Department of English and Philosophy


< The MA Program

Curriculum, Master of Arts in English

Two-years full-time, may be completed part-time

The MA program provides students advanced training in language, literature, and composition/rhetoric in preparation for varying personal and career goals. Such training provides students with the sound foundations needed to teach in the secondary schools, to teach in two- and four-year colleges, and to enter fields in which verbal and analytical training is essential, and to prepare for further graduate work in MFA or PhD programs. There are three main components to the MA: 1) Coursework, 2) a Foreign Language, and 3) a Final Project.

1) Coursework

Students must complete 30 credits in English, 18 of which must be at the 6600-level including:

  • English 6612: Introduction to Graduate Studies in English
  • One seminar (a 662x course), focusing on pre-1800 literature
  • One seminar (a 662x course), focusing on post-1800 literature
  • One language studies/linguistics class (see ISU Graduate Catalog for complete listing of courses that fulfill this option)

2) Foreign Language

There are many ways to fulfill this requirement, but students need to demonstrate that they have completed:

  • the equivalent of two years at the undergraduate level within four years of beginning the program (usually by passing two years at the undergraduate level);


  • six credits of graduate-level coursework in language studies, including either ENGL 5586 Old English or ENGL 5587 History of English. Note: These courses are beyond the 3 cr. of language studies required for all students as part of the degree, and beyond the 30cr. of coursework required for the MA.

 See the ISU Graduate Catalog for a complete list of options.

3) Final Project

Students choose one of the following options for a final project.

  • Set Text Exam: A written exam on 5-8 texts set by the department each year, with an emphasis on their historical and critical contexts.
  • MA paper: A revision of a graduate paper into a 25pp. essay of publishable quality. Note: Up to 3cr. of MA paper count toward up to 3 of the required 6600-level credits
  • Thesis: An extended critical study of a topic proposed by the student and developed in consultation with a member of the graduate faculty (a minimum of 50 pages). Note: Up to 6cr. of thesis count toward up to 6 of the required 6600-level credits. For a list of recent student theses, see the Graduate Research Topics Page.

Please see the MA Program Handbook for further details.


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209