VCU Bulletins

English, Master of Arts (M.A.)

Graduate program director
Joshua Eckhardt
Associate professor
(804) 828-1331

Additional contact
Thom Didato
Graduate programs adviser, Department of English
(804) 828-1329

Program website:

Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.

English, Master of Arts (M.A.) with a concentration in research

Apply online at

Admission requirements

English, Master of Arts (M.A.)

of entry:



Mar 1

Oct 1


In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. A baccalaureate degree in an area appropriate to the study of literature or writing
  2. A GPA that indicates the applicant can successfully pursue a graduate degree
  3. Three letters of recommendation from former instructors
  4. Completion of the GRE (Applicants for the literature track may, but are not required to, submit scores for the GRE subject test in literature.)
  5. A writing sample, optimally ranging from 10-15 double-spaced pages

Applicants may also indicate whether they intend to write a thesis and with which faculty members they hope to study.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university.  These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

General academic regulations for
all graduate students in all graduate programs at VCU

Program goals

The Department of English offers an M.A. degree for students seeking study beyond a bachelor’s degree which prepares graduates to pursue a doctorate, to teach in secondary or higher education or to obtain other positions in the public and private sector. The M.A. in English is designed for students pursuing advanced English studies, and students may choose to focus their course work in either literature or writing and rhetoric. The M.A. in English with a research concentration is designed for students pursuing advanced English studies with an emphasis on research, criticism and methodology.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Develop advanced reading and writing skills
  2. Engage in theoretical and/or textual/bibliographical scholarship
  3. Conduct original research and advance an original argument under faculty direction
  4. Explain and defend original research in a formal presentation or defense
  5. Survey the professional and academic work to which the degree leads

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses and to conduct significant research.

  1. Credit hour requirements: Students in the M.A. in English program are required to earn a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours beyond the baccalaureate. At least half of the credit hours presented for graduation must be at the 600 level or higher.
  2. Other requirements: Students must complete one of two final projects: either a directed study, under the supervision of a faculty member with a public presentation; or a thesis in consultation with a faculty committee, which culminates in an oral defense. Students must obtain approval for their final projects from their supervising faculty and the M.A. committee.

Curriculum requirements

Courses Credit hours
Course requirements 5-7
ENGL 501 Introduction to Graduate Studies in English 1
ENGL 605 Introduction to Scholarship in English Studies or ENGL 606 Literary Criticism 3
ENGL 695 Directed Study/Major Project and Presentation 1-3
Choose courses from list of recommended electives below. 23-25
ENGL/TEDU 528 Children's Literature II 3
ENGL/ENED 532 Applied English Linguistics 3
ENGL 550 Studies in Linguistics 3
ENGL/TEDU/LING 552 Teaching English as a Second Language 3
ENGL 560 Studies in British Literature and Culture 3
ENGL 570 Special Topics in American Literature and Culture 3
ENGL/ENED 601 Young Adult Literature 3
ENGL 605 Introduction to Scholarship in English Studies 3
ENGL 606 Literary Criticism 3
ENGL 611 Authors 3
ENGL 614 Cultural Discourses 3
ENGL 620 Intertextuality 3
ENGL 624 Texts and Contexts 3
ENGL 627 Genres 3
ENGL 629 Form and Theory of Poetry 3
ENGL 630 Form and Theory of Fiction 3
ENGL 631 Form and Theory of Creative Nonfiction 3
ENGL 632 Community Writing 3
ENGL 636 Teaching Writing 3
ENGL 637 Theories of Rhetoric and Composition 3
ENGL 638 Responding to Writing 3
ENGL 652 Studies in Writing and Rhetoric: ____ 3
ENGL 661 Themes in Interdisciplinary Studies 3
ENGL 666 Creative Writing: Fiction 3
ENGL 667 Creating Writing: Poetry 3
ENGL 668 Creative Writing: Drama 3
ENGL 670 Literary Editing and Publishing 3
ENGL 671 Film and Television Scripts 3
ENGL 672 Writing Nonfiction 3
ENGL 692 Independent Study 1-3
ENGL 694 Internship in Writing 3
Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Degree candidacy requirements

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Graduation requirements



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Last update: 12/18/2014

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