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School of Arts, Sciences, and Business

Master of Arts in English Literature



The master’s degree in English at Notre Dame of Maryland University is a 30-credit comprehensive curriculum designed both to provide students with the content and methodologies requisite to becoming better teachers of English at the secondary level and to prepare students for doctoral-level work in English.


The courses focus on breadth of content, providing broad surveys of English, American, and world literature while also requiring a depth of knowledge in literary research, history, and interpretation. Students will hone their critical thinking and writing skills as they master the concepts and theories central to the study of literature. The program is distinctive in its emphasis on issues of gender: Notre Dame’s mission focuses on women’s ability to transform the world through education, and all courses in this program teach literature by women and address issues of women in literature.

The program is designed primarily for working adults who choose to pursue the degree part-time. Courses are offered in a sequence, with one course taught per semester (one evening weekly in fall and spring and two evenings weekly during each of the two summer sessions), providing for completion of coursework and comprehensive exams within three years. All courses are strictly capped at 20 students.

Program of Study

The course of study for the Master of Arts in English Literature requires ten courses (3 credits each) in literary research methods, literary theory, literary movements, and topics seminars. Students must take the two required core courses in research and theory, which will provide students with the skills needed to do graduate-level work in reading and writing literacy criticism. Students may transfer in up to two graduate seminars from another accredited English graduate program, at the discretion of the English Graduate Council.

The program culminates in a comprehensive exam, which students will take at the end of their coursework.  A reading list will be provided.  The exam may be taken only twice, and the student must pass it in order to earn the master's degree.

Application Requirements

To apply students must have a bachelor's degree in English from an accredited institution or a BA in a related field.