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Master’s in English

About This Program

When you enroll in the University of St. Thomas Master of Arts in English program, you will join a dynamic intellectual group focused on intensive study of literature, writing, English pedagogy, professional writing, and new media.

While investigating a diverse array of texts, students develop professional skills in advanced writing, speaking, editing, research, and textual analysis. They also have opportunities to gain work experience in editing, teaching, and program administration.

Program Objectives

  • Improve understanding of the power of language to shape ideas, individuals, values, and societies.
  • Foster scholarly habits of critical thinking in speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Promote an awareness of current issues and theoretical approaches in the discipline of literary and language studies.
  • Cultivate an independent ability to read texts responsibly, comprehensively, and imaginatively.
  • Develop skills in formulating sophisticated generalizations about writers, genres, and literary influences and periods.
  • Refine the ability to communicate ideas in clear, engaging, and convincing prose.
  • Offer an opportunity for sustained engagement with the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of literature, and of writing in general.
Three graduate students, along with professor, work in a group during class.

Get a feel for the program

Life as a Student

In this program, you can expect diversity, schedule flexibility, a collaborative approach and the opportunity to build close relationships with students and faculty. All courses are held in the evenings, allowing for full- and part-time students with daytime obligations.

Non-Degree Option

If you've been out of school for a while or aren't sure about pursuing this degree, taking non-degree classes might be an ideal choice. When you sign up you will still participate as a full class member with a variety of students and faculty members. This option also gives you the chance to create a writing sample that can be used in the degree-seeking application. From there you can evaluate whether the program's offerings fit your needs, interests and abilities.

Financial Aid and Work Opportunities

  • Graduate Teaching Fellow (GTF)
  • Teaching Mentorships
  • Research Grants
  • Internship Opportunities
  • Writing Consultant Positions
  • Graduate Teaching Fellow (GTF)

    GTF will support a faculty instructor who is assigned to teach core courses in the Dougherty Family College. The GTF will attend all class sessions; help grade informal and formal writing assignments; update/coordinate Blackboard and other forms of course record-keeping; lead class activities or discussions on select topics; and mentor students individually and in small groups. They will also work in the Scholars Resource Center as a writing tutor.

    Teaching Mentorships

    The Master of Arts in English Program funds five Teaching Mentorships each year for students interested in teaching. Students are paired with a full-time faculty member to shadow and assist them in teaching an undergraduate course. Students will help teach, design assignments, meet with students, and more. These Mentorships are paid per hour with a maximum of 60 hours over the semester.

    Research Grants

    $10,000 Graduate Team Research Grant

    This University of St. Thomas grant funds teams of St. Thomas faculty and graduate student(s) who work together on a significant research project or creative activity over an 8-12 week period during the summer.

    $1,000 Student Research Grant

    The Graduate English Student Research Grant provides funding to support student research involving domestic or international travel to visit archives, libraries, museums, and other research sites.

    Conference Grant

    Students attending conferences and presenting a paper may request a conference participation grant of up to $500.

    Internship Opportunities

    The skills you learn as an English major/minor—critical thinking, close reading, analysis, writing, and editing to name a few—are more important than ever in a society where more words are being produced than at any other time in history because of the internet. All students are encouraged to learn experientially through an internship, part-time job, or volunteerism. The below internship opportunities are suggestions for local Minnesota positions where you can begin to imagine connections between the work you do in the classroom and the life you will build for yourself after graduation.

    Interns have worked at 1517 Media, The Loft Literary Center, Milkweed Editions, Redleaf Press, and elsewhere.

    Writing Consultant Positions

    Through these positions, graduate students gain experience working one-on-one with undergraduate and graduate students, gain insight into writing theory and pedagogy (including collaborative learning, process theory, writing across the curriculum, basic writing, and ESL), and learn writing center administration.

    Visit the Center for Writing Website

    Graduate Teaching Fellow (GTF)

    GTF will support a faculty instructor who is assigned to teach core courses in the Dougherty Family College. The GTF will attend all class sessions; help grade informal and formal writing assignments; update/coordinate Blackboard and other forms of course record-keeping; lead class activities or discussions on select topics; and mentor students individually and in small groups. They will also work in the Scholars Resource Center as a writing tutor.

    Teaching Mentorships

    The Master of Arts in English Program funds five Teaching Mentorships each year for students interested in teaching. Students are paired with a full-time faculty member to shadow and assist them in teaching an undergraduate course. Students will help teach, design assignments, meet with students, and more. These Mentorships are paid per hour with a maximum of 60 hours over the semester.

    Research Grants

    $10,000 Graduate Team Research Grant

    This University of St. Thomas grant funds teams of St. Thomas faculty and graduate student(s) who work together on a significant research project or creative activity over an 8-12 week period during the summer.

    $1,000 Student Research Grant

    The Graduate English Student Research Grant provides funding to support student research involving domestic or international travel to visit archives, libraries, museums, and other research sites.

    Conference Grant

    Students attending conferences and presenting a paper may request a conference participation grant of up to $500.

