Craft your degree around your interests by selecting from a wide variety of courses in literature and writing across genres, across cultures, and across the centuries.

As an M.A. student in the Department of English, you will be immersed in American & British literature, modernism, gender studies and so much more. We provide ample opportunities for research, professionalization and conference participation, and our mentorship program helps to set you up for success after graduation. Whether you are on our traditional English track or our Literature & Writing track, you will benefit from our small classes, individual attention from dedicated professors, an energetic and welcoming graduate community and our location in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. You will also benefit from our emphasis on career readiness, which will help you build a bridge from your program to your future career!

Recent graduates from each track have gone on to careers in business, education nonprofits and journalism. Students also continue their education in top ranked law programs and doctoral programs in literature and composition and rhetoric.

Full-time students receive a 25% discount percent on their tuition. Additional funding is available through departmental and university assistantships and teaching fellowships. 

A small number teaching fellowships with full tuition remission and assistantships are available for eligible students who apply by the January 15 deadline. For more information, contact Dr.%20Sarah%20Wright.


Program Information

Our MA in English offers two tracks: traditional English and Literature/Writing. Dive into American & British Literature, Modernism, gender studies, and much more! Expand your literary horizons.



Academic Department




M.A. in English

Program Requirements

If you are interested in pursuing Ph.D. study, in getting further credentials for a teaching career or simply love literature, the English track of the M.A. provides grounding in the methods and theories of literary study and opportunities to read and write across multiple centuries and cultures.


  • Engl 500: Aims and Methods
  • Engl 566: Literary Theory
  • Two courses in earlier literary periods (British literature prior to 1800, American literature prior to 1900 or other designated courses).
  • Two courses in later literary periods (British literature after 1800, American literature after 1900 or other designated courses).
  • Capstone project that can include an M.A. thesis, an expanded paper or two additional courses.

(Note that literature courses must cover at least two different cultures—e.g., American, British, world lit.)

  • A paper that is a substantial development and revision of a seminar paper, or another research-based project to be determined by the student in consultation with a faculty member and approved by the Graduate Committee. 
  • Two additional courses of the student's choosing at the graduate level.
  • With the approval of an advisor, a first reader and the Graduate Studies Committee, a student may write a thesis (6 credits). 

M.A. in Literature & Writing

Program Requirements

Our Literature & Writing track combines a traditional education in English literature with practical and creative writing skills across different media and disciplines. Learn how your critical thinking and writing abilities can translate to a variety of contexts, from magazine writing to digital media, grant writing and beyond. With our flexible, interdisciplinary program, you can develop your writing skills in directions that interest and fulfill you!


  • Engl 500: Aims and Methods
  • Engl 566: Literary Theory OR Engl 568: Theories of Composition
  • One literature course in an earlier period (British literature prior to 1800, American literature prior to 1900 or other designated courses)
  • One literature course from a later period (British literature after 1800, American literature after 1900 or other designated courses.
  • One additional literature course.
  • Two courses on writing, composition theory or teaching writing in the English department.
  • Any two writing, writing theory, or teaching of writing courses in the department OR courses in writing from across campus (including grant writing, media writing and environmental writing)
  • Capstone: an internship, portfolio independent study or two additional courses

(Note that literature courses must cover at least two different cultures—e.g., American, British, world lit.)

  • Any writing, writing theory or teaching of writing courses in the department
  • Any writing, writing theory or teaching of writing courses in the department OR courses in environmental writing, grant writing, media writing, etc. from across campus.


Requirement may be met by one of the following:

  • An internship
  • A writing portfolio independent study
  • 2 additional courses (in or outside the department) 


Early Ph.D. Admissions Process

For Duquesne English M.A. Students

The early admissions process allows English M.A. students who show exceptional promise in their first year to seek early admission to the Ph.D. program. You will learn in your third semester if you are accepted early and will become a Duquesne Ph.D. candidate the first fall following the successful completion of your MA.

Early admission to the Ph.D. program allows you to plan your final year of the M.A. in a way that better positions you for starting Ph.D. work and eliminates the stress of applying to multiple Ph.D. programs in the fall of the second year.

Application Requirements

Students must submit a completed online application, including an updated resume.

Official transcript(s) recording all baccalaureate work, along with degree, from an accredited undergraduate college or university. If you are currently taking classes, please submit your transcript once grades have been posted.

Letters of recommendation from three persons familiar with the applicant's academic studies or, in some cases, work experience. (Note: The department does not contact recommenders. Letters should be submitted through the University's online system.)

A brief (1-2 page) statement of the applicant's purpose in seeking the Master of Arts degree.

A sample of the applicant's academic writing (normally a critical paper written for an English course, 10-20 pages).

An official score report indicating satisfactory performance on TOEFL examination (applicable to international students only).

English Graduate Organization

The English Graduate Organization (EGO) is a professional, social, and organizing body in the English department facilitated by and for graduate students. The organization works to keep English graduate students informed about matters related to graduate life and coordinates a number of activities to foster a collaborative, collegial, and intellectually engaging atmosphere within the department.


English graduate students are active at regional, national, and international conferences. In addition to helping graduate students find, apply to, and gain funding for conferences, EGO members also organize their own biennial conference and volunteer at international conferences hosted in Pittsburgh.

Past EGO graduate conferences and symposia include "Access: (Re)defining Mobility and Disability" (Spring 2015), "(anti)Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Conference" (Spring 2013), "Echoes: Across Disciplines, Texts, and Times" (Spring 2011), "[un]disciplined: Examining Contemporary Models for Interdisciplinary Studies," and "Other Voices, Other's Words: The Indeterminacy of Allusion." Planning for our 2017 conference is underway.

Members of EGO also helped to organize "Lifting Belly High: A Conference on Women's Poetry Since 1900," hosted by the English Department in Fall 2008. EGO members volunteered at the 2014 Modernist Studies Association Annual Conference in downtown Pittsburgh and look forward to the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and Novel Studies conferences in Spring 2016.


EGO coordinates the department's Colloquia Series, a monthly event which provides an opportunity for graduate students and faculty to present their work to the English Department and gain feedback, often before presenting at a conference or while revising for publication. For information about our recent and upcoming Colloquia, please see the department's News and Events page.

Workshops, Mentorship & Social Activities

EGO sponsors events throughout the semester to help students through the challenges of graduate school, the academic and non/alt-ac job markets, and beyond. Events change every semester based on the needs of the current graduate student body and often feature advice from graduate peers, faculty, and alumni. Recent events include a workshop on academic networking and a Saturday writing retreat. EGO meetings also feature speakers from outside of our department to foster well-being in our graduate student population.

To help new students transition into life at Duquesne and/or in Pittsburgh, EGO pairs interested incoming students with graduate student mentors. These mentors are all current students in the department, and they have volunteered to act as go-tos who can field any questions and concerns. Mentors and mentees typically meet a few times over the course of the semester.

EGO also makes arrangements for department social events throughout the semester that are attended by full-time faculty, adjunct instructors, graduate students, and their friends and families.