College of Arts and Sciences

English Master of Arts

College of Arts and Sciences

Colleges / Schools




Program Types

The Master of Arts in English affords students the flexibility to tailor their course of study to meet their individual wishes and professional goals. This highly versatile program offers courses in three areas of emphasis—literary studies, cultural studies, and professional and academic writing.

The program enables students to pursue a variety of goals. One could prepare for or advance in a career in instruction; embark on a professional career as a writer; pursue an advanced degree in literary study; be employed in the non-profit sector; or work in the fields of publishing, editing, and technical or professional writing, for example. The program stresses effective writing in a broad array of genres, critical thinking, and interpretive skills, even as it fosters the growth of initiative and self-confidence—qualities much in demand in today's professional world. Smaller classes and the dedicated attention of graduate faculty ensure a nurturing environment for personal growth.

Literary and Cultural Studies

This is the principal "area of emphasis" in Arcadia's English M.A. program. The richness and variety of its offerings attest to the breadth of the faculty's varied interests in literature and Cultural Studies, and can truly be said to be unusual in its scope. Students who aspire to go on for doctoral studies; current high-school and community college teachers; professionals from different backgrounds who hunger for the stimulation of literary study and serious critical thinking—these are among the individuals who come together in Arcadia's graduate English classes. The range of offerings encompass courses that cover sweeping historical epochs; courses that focus on a single author or on a cluster of such authors; courses that revolve around a literary theme, genre, or movement; courses that look at the literature of a given region, ethnic group, or cultural background.

In all of the courses in this area of emphasis, effective writing is central. Proud of its pioneering role in the nation's Writing Across the Curriculum movement, Arcadia—and specifically the Master of Arts in English program—stresses the centrality of rigorous critical thinking, argumentation, and refined interpretive skills to the serious study of literature.

Professional Writing, Composition, and Rhetoric

This area of emphasis is valuable for those who are interested in the power of critical writing, communication, and new media. While this area has the least number of courses in this Master's program, and does not feature studio courses in media training, the university offers a number of courses pertinent to the student's interest: journalism; technical writing; writing and editing for magazines; language study, rhetorical writing, writing for radio and television; writing for the health industry, for the web and the new media, and grant writing for non-profits. Such courses as these enhance the student's preparation for professional work. Students pursuing this area of emphasis are especially encouraged to undertake a Career Internship in English to fortify their credentials for when they enter the marketplace.

Master of Arts in English Degree Requirements


Admission Requirements

The following requirements must be met:

  1. A graduate application, including personal statements, to be completed online at
  2. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a recommended GPA of 3.0 or better. If the undergraduate degree is not from a Department of English, the undergraduate major can be in another traditional Humanities/Social Science discipline, or in a professional or pre-professional field if accompanied by strong undergraduate training in English Studies.  
  3. One official transcript from each college, university or professional school attended. Transfer credits included on a transcript must include grades earned; if not, an official transcript from the original school must be submitted. Transcripts must be sent from the issuing school in a sealed envelope and contain the appropriate signatures and seals to be considered official.
  4. Two letters of recommendation. The letters must be of a professional not personal nature. If the student has been out of school five years or less, at least one letter must come from a professor.
  5. An academic writing sample (15-20 pages).
  6. International applicants should visit for detailed information on admission requirements and application procedures. Official results from the TOEFL or IELTS are required for all students for whom English is a second language or who have not earned degrees or diplomas from post-secondary institutions in English-speaking countries (e.g. the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). A course-by-course evaluation of all transcripts by an independent evaluation service based in the United States also is required.

All application materials must be sent to the Office of Enrollment Management.

    Application Deadline

    Our priority application deadline is December 15 for Spring Entry and March 1 for Fall Entry.  After these deadlines, decisions will be made as space allows.  


    Tuition rates can be found at:

    Financial Aid

    Graduate students who have been accepted into a degree program and are enrolled for at least 6 credits per semester are eligible to apply for financial aid. Please visit for information regarding available aid options and visit: to complete required forms online.  

    Graduate Assistantships/Graduate Student Employment

    Graduate Assistantships/Graduate Student Employment may be available to graduate students registered for at least 9 credits per semester.  Students may apply for assistantships upon acceptance and registration.  Questions regarding graduate assistanships should be directed to the Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies at 215-572-2925.  

    Federal Loans

    Graduate students are eligible to borrow through the Federal Direct Stafford Loan and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan programs provided they are taking at least 6 credits per semester (in the summer, 6 credits over all summer sessions combined satisfies this requirement.)  For more information, visit 

    Arcadia University offers graduate students in English a variety of short-term study-abroad opportunities. These courses, Global Field Studies (GFS), are led by faculty in the Department and across the campus. Currently, up to 9 of a graduate student's 36 total required graduate credits may be derived from relevant short term study-abroad courses. Students may pursue these endeavors in many countries, but the connections to the degree program must be evident. In the recent past courses have included intensive study of language, literature, and cultures in France, Belize, England, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, and Virginia.

    While most of the study-abroad courses for graduate students are short-term, there is one 9-credit career internship in London option that lasts for one full semester and which may be pursued during either the fall or the spring semester.

    Specific information on short study-abroad opportunities for graduate students is available on the Global Field Study website. It is also recommended that graduate students interested in any study-abroad opportunities speak with both a mentor within The Office of International Affairs and with the English Graduate Program Director.

    Pradyumna S. Chauhan


    Richard A. Wertime



    Jo Ann Weiner

    Associate Professor / Chair

    Thomas M. Hemmeter

    Associate Professor

    Elizabeth Vogel

    Associate Professor

    Jim Casey

    Associate Professor

    Matthew Heitzman

    Assistant Professor

    Jennifer B. Matisoff

    Assistant Professor