    Internship Opportunities

    The skills you learn as an English major/minor—critical thinking, close reading, analysis, writing, and editing to name a few—are more important than ever in a society where more words are being produced than at any other time in history because of the internet. All students are encouraged to learn experientially through an internship, part-time job, or volunteerism. The below internship opportunities are suggestions for local Minnesota positions where you can begin to imagine connections between the work you do in the classroom and the life you will build for yourself after graduation.

    Interns have worked at 1517 Media, The Loft Literary Center, Milkweed Editions, Redleaf Press, and elsewhere.

    Writing Consultant Positions

    Through these positions, graduate students gain experience working one-on-one with undergraduate and graduate students, gain insight into writing theory and pedagogy (including collaborative learning, process theory, writing across the curriculum, basic writing, and ESL), and learn writing center administration.

    Visit the Center for Writing Website

    What Alumni Say

    Upon graduation, many of our students gain admission to doctoral programs at prestigious universities such as Purdue, Notre Dame, and the University of Iowa. Others find that completion of the program leads to professional advancement in teaching, law, editing, program administration, or other fields. Still others praise the personal enrichment that advanced literary study provides — the joy of reading and writing in a challenging yet supportive environment.

    Dr. Alexis Easley and Andrea Stewart pose for a photo in the O’Shaughnessy Room Dr. Kanishka Chowdhury and Maria Capecchi stand in the O’Shaughnessy Room John VanOverbeke and Dr. Laura Zebuhr stand in McNeely Hall. Scott Carpenter poses with Dr. Emily James in the O’Shaughnessy Room.
    01 / 04

    Andrea Stewart‌ '18, Mentor: Dr. Alexis Easley

    “Looking back on my time in the Graduate English program at St. Thomas, I can honestly say that it has been a life-changing experience for me — especially due to the guidance and mentorship I received from Dr. Alexis Easley throughout my graduate school career.”

    02 / 04

    Maria Capecchi '18, Mentor: Dr. Kanishka Chowdhury

    “Dr. Chowdhury was the perfect blend of challenging and supportive. His courses emphasized theory that was grounded in the everyday realities of politics, economics, and ethics, allowing me to both improve in my understanding of theoretical concepts as well as how my intellectual pursuits impact our society.”

    03 / 04

    John VanOverbeke‌ '17, Mentor: Dr. Laura Zebuhr

    “Working with Laura and having that one-on-one connection with a professor that you wouldn't get at a bigger school was one of my favorite things. She completely changed my perspective.”

    04 / 04

    Scott Carpenter '16, Mentor: Dr. Emily James

    “Dr. James was my advisor for nearly a year: she served as my independent study advisor the semester before serving as my advisor for the Master's Essay. Every time we got together to check-in, her positive attitude and creative outlook would rub off on me. I cannot thank Dr. James enough for her unwavering encouragement and willingness to help with countless revisions. I couldn't have done it without her.”

    Faculty

    Here are a few of our accomplished scholars who produce cutting-edge research; they also take pride in being master teachers and mentors. Courses and seminars are capped at 14 and 12 students, respectively, allowing for lively classroom engagement and personalized attention. The flexibility of our evening course schedule allows students to engage in a rigorous academic program while pursuing other career and personal goals.

    Dr. Todd Lawrence at the I Am a Man plaza in Memphis, TN.

    Dr. Todd Lawrence

    Dr. Lawrence teaches African American literature and culture, folklore studies, and cultural studies. Todd's research and teaching areas include the Black Arts Movement, James Baldwin, racial passing, black speculative writing, and ethnographic writing. His work straddles several areas, but generally sits at the intersection of identity, narrative, community, and culture. Recent work includes the book, When They Blew the Levee, an ethnographic study done in collaboration with former residents of Pinhook, Missouri.

    Dr. Todd Lawrence
    Dr. Laura Zebuhr stands in front of a chalkboard as she leads class discussion.

    Dr. Laura Zebuhr

    Dr. Zebuhr primarily teaches and writes about 19th-century American literature. She is working on a project about Henry David Thoreau and the concept of enchantment. In her classes and research, she likes to look at how literary, philosophical, and cultural texts from different times and places can be put into conversation with each other.

    Dr. Laura Zebuhr
    Dr. Emily James welcomes Tarana Burke during a special guest speaker event

    Dr. Emily James

    Dr. James focuses on modernism and especially the work of English and Irish writers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In both her teaching and research, Emily considers literature's intersections with historical and cultural currents. Her interest in modernism also extends across the arts, from poetry and visual art to dance and music.

    Dr. Emily James
    Author Edwidge Danticat speaks with Dr. Christopher Santiago during a lecture in Woulfe Alumni Hall.

    Special Events

    World-Renowned Guest Speakers

    Every year the Department of English welcomes renowned authors, literary scholars, and members of the publishing industry. Some recent highlights include Edwidge Danticat, Tarana Burke, Nathan Hill, Bao Phi, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Emily St. John Mandel.