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Department of English

Possible Reasons / Program Options

  • You need more time to decide on a career; you want to wait out a soft job market; you enjoy being a student.
    • Best Match: An M.A. (Master of Arts) Program.
  • You are interested in broadening and deepening your understanding of English literature, or pursuing a specific area of interest, for personal intellectual enrichment.
    • Best Match: An M.A. Program. An M.A. program in English can also function as a stepping stone into a Ph.D. program.
  • You are interested in teaching English K-12 or possibly at a community college, junior college, or prep school.
    • Best Match: An M.A. program that emphasizes teaching; perhaps an MATW (Master of Arts in the Teaching of Writing) or MATE (Master of Arts in the Teaching of English) program.
  • You are a creative writer, interested in teaching creative writing and/or perfecting your art.
    • Best Match: An M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts) program. But note that if you may someday want to enter a Ph.D. program in English, it is better to get an M.A. Ph.D.; admissions committees sometimes do not look favorably on M.F.A.'s.
  • You are interested in becoming a librarian.
    • Best Match: Master of Library Science (MLS) or Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS). Look for a program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA).
  • You are interested in teaching English as a second language.
    • Best Match: An MATESL (Master of Arts in the Teaching of English as a Second Language) program. (Also note that you can probably find a position abroad without a master's degree.)
  • You are interested in a career in editing or publishing.
    • Best Match: Probably a summer institute in editing and publishing. A master's degree may also be helpful, but look for a program that would give you a chance to learn how to work with electronic texts and use web software.
  • You are primarily interested in rhetoric and composition, theater, film, comparative literature, classics, interdisciplinary studies, or some other variation of English studies.
    • Best Match: A graduate program that specifically targets your area of interests. A "garden variety" graduate program in English is not a good choice for you.
  • You have a strong interest in embarking on an academic career in English.
    • Best Match: Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) in English. While some English Ph.D.'s find jobs outside academia, most Ph.D. programs focus strongly on preparing students to be English professors.
In all cases: if you have a specific career path in mind, talk to people who have the job you want, and ask them how best to qualify yourself for such a position.