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Master of Arts in English

Cleveland State University's Master of Arts in English emphasizes research and the application of various critical approaches to problems in literature and composition. This program provides graduate students with course work in practical criticism, electives in literature and linguistics, and opportunities for the study of composition theory and the practice of teaching writing to beginning students. There are thesis and portfolio courses of study available for students. 

The program is designed to meet the needs of part-time and full-time students. Core courses and graduate seminars are offered in the evenings. Students are advised to take their core-course requirements during their first two semesters of graduate study. A departmental Committee on Graduate Studies, chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies, governs the Master of Arts program in English. The Committee on Graduate Studies administers admission of new students, appointment of graduate assistants, selection of Andrews Award winners, student petitions, and policy issues concerning the Master of Arts curriculum. 

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College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
Phone: 216.687.3951

Admission Requirements

  • Application Form
  • Application Fee
  • Undergraduate Transcripts
    • Minimum 2.75 Undergraduate GPA with minimum 3.0 GPA in English courses
  • Academic Writing Samples
    • Between ten and twenty pages of work submitted from prior courses; a term paper from an advanced English course is ideal)
  • An applicant whose undergraduate major was in a field other than English may be required to take a certain number of undergraduate English courses as a condition for admission to the M.A. progra

-International students are required to have met at least one of the following English language proficiency requirements:

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based): 78 (including at least 20 in reading, 21 in listening, 17 in writing, and 20 in speaking)
  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-Based): 550
  • IELTS: 6.0 and at least 5.0 in each section
  • PTE (Pearson’s Test of English): 50
  • iTEP: 5.0

Admission Deadlines

All applications must be submitted and complete on the following application deadline dates:

  • Domestic Students
    • Rolling
  • International Students
    • Fall Semester – May 15th
    • Spring Semester – October 15h
    • Summer Semester – March 15th


Program Requirements

  • ENG 600 - Literary Analysis
  • ENG 601 - Critical Approaches to Literature
  • ENG 695 - Graduate Seminar 

(Thesis-track students take four times with change of subject. Portfolio-track       students take six times with change of subject.)

  • Courses numbered ENG 506 and higher.

(Thesis-track students take nine credit hours. Portfolio-track students take 12 credit hours.)



  • ENG 699 - Thesis
  • ENG 698 - Pre-thesis Colloquium
  • ENG 698 may be substituted for 3 credits of ENG 699

To earn these credits, the student must prepare an acceptable master's thesis of 30 to 50 pages, written under the direction of two English graduate faculty members. Students should submit a thesis proposal approved by two English graduate faculty members after completing 18 credits of graduate work in the program.


A student pursuing the Portfolio option must submit a "Degree Completion Plan" to the English Department's Director of Graduate Studies promptly after completing 18 credit hours in the program. Candidates for the portfolio option should submit a portfolio of their best writing from advanced English MA classes (typically four final seminar papers from 695 seminars) to the English Department's Graduate Committee no later than the 10th week of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. A committee of graduate faculty from the English Department will evaluate student portfolio and render a final decision on its acceptability.

Did You Know?

The median annual wage for writers and authors was $62,170 in May 2018.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Outcomes

  • Students who are pursuing the MA in English as a means of enhancing their teaching careers will be well served by either the thesis or portfolio options for completing the degree.
  • Students who are taking the MA as preparation for doctoral study in English should select the thesis option, should take as many research seminars (ENG 695) as possible, and should take ENG 506 - Composition Theory in order to enhance their eligibility for doctoral teaching assistantships at other universities. This course of study also is recommended for students who are preparing for careers teaching writing or administering writing centers in community colleges and schools.
  • Students can go on to find employment as freelance writers, teachers, editors, librarians, public relations managers, advertising mangers, and more.
  • These are some of the local companies that are hiring CSU grads: Jones Day, Tegna, ProEd Communications, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland Public Schools, WKYC, and Great Lakes Publishing Company.