The Graduate Program in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers the M.A. for students interested in Literary and Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, and Composition and Rhetoric. In recent years, students who graduated with a Masters Degree 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, Penn State, U Pennsylvania, 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, Penn State, U Pennsylvania, and U Minnesota.

Program Details

The M.A. in English is generally a two-year degree. M.A. students take course work in a variety of areas of English Studies and develop expertise within one or more areas. For detailed information, please download the M.A. Handbook.

There are two options by which a student may earn the M.A. degree:

Option A

  • 30 hour degree with a thesis (24 hours of course work and 6 hours of thesis) and an oral examination. (See Section V and VII of the M.A. handbook for more on creative and scholarly theses.)
  • At least 8 credit hours, excluding the thesis, must be taken in graduate-only (900-level) courses.
  • At least one-half of the credit hours required for the degree, including the thesis, must be taken in the English Department.
  • May include a minor of at least 9 credit hours selected from and approved by the minor department or interdisciplinary area (See Section IV of the M.A. handbook for more information).

Option B

  • 36-hour degree with an oral examination but without a thesis.
  • At least 15 credit hours must be taken in graduate-only (900-level) courses.
  • At least one-half of the credit hours required for the degree must be taken in the English Department.
  • May include a minor of at least 9 credit hours selected from and approved by the minor department or interdisciplinary area (See Section IV of the M.A. handbook for more information).

M.A. in Creative Writing

M.A. students in Creative Writing follow the same area requirements as other M.A. 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.

M.A. 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 M.A. with a Concentration in the Teaching of English. The Concentration in the Teaching of English may be completed through Option A (Thesis Option) or B (Non-Thesis Option). However, instead of completing the area requirements for MA students, students pursuing an M.A. with a Concentration in the Teaching of English must complete 9-12 hours through three courses focused on teaching English. (See Section VI of the M.A. handbook for more information.)

Interdisciplinary Certificates

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, Nineteenth-Century Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. Additionally, we offer two graduate certificates: one in Teaching of Writing and one in Digital Humanities.

Financial Aid Deadline

December 1 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, access to health insurance benefits, and a competitive stipend.

Apply

Teaching & Assistantships

Department Assistantships

Students admitted into the M.A. 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, or the Creative Writing Program, 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 M.A. or Ph.D. 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 M.A. funding is a Teaching Assistantship. Students teach 2 sections of first-year composition each semester. We support new TAs with a required week-long teaching workshop the week before classes begin, and a seminar in Composition Theory and Practice during the fall semester.

Assistantship Package

For 2020-2021, the stipend for Research Assistants was $13,155 plus tuition remission (either out-of-state or in-state) for 12 hours each semester and 6 hours in the summer. For 2020-2021, the stipend for Teaching Assistants was $17,640 plus tuition remission (either out-of-state or in-state) for the regular academic year and summer. The assistantships cover a large portion of the student health insurance premium, but do not cover books and student fees. We expect our 2021-2022 stipends to be at these levels with possibilities for slight increases.

Research Assistantship sponsored by the Cather Project and the Cather Archive

The Willa Cather Project and the Willa Cather Archive are pleased to offer one Research Assistantship to an incoming M.A. student in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln each year. This assistantship provides students with full funding for two years—stipend, benefits, and tuition remission—at the same level as other funded M.A. students in the department. Those selected will be welcomed to the collaborative research team behind the digital humanities project, the Willa Cather Archive. Recently, the team has been creating a scholarly edition, The Complete Letters of Willa Cather, and work on this project will continue into at least 2022. The student may also be assigned to duties in support of the work of the Cather Project, the English department unit that produces the Willa Cather Scholarly Edition and Cather Studies and supports research and teaching on Cather.

Applicants who wish to be considered for this Research Assistantship should indicate their interest in their application statement. The successful applicant will have a demonstrated interest in the life and work of Willa Cather and/or a closely related field such as early twentieth century women’s writing, LGBTQ literature, or Western American literature. No prior experience is necessary as extensive training and mentoring will be provided, but we welcome applicants with experience in digital humanities, textual studies, and historical research.

Other Assistantships and Fellowships

Our M.A students have also obtained assistantships that include tuition remission plus a stipend in the Advising Office of the College of Arts and 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. M.A. students are eligible for the following recruitment fellowships: Chancellor's Fellowships, Centennial Fellowships, Pulos Fellowships (awarded to students in nineteenth-century literature), Stuff Fellowships, McPhee Fellowships, and Edgren Tuition Fellowships. M.A. students are also eligible for the Van Sickle Fellowship in creative writing and Stuff Retention Fellowships. In their second year M.A. students are eligible for fellowships through Graduate Studies.

M.A. Program Timeline

General recommendations for the M.A. in English

First Semester Second Semester
First Year
  • Choose Permanent Advisor and Committee Members
  • Choose Program Option
  • File Committee Form by end of semester
File Memorandum of Courses by end of semester
Second Year