Graduate Program

“We are a small program with 13 faculty and 10 to 15 students in coursework in any given semester. Graduate students will find here small classes and committed faculty eager to work with them. I’ll speak for myself here, and say I found graduate study in English to be transformative, even life changing–not merely the acquisition of knowledge, but an opportunity to contemplate larger questions about what it means to be human and how to make my way through the world. It is certainly true that English graduates go on to do a variety of things in the professional realm, but for many of us the value inherent to graduate study in English cannot be reduced to the professional payoffs.”  – Dr. Lori Leavell, Graduate Coordinator

The MA in English at UCA is a small program that equips students with broad knowledge of American and British literary history. With committed faculty, two tracks (thesis and non-thesis), evening and summer classes, and unique opportunities beyond the classroom (graduate assistantships and internships), students find a supportive environment in which they can tailor their course of study to match their educational and professional goals. Secondary teachers will find that they can complete the program by taking classes in the evening and during the summer.

Our Faculty:

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 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 LiteratureModern Philology; Literature/Film Quarterly; Twentieth Century Literature; War, Literature, and the Arts; Critique; 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. Many of us have authored, edited, and co-edited books. As producers of knowledge, we bring our research into the graduate classroom and regularly involve graduate students in our research.

Evening and Summer Classes:

Each fall and spring, we typically offer 2-3 classes that meet in the evening. (A standard time-slot is 6-8:30 p.m., with the class meeting once per week.) In the summer, 1-2 evening classes are offered.

Graduate Assistantships and Internships:

Currently, we offer four graduate assistantships each year that provide valuable experience in the following venues: participating in the production of the poetry journal, Slant; working at UCA’s Center for Writing and Communication; and assisting faculty with research and service projects. Graduate assistantships come with a modest stipend—$9,333—paid over the course of nine months. Internships are also available. The department internship coordinator can work with graduate students individually to create unique learning opportunities for graduate credit to be earned while working in the community.

Why UCA?

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, Southern Illinois, and Baylor. Over the course of the MA program, many of our students 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 other than research and teaching, and we believe that completing an MA in English is excellent preparation for a number of professions that value skills in analysis, written communication, oral communication, and collaboration. Several of our recent graduates have found careers in business, editing and publishing, and university administration.

A small graduate program like ours confers several advantages: first, with 13 graduate faculty and 12-20 graduate students enrolled in coursework at any given time, our students do not get lost in the system. Instead, they join an active intellectual community wherein they receive individualized feedback on a regular basis. Second, our faculty take mentoring seriously. We are eager to help students design unique courses of study and plan their post-degree pathways to success. Third, our students have a strong sense of community as they prepare seminar papers together, carpool to conferences, and participate in our college’s research symposia. In short, UCA is a wonderful place to pursue a graduate degree in English. We hope you will consider studying with us and invite you to review a more exhaustive description of the MA in English here.

“I have grown tremendously over the last two years, thanks to the English MA program at UCA. Professors and other faculty members care deeply about the academic, social, and mental development of each student. I always felt supported throughout my studies, despite the challenging nature of the courses. Although I wish I could stay in the program longer, I feel more than prepared for my next chapter.” — Michelle Smith (MA ’22), now a fully funded JD student at University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Bowen School of Law