English MA


Learn more about the Master of Arts in English.

About the Program

The English program enjoys a high reputation for teaching and research in both traditional and innovative areas of literary history and literary criticism. The graduate program prides itself on providing students with the advantages of studying at a Research I institution in a diversity-filled urban environment.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: In order to be certified as full-time, a student must engage in at least 9 credits of coursework each term or the equivalent in supervised teaching, dissertation research or writing. In special circumstances, the department permits part-time enrollment, but such students are not exempt from the guidelines concerning reasonable academic progress toward the degree.

Interdisciplinary Study: Students take course in all areas of literary studies, including interdisciplinary studies that can take them into such areas as History, Philosophy, Psychology, the arts, and non-print media.

Affiliation(s):  Affiliations include the Association of Departments of English (ADE) and the Modern Language Association (MLA).

Areas of Specialization: The literature faculty specializes in both emerging and traditional areas of literary scholarship. The MA program provides options for intensive study in critical theory, cultural theory, film theory, interdisciplinary methods, minority literature and women’s studies. Traditional areas of study include Renaissance, eighteenth-century, nineteenth-century, modern and contemporary literature, as well as rhetoric and composition.

Job Prospects: Graduates find jobs in the Philadelphia area and in all parts of the United States as teachers, editors and journalists, and in all professions that value writing and critical thinking.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: In general, English graduate courses are open only to students who are matriculated in an English graduate degree program. However, students matriculated in another graduate program at Temple University may be admitted to English courses at the discretion of the instructor. In exceptional cases, a non-matriculated student may request permission from the instructor to register for a course. All non-matriculated students or students in other University graduate programs should first contact the Graduate Director, who will advise on registering.

Financing Opportunities: Assistantship monies are typically reserved for doctoral students.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: February 15

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with the applicant's academic abilities.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: An applicant should hold an undergraduate degree in English or have completed equivalent coursework in English and American literature.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree is required in a Humanities discipline. A wide range of literature courses should have been taken.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 600 to 1,000 words, share your research goals, particular interest in the Temple English graduate program, and future goals.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Optional. Scores may be submitted if available.

GRE Subject Test in Literature: Optional. Scores should be submitted if available.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 105
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0
  • PTE Academic: 72

Resume: Current resume required.

Writing Sample: The writing sample should be a work of literary criticism, not creative writing, approximately 12 to 15 pages in length. It should represent the best of its author's critical and writing abilities.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Coursework, including at least one advanced-level (8000 to 9000-level) seminar27
ENG 9996Master's Essay3
Total Credit Hours30

Language Requirement: Students must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language. Additional information on fulfilling this requirement can be found in the Graduate English Office.

Culminating Events:
Qualifying Paper:
While enrolled in ENG 9996, students must write one qualifying paper that demonstrates the student's ability to write perceptively, lucidly, and at length (4,000-6,000 words) on a literary subject. Typically a substantial revision of a paper submitted for a previous course, the qualifying paper is to be submitted in the last term of coursework. A sponsor on the Graduate Faculty must approve it for submission to the Graduate Director. The paper must then be approved by the MA Qualifying Paper Committee, who may accept the essay or ask for revisions.


Program Web Address:


Department Information:

Dept. of English

1027 Mazur Hall

1114 W. Polett Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090



Submission Address for Application Materials:


Department Contacts:


Tara Lemma

Graduate Coordinator



Director of Graduate Studies:

Miles Orvell, PhD




Roland Williams, PhD