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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

MA: English Studies

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 Closed to new students after Spring 2014. See our new program: MA Literature and English Studies

The Master of Arts in English Studies prepares students for post-secondary teaching and also provides a foundation for the Ph.D. in English. Recent graduates have entered Ph.D. programs at such schools as University of Texas-Austin, Kent State University, Washington State University, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Marquette University, and Purdue University. Those choosing to go directly into teaching have obtained positions at technical colleges, community colleges, and four-year universities. The degree can also serve as a basis for careers in the literary marketplace.

The degree is supported by a department of highly trained specialists in the areas of literature, film, writing, and linguistics. The variety of options in the program enables students to shape their coursework to meet their particular goals.

Program Requirements (30 credits with Thesis; 34 credits with APP or Portfolio)

Current and Upcoming Courses

Students should consult with their advisor about which courses best suit their goals.

Required Courses (9-10 credits)

Course # Course Title Credits
Theory ENG 625 Composition Theory (3), ENG 516 Film Theory and Criticism (4), or ENG 671 Literary Theory and Criticism (3) 3-4
ENG 651 Bibliography and Research 3
ENG 606
ENG 607
British Literary History and Criticism OR American Literary History and Criticism 3

Seminars (6 credits)

Course # Course Title Credits
ENG 603 Selected Authors 3
ENG 605 Shakespeare 3
ENG 608 British Literature to 1800 3
ENG 609 British Literature after 1800 3
ENG 610 American Literature to 1865 3
ENG 611 American Literature after 1865 3
ENG 612 Gender in Literature 3
ENG 618 Multicultural Literature 3
ENG 635 World Literature 3
ENG 661 Topics in Children's and Young Adult Literature 2-3

Electives (10-18 credits)

Choose 10-18 credits from any 500 or 600-level English courses in consultation with your advisor.

Capstone (1-4 credits)

In consultation with their advisor, students choose from among three Capstone Options:

Course # Course Title Credits
ENG 688 Portfolio 1-2
ENG 694 Alternate Plan Paper 1-2
ENG 699 Thesis, with oral defense 3-4


Students may count no more than six credits of supervised independent work toward their degree programs, including capstone credits. These credits are: ENG 670 (Independent Writing), ENG 677 (Individual Study), ENG 688 (Portfolio), ENG 694 (Alternate Plan Paper), ENG 698 (Internship), ENG 699 (Thesis).

Admission Requirements

Entrance requirements include a minimum of 30 semester hours earned in language, literature, or related courses. 20 credits should have been earned in upper-division courses. It is highly recommended that students have at least one course in a literary figure and one in upper-division linguistics. The GRE is not required as part of the admissions material for this program. Candidates whose native language is not English must have a TOEFL score of 600 or above.

The MA: English Studies program accepts applications year-round and admits students in spring, summer, and fall semesters. Please note, though, that in order to receive full consideration for a teaching assistantship, application materials should be submitted by February 1st for the following fall semester. Please see below for more information about assistantships.

Program Application Materials:

  • Application Form
  • Application Letter
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • 5-10 page analytical writing sample
  • Baccalaureate transcripts
    *International applicants must have their international transcripts evaluated by a recognized evaluative agency.

Program Application Materials should be sent directly to the Graduate Programs Director at the address below.

Applicants must also submit an application form, fee, and official transcripts to the College of Graduate Studies. Apply to the College of Graduate Studies.

Financial Assistance and Teaching Assistantships

The Department of English employs about 30 teaching and research assistants at stipends of approximately $9000 over two semesters. Assistants receive full tuition remission for up to 18 credits over the academic year (two semesters). All graduate assistants are required to enroll for a minimum of six credits per semester. Assistants are provided office space and have faculty library privileges.

Teaching Assistants in the English Department typically teach freshman composition. The TA Director provides a supportive atmosphere in which assistants learn composition theory and pedagogy. In addition, assistants are trained in the latest methods of computer-assisted writing instruction. For more information, including position announcements and deadlines, visit the English Graduate Assistantships web page.

Applicants interested in applying for either a teaching or research assistantship in the Department of English must submit the following materials:

  • Application letter (please indicate in your application letter if you wish to be considered for more than one assistantship)
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation (your admission recommendation letters may be used)
  • 5-10 page analytical writing sample (teaching assistantship only)

Please submit the Assistantship Application materials directly to the Graduate Programs Director at the address below.

Other assistantships are available from Student Affairs, Learning Center, Memorial Library, and Residential Life offices of the University. Visit Human Resources for a list of other graduate assistantships.

For information about other types of financial assistance, students should contact:

Office of Financial Aid
Minnesota State University, Mankato
120 Wigley Administration Center
Mankato, MN 56001
Telephone: (507) 389-1866
Web site:

Tips for Applying for an English Teaching Assistantship

Students applying for TA positions teaching Composition should include a letter of application (see description below) and an academic/professional writing sample that demonstrates skill in research writing (see Screening Criteria below). Applicants should ask their recommenders to speak to their likely ability to teach composition in their recommendation letters.

Letter of Application Description

The letter of application helps us envision you as a teacher of composition. It should explicitly address the following:

  • the applicant’s interest in teaching composition (might include previous teaching, tutoring, or mentoring experiences in writing or in other areas. Note: previous experience of this sort is not a requirement for applying.)
  • the applicant’s experience and background in writing (what he/she has learned or observed about the challenges of writing in his/her undergraduate career; any other professional experience in writing)
  • ability to work harmoniously with others (including other TAs and faculty but especially students who will be diverse in age, ethnicity, academic ability, learning styles, and language proficiency)
  • ability and interest in using technology in the classroom (English 101 is taught wholly in computer classrooms)

Writing Sample Description

English 101 is a four-credit course that teaches writing skills relevant to academic, public and professional writing situations. In the course, students write to explore, inform, argue, and analyze, through writing assignments that go through an extended writing cycle. Students brainstorm, draft, receive teacher and peer feedback, revise, and edit their work.
Most formal writing assignments given in the course are source-based. Students read challenging texts in a range of genres and practice synthesizing the authors’ ideas in their writing. Students also hone their research writing skills: learning to assess the credibility and relevance of academic and non-academic sources is an important focus. Therefore we require an academic writing sample (5-10 pages, double-spaced) of applicants.

Writing Sample Criteria

Structure and development

Orients the reader with a controlling idea
Organizes ideas logically and develops them fully
Unifies and focuses paragraphs
Crafts an introduction and conclusion appropriate for an academic writing situation


Uses sources that are credible (as determined by such criteria as currency, authority, and non-bias) and that advance his/her purpose

When using sources:
Accurately rephrases passages or central ideas
Quotes discriminately
Integrates sources throughout the text by introducing them and following them up with explanation/analysis
Adheres to MLA or APA or Chicago Manual of Style citation conventions

Sentence-level correctness

Demonstrates strong technical skills in areas such as grammar, syntax, spelling, and punctuation


Graduate students in the English Studies Option are encouraged to pursue internships for which they can receive course credit. A student's career goals determine the shape of the internship. For example, students could choose to perform an internship by participating in the preparation and teaching of an undergraduate English course with a supervising professor. Students could also serve as an intern in editing and publishing with a local press. Students will choose the nature and scope of their internship in consultation with their advisor.

Department of English Graduate Program Director

If you do not find answers to your questions on this web page, or if you need more information about the English Department graduate programs at the Minnesota State University, Mankato, please contact the English Graduate Programs Director:

Professor Nancy Drescher
Director of English Graduate Studies
Department of English
Minnesota State University, Mankato
230 Armstrong Hall
Mankato, MN 56001
Telephone: (507) 389-5504