Degree Programs:

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of English and Language Studies

Master of Arts in English - Online Collaborative

The IU Online Master of Arts in English provides broad training in the primary areas of English studies. 

As a student in the program, you explore the core principles of writing and literature pedagogy, the linguistic structure and history of English literature, and a wide variety of reading strategies associated with genre and close reading. You gain skills and knowledge to conduct archival research, develop analytical and presentation skills through the focused study of literature in a seminar format, and acquire an appreciation of current trends in the field of digital humanities.  

Specific areas of focus include:

  • Linguistic structures and history of the English language
  • Reading strategies and literary practices, such as close reading, analysis of style, form and genre, and rhetorical practices
  • Approaches to composition and writing instruction, including the identification and evaluation of sources, use of evidence, generation of ideas, and the development and organization of argument
  • Fostering discussion and developing presentation skills in a seminar setting
  • Developing archival research skills and facility with electronic resources
  • Developments, trends, and frontiers in the digital humanities

The MA in English has a two-part "stackable" structure. 

  • You first complete an online, 18-20 credit hour graduate certificate in literature, composition studies, communication studies, or language and literature. The certificate allows you to acquire specialized knowledge.
  • After you successfully complete one of the certificates, you take an additional 16 credits of master's-level coursework that extends the breadth and depth of your knowledge.

Of Special Interest for Dual-Credit and Community College Instructors Needing to Meet HLC Standards

The stackable structure of the MA in English is ideal for dual-credit and community college teachers who need to meet the Higher Learning Commission's instructor qualification standards. These standards require teachers to hold either a master's degree in their area of instruction or a master's degree in another discipline plus at least 18 credit hours of discipline-specific graduate coursework.

  • If you hold a master's degree in a discipline other than your discipline of instruction, you can meet HLC's standards by completing one of the online certificates.
  • If you need both discipline-specific coursework and a master's degree, the MA in English meets HLC standards and provides a comprehensive program of study in English.

Your IU Online MA in English prepares you for such careers as:

  • High school dual-credit English teacher
  • High school dual-credit literature teacher
  • Community college instructor
  • Other professions that value critical analysis, strong communication skills, and clarity of expression

This 100 percent online, consortial program is taught by IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. This consortial model allows you to take coursework from several campuses and learn from a wide range of faculty.

Degree Requirements

To earn the MA in English, you must complete a total of 36 credit hours. 

Requirements are broken down as follows:

  • English graduate certificate (20 cr.)
  • MA core courses (8 cr.)
  • MA elective courses (8 cr.)

 See courses that are being offered this semester.


To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. Successfully completed one of the four graduate certificates: Composition Studies, Communication Studies, Language and Literature, or Literature.
  2. You must complete at least three courses in one of the certificate programs with a 3.5 or higher GPA before you may transition into the MA in English.

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

Complete an online application that includes:

  1. 250-word personal statement explaining background and reasons for entering the program
  2. Two letters of recommendation

Core Courses

English Graduate Certificate (20 cr.)

You must complete one of the following IU Online English graduate certificates: literature, literature and language, or composition studies.

Core Skills and Methods of Advanced Literary Study (8 cr.) (choose 2)

  • ENG-G S00 Introduction to the English Language
  • ENG-L 506 Intro to Methods of Criticism and Research
  • ENG-L 646 Readings in Media/Literature/Culture
  • ENG-W 509 Writing and Literary Studies

ENG-X 500/600 Any graduate English course (4 cr.)


  • ENG-W 609 Independent writing project (4 cr.) By permission only.

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