Dec 02, 2020  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Master of Arts - English


Plan Description


The M.A. program involves course work at the graduate level in British and American literature or in language studies;  a written or oral comprehensive examination; and an optional thesis. Work toward this degree is designed to supplement and complete the student’s undergraduate study of English and to familiarize the student with professional standards, methods of research, and modes of thought in the discipline. Possession of this degree normally leads to advancement in the teaching profession for the secondary school or community college teacher; to careers in writing, publishing and editing; or to further study in English at the doctoral level.

For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes please visit the Degree Directory.

Plan Admission Requirements


Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate College, including holding an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or better from a regionally accredited college or university. In addition, the English department requires a minimum of 21 credits in English courses above the Freshman Composition level.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to speak to the applicant’s qualifications and potential for graduate study in English;
  • A statement of purpose describing the applicant’s areas of interest, reasons for undertaking graduate study in English, relevant experience, and future intellectual and career goals;
  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended;
  • Official scores on the Great Record Examination (GRE) General Test; and
  • A writing sample of 10-20 pages demonstrating the ability to write lucidly and to conduct a sustained reading of one or more literary or cultural texts. Samples are typically either essays originally written for upper-division English courses or excerpts from longer works.



All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.


Accomplished UNLV undergraduates may apply for the Advanced Program Track after completion of 75 credit hours. Students must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for admission to the Advanced Program Track:

  • Minimum of 3.5 GPA in English courses;
  • Department chair or graduate coordinator’s recommendation; and
  • Submission — to the department graduate coordinator — of two letters of recommendation from UNLV faculty, an unofficial transcript, a brief (1-2 page) statement of purpose, and a 10-15 page writing sample (usually an essay or essays written for an upper-division English course or courses). To ensure timely consideration, applicants should submit these materials before registration opens for the semester in which they wish to register for graduate courses.


Until they advance to graduate status, admitted Advanced Track students must submit an Undergraduate Approval to Take a Graduate Level Course Form for each graduate course in which they wish to enroll. To advance to graduate status, students admitted to the Advanced Track must complete 6 credits of graduate-level English coursework in their senior year with a B or better; satisfy all requirements for the BA in English; and apply through the Grad Rebel Gateway, observing required deadlines.

Subplan 1 Requirements: Literature Emphasis Track – Thesis


Total Credits Required: 30

Course Requirements


Required Courses – Credits: 3


Elective Courses – Credits: 3


Students completing the Master’s thesis must complete 3 credits of elective coursework. Elective credits may be in any period or area.

Thesis – Credits: 6


Subplan 2 Requirements: Literature Emphasis Track – Non-Thesis


Total Credits Required: 30

Course Requirements


Required Courses – Credits: 3


Elective Courses – Credits: 9


Students who choose not to complete a thesis must complete 9 credits of elective coursework. Elective credits may be in any period or area.

Subplan 3 Requirements: Language/Composition Theory Track – Thesis


Total Credits Required: 30

Course Requirements


Required Courses – Credits: 3


Complete one of the following courses:

Literature Courses in any Period – Credits: 9


Complete three of the following courses:

Thesis – Credits: 6


Subplan 4 Requirements: Language/Composition Theory Track – Non-Thesis


Total Credits Required: 30

Course Requirements


Required Courses – Credits: 3


Complete one of the following courses:

Literature Courses in any Period – Credits: 9


Complete three of the following courses:

Elective Courses – Credits: 6


Complete two of the following courses:

Subplan 5 Requirements: Advanced Track - Thesis


Total Credits Required: 24

Course Requirements


Required Courses – Credits: 3


Elective Courses – Credits: 15


Complete 15 credits of advisor-approved courses.

Thesis - Credits: 6


Subplan 6 Requirements: Advanced Track - Non-Thesis


Total Credits Required: 24

Course Requirements


Required Courses – Credits: 3


Elective Courses – Credits: 21


Complete 21 credits of advisor-approved courses.

Plan Degree Requirements


No more than a total of 6 credit hours may be selected from 600-level courses.

A comprehensive examination is required of each M.A. student, who will choose either a three-hour written exam or a sixty- to ninety-minute oral exam and prepare a reading list for the examination with the supervision and approval of the advisor and the examination committee. The reading list will comprise at least twenty authors, and the selections should recognize diversity of genre, gender, culture, and period. At least seventeen of those authors should be chosen from the master reading list on the English Department website. Three other authors not on the master list may be added. If taken during the semester of graduation, the exam must be scheduled no later than three weeks before the end of classes The Graduate College designates deadline dates for each semester. See https://www.unlv.edu/graduatecollege

Students must demonstrate competency in the reading of one foreign or computer language. Competency in a foreign language is demonstrated either by passing a translation examination administered by the English Department or by earning a B or better in WLC 198 or in an upper-division or graduate course in the literature of a language, taken within seven years of enrollment. Competency in a computer language is demonstrated by successful completion of an appropriate project supervised by UNLV faculty, with approval of the student’s academic advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

A master’s thesis, which carries six credits, is optional (although recommended) for the literary study emphasis and optional for the language studies emphasis. It is normally written during two consecutive semesters and must conform to the guidelines set forth by the Graduate College in this catalog and in its Thesis and Dissertation Manual.


In consultation with his/her advisor, a student will organize a thesis committee of at least three departmental members. In addition, a fourth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. An additional committee member may be added at the student and department’s discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.


The M.A. thesis should be an original contribution to knowledge about a suitable literary or linguistic subject and comprise 40-75 pages. Thesis projects must be designed, developed, and written in close consultation with an appropriate thesis advisor and with the student’s thesis committee.

Plan Graduation Requirements


  1. The student must submit all required forms to the Graduate College and then apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing his/her degree requirements.
  2. The student must successfully pass the comprehensive exam and submit the Final Exam Results by the posted deadline.
  3. If a thesis is completed, the student must submit and successfully defend his/her thesis by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.
  4. After the thesis defense, the student must electronically submit a properly formatted pdf copy of their thesis to the Graduate College for format check. Once the thesis format has been approved by the Graduate College, the student will submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest. Deadlines for thesis defenses, format check submissions, and the final ProQuest submission can be found here