Master of
Arts in English

A book is never just a collection of words. The story captivates you from the first page. Then, you contemplate its meaning — metaphors and symbolism to cultural and historical context. Interpretations and perspectives are up for debate — or, the prose inspires you to refine your own writing abilities to reach this level. 

However you approach works of literature and the effectiveness of the written word, Abilene Christian University’s Master of Arts in English embraces your drive in a program fusing advanced rhetoric, criticism and analysis with a Christian worldview.

A book is never just a collection of words. The story captivates you from the first page. Then, you contemplate its meaning — metaphors and symbolism to cultural and historical context. Interpretations and perspectives are up for debate — or, the prose inspires you to refine your own writing abilities to reach this level. 

However you approach works of literature and the effectiveness of the written word, Abilene Christian University’s Master of Arts in English embraces your drive in a program fusing advanced rhetoric, criticism and analysis with a Christian worldview.

Main Content

Learn More

Are you ready for the challenge?

Become someone who entrances others with your words and thoughts. Complete the form to learn more about earning a master’s in English.

Loading...

Program Structure

Master of Arts in English

These are the important details you will need to keep in mind as you prepare your application and degree plan.

Required Hours

Program length: 2 years
Credit hours: 36
2021/2022 tuition per credit hour: $1,343

Example Coursework 

ENGL 610: 21st-Century American Literature
ENGL 612: Victorian Visions of Art and the Artist
ENGL 613: Literary Theory and Faith
ENGL 622: Rhetoric and Belief

Department

Language and Literature

Application Deadlines

Priority Review: May 1 (Preferred consideration for Graduate Assistantships and Scholarships)
Standard Review: August 10

Features and Outcomes of the MA in English

Professor teaching class

ACU strives to graduate nurturing leaders ready to serve others across the globe as inquisitive yet decisive and persuasive Christian scholars. We’re one of only three Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) institutions to offer a MA in English, and our connection to our faith frames the program’s structure and curriculum.

For those interested in growing professionally while uncovering personal enlightenment and deepening their convictions, this Master’s in English program aims to elevate your language and literature skills:

  • Develop Meaningful Connections: We understand the importance of mentorship and sharing ideas with others, and in valuing your curiosity and innovative thoughts, we seek to strengthen your God-given gifts. Our MA in English presents such an environment, where you’ll be mentored academically and pedagogically by distinguished Christian faculty. Small class sizes then open up the floor for diverse viewpoints. 
  • Design Your Journey: How do you connect with the written word? Our MA in English starts with a comprehensive, rigorous core covering literary theories, criticism and movements to rhetoric, linguistics and teaching methods. From here, you’ll chart your own path by selecting from tracks in Literature, Composition and Rhetoric or Writing to specialize your knowledge in line with your long-term education and career goals. Thesis and non-thesis formats are available, based on where you see yourself. 
  • Enrich Your Knowledge with Experience: Students enrolling in the Master’s in English program have the opportunity to apply for graduate assistantships. Along with tuition assistance, you’ll continue to build your resume in our Writing Center, working as a research assistant, or instructing engaged, budding minds in a freshman-level composition course.
  • Continue the Pursuit of Knowledge: What manifested as a love of books years ago drives you to read and analyze more, to develop stronger arguments and more convincing wording and to engage others through your ideas. ACU encourages your scholarly inquiry, be it delving into the historical and cultural factors shaping literature from Medieval times to the present, helping you better communicate to defend your perspective and analyses or flourish creatively. At the same time, we acknowledge the fluidity of religion and literature and welcome conversations exploring their intersections.

MA in English Curriculum

Your undergraduate degree fostered your interests, and as you contended with its challenges, you emerged a better writer, speaker and critic.

ACU’s master’s in English looks beyond. This new endeavor serves to nourish your curiosity while speaking to your more tenacious, steadfast nature. Whether you aspire to a doctoral degree, aim to transform the written word or picture yourself uplifting students in the classroom, this program begins with a demanding core touching on all areas of English studies, including language, literature, teacher training, pedagogical exploration and scholarly production. 

From here, you’ll dedicate yourself to a specific discipline by selecting one of three tracks:

  • Literature: Words have meaning. Courses for the Literature track dive into advanced critical and theoretical text analysis. You’ll explore American and British literature across multiple periods and a broad spectrum of writers while honing your research, writing and presentation abilities.
  • Composition and Rhetoric: Your love of literature and language likely started with an engaging, inspiring instructor. If you’re driven to support others and help them discover their personal spark, this track delivers advanced training in pedagogical and rhetorical theory for teaching composition.
  • Writing: The structure and expression coming from the written word have always enthralled you. You envision yourself crafting essays, stories and novels that cause readers to turn page after page or know that succinct professional and technical writing can be engrossing instead of drab and dull. This track helps you continue progressing your writing skills in a workshop-style environment, and by the end, you’ll have produced a portfolio of samples you can take into your career.

Review all degree requirements and course descriptions.

What Can You Do with a Master’s in English?

MA in English students aren’t a monolithic group. You might be aspiring toward earning a Ph.D., eventually seeing yourself instructing classrooms of college students in discussing and analyzing works of literature or publishing your own definitive research and criticism. Or, you want to pursue a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) to continue strengthening your storytelling abilities or are thinking about law school.

You might not be eyeing another advanced degree at all. Instead, you’re ready to jump into a full-time career or advance upon your existing path through more heightened communications and analytical skills. A versatile degree program, ACU’s master’s in English proves to be an asset for professionals eager to make an impact in:

  • communications;
  • publishing;
  • research;
  • education;
  • advertising and marketing;
  • public policy;
  • government;
  • nonprofits;
  • digital media;
  • journalism; or 
  • business.

Admission Requirements

  • Complete an online application
  • Pay the $65 application fee
  • An official transcript(s) in English (or translated to English) of all previous colleges attended:
    • The transcript must indicate an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or equivalent.
    • The transcript should reflect 12 hours of upper-division English courses.
    • The transcript should reflect a cumulative undergraduate approximate B average or above in the area of focus or related area and evidence of an overall productive GPA.
  • Two letters of recommendation (may be submitted through the online application)
  • A two-page, double-spaced purpose statement addressing why you want to pursue graduate school, why you chose ACU, and your future career goals
  • A writing sample* in either:
    • A sample critical essay (maximum of 15 pages) that demonstrates the applicant’s capacity for interpretation and literary analysis, or
    • A sample of creative writing in prose or poetry (maximum of 20 pages).