MA in English

An M.A. in English helps students prepare for a host of professional careers, including community college teaching, writing and editing positions, research-intensive professions, law and library schools, and doctoral programs.

Students take a broad array of classes and choose a concentration in one of three areas:

  • Literature
  • Professional Writing
  • Rhetoric and Composition

Hear from Creative Writing Professor and author Ron Rash

Students in our M.A. program receive individualized attention from our highly accomplished graduate faculty. Our graduate students:

  • Study creative writing with Ron Rash, author of Serena, and other notable faculty teaching fiction, poetry, and nonfiction writing classes.
  • Study literature with faculty whose research interests range from medieval and renaissance literature to southern, twentieth century, African American, environmental, postcolonial, and Latin American literature.
  • Hone technical, professional, and business writing skills with faculty who complement their teaching expertise with real world experience.
  • Cultivate teaching and training skills in classes that focus on both the theory and practice of pedagogy and instruction.
  • Take classes with faculty who have won every teaching award WCU offers, from the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award to the Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • Develop research techniques with faculty who have won NEA fellowships, NEH grants, and WCU’s University Scholar Award.
  • Gain access to outstanding academic library resources and reference librarians.

Classes are offered at both our campus in Cullowhee and in Asheville at Biltmore Park. Program specifics can be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Graduate Assistantships

For students holding graduate assistantships in English, our program often serves as a professional apprenticeship in teaching at the college level. However, graduate assistants can also work as research assistants with English faculty, as professional writers in a variety of university offices like the Coulter Faculty Commons or the Graduate School, or in other capacities. For those who want the teaching training, the typical path is to work as tutors in the Writing and Learning Commons (WaLC) during the first year, as well as observing a writing class each semester and taking ENGL 514 Teaching Writing, which is designed to provide both a theoretical base and practical pedagogical training. Usually in the second year, after completing eighteen hours of graduate English coursework, students gain classroom experience by teaching their own writing class under the mentorship of an experienced instructor.

Graduate Assistants are required to take nine hours per semester (except for their final semester, in which they take six). The assistantship is a 20-hour/week commitment.

For more information on scholarships, tuition waivers, grants, fellowships, and awards, see the Graduate School's "Tuition and Funding."

Information for current students:


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