requirements:

1.  English 501, Introduction to Graduate English Studies-1 credit hour
2.  Both English 605, Introduction to Scholarship in English and English 606, Literary Criticism- 6 credit hours
3.  Six-hour thesis to be completed in the final two semesters of coursework-  6 credit hours

Note:  There may be additional requirements within the Literature or Writing and Rhetoric curricula and students should consult their advisors.


Les Harrison, Director of the MA Program
Thom Didato, Graduate Programs Advisor

Upcoming Deadlines

Classes Begin
JANUARY 14, 2019

Add/Drop Deadline
JANUARY 20, 2019

Graduation Application Deadline
JANUARY 25, 2019

Spring Break
MARCH 3-10, 2019

Course Withdrawal Deadline
MARCH 22, 2019

Last Day of Classes
MAY 3, 2019



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British Virginia is a VCU-hosted series of scholarly editions of documents touching on the colony. These texts range from the 16th and 17th-century literature of English exploration to the 19th-century writing of loyalists and other Virginians who continued to identify with Great Britain. Editions appear principally in digital form, freely downloadable. 

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