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Department of English

Graduate Studies in English

The M.A. Program

The M.A. degree in English is awarded in one of five tracks, each of which can be completed in 30 to 33 hours. All tracks include a literature core (9 hours); courses in the chosen track (9 hours); electives (9 hours); a seminar (3 hours); foreign language certification (or equivalent research tool); a final writing project or thesis; and a final oral examination, a defense and discussion of the writing project or thesis.  Full-time students typically finish the degree in two years.

Many students in full-time employment have also successfully completed the degree part-time. In addition to late afternoon and evening classes offered in the fall and spring semester, the Department of English also typically offers six-week graduate courses in the summer, which may be particularly attractive to high school teachers seeking to acquire either an M.A. degree or additional graduate credits for professional development. 

The Five M.A. Tracks

  • Literature  Concentration in this track allows students to emphasize literature in any time period, with individual guidance from specialized experts.  
  • Children's Literature  Concentration in this track is on children's literature and adolescent literature.
  • Creative Writing and Literature  Concentration in this track is on the student's creative work in drama, fiction, nonfiction, or poetry; the student will work closely with graduate faculty well-published in the genre the student chooses to emphasize.  
  • Cultural Studies and Literature  Concentration in this track is on the theoretical bases for examining cultural texts and contexts. Study may encompass both literary and nonliterary areas, such as politics, sociology, and political economy.  
  • Composition, Rhetoric and Literature  Concentration in this track is on language, composition, and rhetorical theory. In addition to preparing students for future Ph.D. work, the track provides professional training as preparation for teaching in community and junior colleges.

Graduate Certificate Program

The Department of English is also home to a Graduate Certificate program that offers students an interdisciplinary focus on communication in non-academic professions, particularly business, government, high technology industries, and the non-profit sector.

 The faculty were exceptional. I liked the diversity of teaching practices and styles. I felt at home in the department. I also enjoyed representing the department in the classroom. I think teaching within the department fosters a greater sense of community among the graduate students. When I look back on my time as a KSU graduate student in English, I cherish the thought that I spent three years of my life reading, thinking and talking about literature.

-- Jana Zaudke (M.A. 1995), Kansas City, Missouri

graduate students

The Department

Intellectual community makes Kansas State's English Department a remarkable place to do graduate work. Because approximately 50 M.A. students are supervised by about 30 graduate faculty, students can expect individual attention and small classes. In the past five years, the graduate faculty have published nearly two dozen books as well as articles, reviews, poems, essays, and stories in more than 100 journals and anthologies. The Program is carefully structured but individually flexible, fostering close work between faculty and students, encouraging creativity, and promoting innovative scholarship. New graduate students quickly become part of a community of graduate students and faculty who are accessible, engaged, and enthusiastic. Committed to the principle that good teaching and good research synergistically promote each other, the department encourages graduate students to become resourceful scholars, articulate writers, and outstanding teachers.

Our graduate students come from a variety of backgrounds: some have B.A.s in English, others have different degrees and majors, some have recently completed undergraduate work, others are returning students, some are from the Midwest, many are not, and so on. After completing their M.A. Degrees, our graduate students pursue a variety of different options. Some go on to earn advanced degrees: law school, M.F.A. Programs, Ph.D. Programs in linguistics, literature, cultural studies, American and African American studies, Women's Studies, public policy, and rhetoric among others. Others begin careers in technical and professional writing, community service, public school teaching, arts administration, community college teaching, publishing and editing, journalism, and business.

The M.A. program is enriched by an active and diverse visiting writers program, lectures by visiting scholars, an annual symposium in cultural studies, a departmental colloquium, and other special events, such as recent residencies of Shakespearean actors from Britain.

Graduate students may participate in the production of Touchstone, a student-edited journal of creative work by students from colleges and universities across the country.

Deborah Murray and studentThe University

As the country's first land-grant university, founded in 1863, Kansas State offers a rich diversity of programs involving a distinguished graduate faculty who are renowned for their dedication to the education of students. K-State enrolls over 22,500 students of which nearly 4,000 pursue master's degrees in 64 fields and doctorates in 45. The campus is nestled in the heart of Manhattan, a city of 45,000, located two hours west of Kansas City in a tree-filled valley amid the unique geography of the dramatically rolling Flint Hills. The Department of English is housed conveniently next to Hale Library, which has holdings of more than 1.6 million volumes, and is only a short walking distance from the Marianna Kistler Beach Art Museum.

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