The Master’s in English program at UCA boasts stellar faculty, three tracks for completing the degree, unique opportunities beyond the classroom (graduate assistantships, internships, etc.), and a small program with a high faculty-to-student ratio. We love what we do and are excited to work with graduate students.
With doctoral degrees from excellent programs across the country, our faculty are committed to graduate education in all its forms: research, teaching, and mentorship. Three of our current faculty have received UCA’s Teaching Excellence Award; several have received the Outstanding Faculty Member Award for the College of Liberal Arts; and another has received the Excellence in Research award for the university. We have published in some of the highest ranking journals in our fields, including American Literature; Modern Philology; Literature/Film Quarterly; Twentieth Century Literature; War, Literature, and the Arts; Callaloo; SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900; Studies in Renaissance Culture; Chaucer Review; and Children’s Literature. We are the recipients of competitive grants and fellowships from external sources including T & T Productions, NEH/Arkansas Humanities Council, and the Library Company of Philadelphia, and many of us have authored, edited, and co-edited books. As producers of knowledge, we bring our research into the graduate classroom and involve graduate students in our research.
Our department has particular strength in Medieval and Renaissance literature, and we are the only department in the region to offer an MA in English with specialization in Medieval and Renaissance literature. (See “Three MA Options” below.) One of our faculty is a volume editor of the John Donne Variorium, a project devoted to creating the most comprehensive scholarly editions of Donne’s works, and graduate assistantships are available for this project. The department has a close relationship with the Arkansas Shakespeare Theater, the only professional Shakespeare company in the state of Arkansas, and summer graduate internships are available. With study abroad trips in European locations with historical ties to Medieval and Renaissance literature and art, UCA students can earn graduate credit abroad.
Several of our faculty are affiliated with the African/African American Studies program. We thus offer a high number of graduate courses in this field (at least one course per semester), including African/African American Literature, Major African/African American Writers, and Race in American Literature.
Three MA Options:
MA students have three tracks from which to choose—the traditional track, Medieval and Renaissance option, and the Language Arts option. The traditional track provides the most freedom in terms of planning the program of study and equips students with broad knowledge of American and British literary history. The Medieval and Renaissance option offers a specialized program of study and learning experiences that make this program unique to the region. The Language Arts option is designed for secondary teachers to bolster content knowledge in diverse literatures while also providing instruction in composition theory and grammar studies. Because we offer graduate courses in the evening and during the summer, teachers can complete degree requirements on a part-time basis without interrupting their careers. Find a side-by-side comparison here: http://uca.edu/english/programs-and-degrees/graduate-programs-master-degrees/.
Graduate Assistantships, Internships, and Unique Learning Opportunities:
Currently, we offer three department graduate assistantships each year, which provide valuable experience in the following venues: assisting with the production of the poetry journal, Slant; working with faculty on research projects; facilitating the activities of the undergraduate English Society; and coordinating the College of Liberal Arts Student Research Symposium. (Graduate assistantships come with a modest stipend—$9,333—paid over the course of nine months.) From time to time, we provide advanced students the opportunity to teach their own introductory literature course. (Graduate students who teach a course are paid $2,600 for the semester.) Along with assistantships and teaching opportunities, we also can help students secure internships. The department internship coordinator can work with graduate students individually to create unique learning opportunities for graduate credit to be earned while working within the community. Last, while assistantships and internships enrich graduate education, graduate coursework itself enables students to take advantage of resources within the state. The Research Methods course, for example, regularly familiarizes students with archival research at the Sequoyah National Research Center in Little Rock, the largest repository of American Indian Print Culture in the world.
Because our program emphasizes broad coverage in American and British literary history, students complete our program with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue doctoral education. In recent years, we’ve placed students in a number of doctoral programs in English, including Yale, University of Tulsa, University of Washington, University of Arkansas, and Southern Illinois. Over the course of the MA program, many of our students come to realize their interest in teaching at the secondary level. Some of our recent graduates teach at charter schools and public schools in the state. We are just as excited, however, to help our graduate students prepare for careers beyond research and teaching, and we believe that completing a Master’s in English is excellent preparation for a number of careers that value analytical, writing, and oral communication skills. In fact, several of our recent graduates have found careers in the realms of business, editing, and college administration.
A small graduate program like ours confers several advantages: first, with nineteen graduate faculty and 10-15 graduate students enrolled in coursework most semesters, the faculty-to-student ratio is exceptionally high, which means that our students do not get lost in the system. Rather, they receive individualized feedback on a regular basis. Second, our faculty take mentoring seriously. We are eager to help students uniquely design their course of study and plan the path they will take post-degree. Third, our students tend to have a strong sense of community as they prepare for comprehensive exams together, carpool to literature conferences, and participate in the College of Liberal Arts Student Research Symposium. In short, UCA is a wonderful place to pursue a graduate degree in English. We hope that you will consider studying with us.