Expand Your Horizons with Literary Study

The MA in Literature will hone your skills in literary interpretation and cultural analysis with challenging courses in a wide variety of areas. You will broaden your knowledge of literary history, theory, genres, and cultures as you experience a wide range of literature. In graduate seminars, you will strengthen your skills in critical reading and analytical writing.

Our department emphasizes intellectual daring as well as excellent teaching. Your courses will focus not only on traditional periods and national literatures but also on African, African American, and Asian American literatures; Latin American and other literatures in translation; literary theory; feminist theory; and cinema. Throughout the program, you will be challenged with innovative modes of interpretation and analysis.

This flexible, highly customizable program offers opportunities for independent study and four areas of concentration to help you tailor your degree to your interests and goals. You can pursue scholarly research, teach undergraduate students, or engage in an internship with one of DC's literary institutions. By keeping enrollment low, we promote a close intellectual community, provide small classes with high levels of student-faculty interchange, and ensure that you receive faculty mentorship throughout the program.

A Degree Of Flexibility

Our MA is a flexible program in which you will create a course of study from a diverse selection of course offerings. We offer four concentrations, allowing students to tailor their course of study to pursue their intellectual interests and career goals.

With the largest number of literature courses, the general concentration is the most flexible option. The pre-doctoral concentration, which includes literary theory and emphasizes high-level courses and scholarly writing, is ideal for students who intend to continue their studies in a PhD program. Those interested in teaching high school or college writing should pursue the teaching concentration, which provides training in the teaching of composition and the opportunity to design and teach courses as an adjunct instructor. The interdisciplinary concentration allows students to take courses in another discipline as part of their MA program.

Full-time students complete the 36-credit program in two years. Part-time study and evening classes are available.

World-Class Scholars And Writers

Our professors are known for their scholarly achievements, academic productivity, and collaborative activities with other faculty and graduate students. As a result, there is an exciting atmosphere of learning and discovery in the department. Our faculty members are widely published, and they regularly present scholarly work at academic and literary conferences. Many have received national recognition for their publications and contributions to the profession. With our their diverse research interests, you are certain to find a faculty expert in your area of concentration.

Establish Yourself In DC

The intellectual, cultural, and professional opportunities available in the DC area make AU the ideal place to study English. The Library of Congress holds extensive collections of texts that provide unique research opportunities. The Folger Shakespeare Library is home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, and AU students can take seminars at the Folger’s Institute for Renaissance and Eighteenth-Century Studies. These and many other cultural institutions are a short metro ride away from the AU campus.

You can gain practical experience, establish important connections, and get a head start on your career with an internship relevant to literature, writing, or editing. Our students have held internships with the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, National Geographic, Georgetown University Press, the White House Press Corps, American University’s Writing Center, and other area institutions.

Explore The Opportunities

Our graduates pursue a wide range of career paths, including doctoral study, teaching, and a variety of professions in college administration, publishing, editing, and writing. Many of our graduates go on to respected PhD programs at prominent universities such as Oxford, Berkeley, Columbia University, the University of Virginia, and Johns Hopkins. Our MAs teach in private secondary schools and overseas. In college settings, we have alumni teaching at Birmingham-Southern College, Loyola University Maryland, the University of Maryland, Southern Methodist University, Northern Virginia Community College, Montana State University, and American University.