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English (M.A.)


Campus:  Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus, Instructions: Residential/On Campus

Program Overview

Virginia Tech’s M.A. in English program focuses on the advanced study of literature and its cultural and historical contexts. Students take 36 hours of coursework in a variety of literary fields and in other related fields/disciplines in accordance with their own goals and interests. Our program has particular strengths in early modern, postcolonial, and African American literature, as well as in the digital humanities. It is also highly interdisciplinary, allowing students to take electives in the Department of English's other graduate programs (M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing). Students can further pursue interdisciplinary coursework through completing a graduate certificate (such as in Africana Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and many other topics). In their second year, students work closely with the program’s award-winning faculty to research and write a capstone project.

Katharine Cleland, Director of Graduate Studies and the M.A. in English Program
Katharine Cleland, Director of Graduate Studies and the M.A. in English Program

Why choose this program?

  • Our program offers electives that cover a broad range of topics, allowing you to personalize your degree to your area of interest while developing a variety of diverse skills which employers desire. 
  • You can tailor your program by selecting from courses in literature, cultural studies, linguistics, critical theory, digital humanities, research methods, and composition.
  • Virginia Tech is a top-notch research institution and the College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences, where English is housed, offers a variety of opportunities which enable students to excel. 
  • Our small program enables students to get individualized attention with award-winning and research-active faculty. 
  • The interdisciplinary approach of the program enables students to interact with students and scholars from other programs as well, in areas such as philosophy, history, africana studies, and sociology. 
  • Our M.A. students engage with students and scholars in our other graduate programs including artists for the MFA in English’s Visiting Writers Series and the speakers and researchers in the Ph.D. Program in Rhetoric and Writing. 

What You'll Study

The M.A. in English requires 36 hours of coursework. All students must take two required courses in Literary Research (ENGL 5014) and Critical Theory (ENGL 5024). Students must also take a course on the theory and practice of university writing instruction (currently listed as ENGL 5454 Studies in Theory, alternatively listed as ENGL 5004). Students must also complete a "Capstone" project. The Capstone Project has a thesis (6 credits) and a non-thesis (3 credits) option. Because work in literature and language is frequently interdisciplinary, students are permitted to take 6 of their credits outside of the department. Students may also work toward a graduate certificate offered by the Virginia Tech Graduate School in a related field. Possible fields include ASPECT (Alliance for Social, Political, and Cultural Thought), Africana Studies, Future Professoriate, Material Culture and Public Humanities, Public History, Race and Social Policy, Religious Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and Women and Gender Studies. 

  • Minimum GPA 3.0 (4 Scale)
  • GRE - Optional  (Currently, the GRE general and subject test are NOT REQUIRED for admission to the Virginia Tech M.A. Program in English)
  • TOEFL/ IELTS score required  (if applicable)

Learn more 

The Department of English has a limited number of graduate assistantships and fellowships available for students applying for full time study on the Blacksburg Campus. Entering students can apply for such funding as part of their admissions application. No separate application required.

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities.


Katharine Cleland, Director of Graduate Studies (MA)
419 Shanks Hall

English (M.A.) Faculty 

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Student Organization

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.

English Club