2022-2023

English - Literature, Master of Arts

Department of English

College of Arts and Letters

This plan fosters your understanding of concepts, periods, authors, and issues fundamental to the advanced study of literature in English.

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 36
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Thesis Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Research Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study

Purpose Statement

In the Literary Studies Emphasis of the English MA, students acquire a strong foundation in literary theory and research and develop an advanced understanding of traditional and emerging literary histories and fields of scholarship. The course of study for this flexible program includes foundational coursework in literary theory, rhetorical theory, and literary research methods, while additional classes build upon these foundations by developing expertise in specific genres, periods, and topics. The program provides opportunities for students to work on closely mentored, individualized projects directed toward practical professional goals like writing and submitting essays for publication in journals and for presentation at conferences. This degree is ideal for students seeking preparation for PhD work or community college teaching in literature, and for secondary teachers and others seeking additional training in literary studies.

Student Learning Outcomes

Theory and Knowledge

  • Students will learn the theoretical foundations and research methods in advanced literary studies, and gain expertise in specific genres, periods, and topics in the field.


Analysis and Critical Thinking

  • Students will learn to critically analyze how written, digital, visual, and spoken texts shape and are shaped by diverse local, national, global, historical, aesthetic, and ideological contexts.
  • Students will learn to evaluate and synthesize appropriate research, scholarship, and methodologies as demonstrated in advanced-level scholarly projects, creative work, discussion and presentation, and other appropriate assignments.


Research and Application

  • Students will learn to construct course-related projects directed at investigating, understanding, and applying scholarly approaches and criticism in the field of literary studies.
  • Students will learn to participate in advanced professional activities (conferences, publications, practicum experiences, research projects, and other activities).

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.


    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement or essay
    • Writing sample
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
Master's Requirements
Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.