MA in English

Why an English MA at UCA? | Apply to the Program | Contact Information | For Current Students

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.

Why an English MA 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

Our Renowned 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.

Our Flexible Course Offerings with 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.

Our Funding Packages–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.

How Do I Apply to the MA Program in English?

Admission to the MA Program in English requires acceptance from both the Graduate School and the English Department. Please review the information below, and contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Glenn Jellenik (, with any questions. All application materials should be sent to the Graduate School.

Application Dates:

Students may begin graduate study in the fall, spring, or summer. The preferred application date is March 1 for summer and fall admission and October 1 for spring admission. (In some instances, late applications may be considered.)

Graduate School Requirements and Application Materials:

Please consult the Graduate School’s information about requirements for regular and conditional admission.

Submit the following:

  • Graduate School application. You will be prompted to create an account to access the application.)
  • Application fee ($45)
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work should be sent to UCA Graduate School, 201 Donaghey Avenue, Torreyson West 328, Conway, AR. 72035

English Department Requirements and Application Materials:

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School, the applicant must have earned a minimum 3.00 GPA in an undergraduate major or minor in English literature to gain regular admission to the program. The following materials should be submitted to the Graduate School:

1. Two letters of recommendation

Letters should be from professors with whom you have studied who can speak to your ability to succeed in graduate study in English. If submitted via email, letters should be sent directly from the recommenders. If submitted via hard copy, letters should be sealed or mailed directly from recommenders to ensure confidentiality.

2. Writing sample (7-15 pages)

The writing sample should demonstrate your research and writing skills in the field of English (or perhaps another discipline in the humanities). Most applicants revise a research paper that they completed for an upper-level English class.

3. Statement of purpose (1-2 pages), explaining your interest in the program and academic/career goals

The statement of purpose is an opportunity to explain why you would like to pursue an MA in English at UCA. Give us a sense of who you are and how the study of English fits into your personal and career goals. If there are any weaknesses in your application (such as a semester of poor undergraduate performance), you can address them here.

For International Applicants:

Those international students required by the university to submit TOEFL scores for entrance to graduate study must score a minimum of 600 on the written exam in order to gain admission to graduate study in English. Further, the student must attain a minimum score of 5 on the essay portion of the exam.

Conditional Admission:

For conditional admission to the program, consult the department chair or graduate coordinator. Though admission to our program does not require GRE sores, an applicant whose GPA does not meet the minimum requirement can submit scores for the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) to supplement the application for conditional admission. A minimum score of 153 on the Verbal Reasoning portion is recommended.

Contact Information

For questions about the MA program in English, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. Glenn Jellenik (

Information for Current English MA Students

Please consult the MA Capstone Portfolio Guidelines for more information.