Tailor your program by selecting from courses in literature, cultural studies, linguistics, critical theory, digital humanities, research methods, and composition.

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What Is a Master's in English?

A master's degree prepares students for doctoral work, or careers in teaching, higher education, and management. It introduces students to a range of periods, genres, and movements in literature, as well as modes of composition, standards in professional writing, and groundbreaking work in the digital humanities. 

Why Study English Here?

Our program includes 6 hours of coursework in methodology, providing a foundation for the individual research required for the thesis capstone and analytical skills needed for non-thesis projects. The program also offers electives that cover a broad range of topics, allowing you to personalize your degree to your area of interest. 


Steps to Apply

Steps to Apply

Application Deadline: February 1

Start Your Application

  • Complete the online Application for Graduate Admission:
    • select English from the alphabetical list of degree programs
    • upload a personal statement of academic and professional goals
    • upload required writing sample
    • submit the names and contact information of three individuals who will provide letters of recommendation
    • upload resume/CV
    • pay applicaiton fee ($75)
  • Submit transcripts from all colleges or universities where you completed undergraduate or graduate coursework or degrees
  • Send GRE scores: our code is #005859
  • Send TOEFL scores (for applicants who are not native speakers of English)


Graduate Assistantships

Details about Assistantships

Students must be enrolled full time in the graduate degree program to qualify for a position. Most positions are offered to entering students.

A full-time position requires 20 hours of work per week, usually fulfilled by teaching two sections of an undergraduate writing course each semester.  Appointments as program assistants, to the Writing Center, or in technical support are also available.  

The positions require enrollment in 12 hours of graduate credit each semester. 

Duration of Funding

Contracts are for one year, with renewal depending on progress in the degree program and satisfactory performance of assistantship duties.


Benefits of Assistantships

Assistantships provide these benefits:

  • tuition waiver
  • stipend
  • health insurance program (see the Graduate School benefits page for details)


You can find details on benefits and fees under "financial matters" at the Graduate School website: www.grads.vt.edu.

Graduate teaching assistants receive a stipend for teaching undergraduate courses, usually composition, and graduate research assistants receive a stipend for collecting and analyzing data for research projects. 

Students pay non-academic fees, which estimated at $400 per semester. Students are advised to apply for Virginia residency as soon as possible (after one year in residence). 


Applying for Funding

A question on the application for graduate admission asks whether you want to be considered for a teaching assistantship. If you check yes, you will automatically be added to our list of candidates. All new positions begin in the fall semester.

Travel Support

The Graduate School and Department of English support graduate students traveling to professional conferences to present research or to sites to conduct research. Students must apply for the funds in advance and early applicants have the best chances of support before funds are depleted. We ask students to seek funding through the Graduate Student Assembly as a condition for receiving department funds.

Graduate Student Assembly Travel Fund

This program provides graduate students with funding for travel, accommodation, registration, and meal expenses associated with the presentation of their research at professional conferences, symposia and other similar events. Application deadlines are generally in October and March. For more information, visit the Graduate Student Assembly website.

Department of English Travel Support

We will support up to $350 per person per year for participation in a professional conference such as reading a paper, presenting a poster, chairing a session, a reading of one's creative work. The funds may also be used to conduct research related to your thesis or dissertation.

Applying for travel and reimbursement is a three-step process.

  1. Submit a travel request form, budget, and evidence that the paper or poster has been accepted to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.
  2. Submit a travel reimbursement form to Judy Grady within 30 days of returning.


The department seeks evidence that you have applied for GSA funding as a condition of providing department support.

English Graduate Student Organization

The English Graduate Student Organization is a professional and social organization for our graduate students. We host a number of annual events including book fairs, a graduate student conference, and social outings. You will receive regular invites to the meetings and functions.

Beyond the Classroom


We offer travel support and graduate assistantships. Students with assistantships recieve monthly stipends in exchange for assisting faculty in teaching or research and have the full cost of their tuition covered. 


Our diverse faculty will work closely with you to design a program that fits your needs. We have particular strengths in literature and writing.


In addition to the M.A. in English, we offer a Ph.D. in rhetoric and writing and an M.F.A. in creative writing.

Finishing with Options

Our programs have been successful in placing students in publishing, teaching, and management positions, as well as preparing students to attend prominent Ph.D. programs nationwide.

Thesis English
Writing Your Thesis

Spend several semesters developing an in-depth, original research project that demonstrates your expertise in a chosen area.

Graduate School VT
Graduate School

Learn more about living and studying in Blacksburg as a graduate student.

English Graduate Student Organization
English Graduate Student Organization

Become a member of the professional and social organization that hosts a number of annual events including book fairs, a graduate student conference, and social outings. 

Contact Us

Program Inquiries: 

Dr. Charlene Eska
Director of Graduate Studies
312 Shanks Hall
(540) 231-2374

Application Inquiries:

Sarah Helwig
Graduate Programs Coordinator
310 Shanks Hall
(540) 231-4659

Department of English 

Shanks 323 (0112)
181 Turner Street NW
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061