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Master’s Program

Dr. Lori Leavell, Associate Professor, and Graduate Coordinator


The Master’s 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 where they can tailor their course of study to match their educational and professional goals, Secondary teachers will find that they an 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 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 regularly involve graduate students in our research.


Two Tracks:

The MA in English is a 30-hour program.* Students sit for comprehensive written exams in the final semester. They have two tracks from which to choose: the thesis track (24 hours of coursework + 6 thesis hours) and the non-thesis track (30 hours of coursework). Regardless of the track, there are three required courses:**

  • ENGL 6393: Research Methods (offered every fall)
  • ENGL 5366: Literary Theory and Criticism (offered every spring)
  • ENGL 5360: History and Structure of the English Language (offered every fall and spring)

*Of the 30 total hours, fifteen hours must be at the 6000 level.

**Students who earned their BA at UCA and took 5366 and/or 5360 as undergraduates should replace those courses with electives.

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 daytime classes are usually offered.


Graduate Assistantships and Internships:

Currently, we offer  four department graduate assistantships each year which 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 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 thirteen graduate faculty and 10-15 graduate students enrolled in coursework most semesters,  our students do not get lost in the system. Rather, they join an active intellectual community where 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.

“I work in marketing for a local software company and am in charge of the Marketing Communications team. My BA and MA helped me hone my analyzing and writing skills, and how to communicate with an audience (tailor the message). It has also helped me provide constructive feedback to the team and department about our messaging and direction.”- M Thomas O’Banion, MA graduate 2009