Planning your Master's Degree

Southern student speaking at 2019 Literature and Social Justice Graduate Symposium


Getting Started on the Master’s Degree

Upon admission to the English graduate program, you’ll meet with the Graduate Coordinator or MFA director to design a personalized planned program of study, based on your academic and career goals. You have the option to attend full-time (9 credits per semester) or part-time (3-6 credits per semester). Full-time students typically finish the Master’s degree in 1 ½ to 2 years; part-time students take anywhere from 2 ½ to 4 years.  

For M.A. or M.S. students, the first course you’ll register for is ENG 517 Research Methods, which will give you a grounding in how to write, do research, and read literary criticism at the graduate level. You can monitor the rest of your own progress throughout your coursework using Degree Evaluation in Banner. 

Coursework and Making Progress 

Each fall, spring, and summer, we offer 6-8 graduate courses in English research and theory, British, American, or global literature, poetry and fiction writing, and advanced special topics, from new courses on Trans-Atlantic Speculative Fiction to seminars on Thomas Pynchon or poetic theory.

This array of courses is designed to help you complete the degree at your own pace, and to deepen your work in English studies, developing your own voice as a researcher and thinker in the process. With the exception of summer courses, all classes meet evenings at 5:00 PM or 7:35 PM in the English seminar rooms in Engleman Hall.  

What’s the best way to make progress toward the degree during your coursework?

  • Stay in regular touch with the English Graduate Coordinator each semester about your coursework, including any changes to your full- or part-time status 

  • Develop relationships with English faculty mentors and explore some of the  other avenues for advancing your graduate coursework, like teaching internships, research fellowships, independent studies, etc. 

  • Plan ahead early for the graduate capstone, whether you plan to complete the Master’s Exam or Thesis 

  • Register early for English graduate courses in Banner as soon as they become available for the spring and fall

  • Check the English Graduate Handbook for program requirements, like grade standards or what happens when you need to take a leave of absence

Beyond the Graduate Classroom 

Photo of English MA, MS, and MFA students at 2019 Graduate Commencement


Beyond your evening classes, there are many ways to get involved in the English Graduate program, whether you are pursuing your degree part-time on top of your career or want to be actively involved weekly and daily life of the English Department.