Graduate Program Overview

The Graduate Program in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers the MA and PhD for students interested in Literature Studies, Creative Writing, and Composition and Rhetoric. The teaching and research of the award-winning faculty encompasses many areas of English Studies. Competitive assistantships at the MA level give students the opportunity to work with the Prairie Schooner, The Walt Whitman Archive, or the Cather Project, or to assist faculty who are planning national conferences or working on research projects. Teaching Assistantships, which are available to PhD and 2nd-year MA students, give students the opportunity to teach first-year writing and other classes. See Financial Aid section below for more information on assistantships.

In the last four years, students who graduated with a Masters Degree in Literature, Creative Writing, or Composition and Rhetoric from our department subsequently were accepted with fully-funded offers to Ph.D. programs at UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Riverside, University of Southern California, U Wisconsin, U Minnesota, U Illinois, U Oregon, Ohio State U, Brandeis, SUNY Buffalo, Loyola-Chicago, U Utah, Claremont Graduate College, U Kansas, among others; of those, students accepted the offers by U Wisconsin, USC, SUNY Buffalo, Ohio State, and U Minnesota.

MA Program

The MA in English is generally a two-year degree. MA students take course work in a variety of areas of English Studies and develop expertise within one or more areas.

There are three options by which a student may earn the MA degree:

  • Option I: 30 hour degree with a thesis (24 hours of course work and 6 hours of thesis) and an oral examination.
  • Option II: Major in English, minor in another department or interdisciplinary area. Thirty-six hours of coursework, usually consisting of 27 hours in English and 9 credits in the minor, and a written examination in one area of English Studies.
  • Option III: 36 hours of coursework in English and a written examination in one area of English Studies.

For more detailed information, please download the MA Handbook.

MA in Creative Writing

MA students in Creative Writing follow the same area requirements as other MA students, except that they substitute another writing course for one of the areas. Students can choose from courses offered by our nationally recognized faculty in poetry writing, fiction writing, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting. All Creative Writing students write a thesis, guided by three faculty members.

MA with a Concentration in the Teaching of English

Students with established careers in K-12, community college, state college, and liberal arts college English teaching, or who envision careers in such teaching, may elect to complete an MA with a Concentration in the Teaching of English. The Concentration in the Teaching of English may be completed through Options I, II, or III. Instead of completing the area requirements, students taking an MA with a Concentration in the Teaching of English complete 9 hours focused on teaching English.

The Department of English also offers interdepartmental graduate certificates at the master's level in the following areas of specialization: Ethnic Studies, Great Plains Studies, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Nineteenth-Century Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies


Financial Aid DEADLINE:

December 9 is the deadline for admission and assistantship consideration for the following academic year (August through May).

There are no additional materials required to apply for departmental assistantships. Simply check the box on the admissions application! All of our assistantships provide tuition remission, health insurance, and a competitive stipend.


Department Assistantships:

Students admitted into the MA program are eligible for up to 2 years of funding. They are not required to teach their first year, but are normally awarded Research Assistantships which give them the opportunity to work with the Prairie Schooner, the Walt Whitman Archive, the Creative Writing Program, or the Cather Project, or to assist faculty on their research, plan national conferences, or arrange visits by nationally known writers. We also offer an Advising Center assistantship, which gives one MA or PhD student the opportunity to work in the department’s undergraduate advising office. As much as possible, we match up students with professors and projects according to their interests in making these assignments. The second year of MA funding is a Teaching Assistantship. Students teach 2 sections of first-year composition each semester. We support new TAs with a required weeklong teaching workshop the week before classes begin, and a seminar in Composition Theory and Practice during the fall semester.

Assistantship Package:

For 2013-2014, the stipend for Research Assistants is $11,400 plus tuition remission (either out-of-state or in-state) for 12 hours each semester and 6 hours in the summer, and health insurance. The RA does not include books or student fees. For 2013-2014, the TA stipend is $16,000 plus tuition remission (either out-of-state or in-state) for the regular academic year and summer. The TA award includes health insurance, but does not cover books and student fees.

Other Assistantships and Fellowships:

Our M.A students have also obtained assistantships which include tuition remission plus a stipend in the Advising Office of the College of Arts & Sciences, Student Involvement, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Ethnic Studies. Still others teach at local colleges. Each year the English Department awards several fellowships to graduate students. MA students are eligible for the following recruitment fellowships: Chancellor's Fellowships, Centennial Fellowships, Pulos Fellowships (awarded to students in nineteenth-century British literature), Stuff Fellowships, McPhee Fellowships, and Edgren Tuition Fellowships. MA students are also eligible for the Van Sickle Fellowship in creative writing and Stuff Retention Fellowships. In their second year MA students are eligible for fellowships through Graduate Studies.