All Programs and Certificates

Information for current students can be found here.

PhD in Linguistics

The PhD in linguistics trains students in the science of language. Students become specialists in the core areas of linguistics-- phonology, syntax, and semantics --and learn to integrate this core with the study of second language acquisition. This 72-credit degree program prepares students for positions in academia, industry, and government working in a host of organizations that are concerned with language and second language acquisition. 

PhD student handbook

PhD in Writing and Rhetoric

George Mason's doctoral program in Writing and Rhetoric offers a curriculum that emphasizes theoretical, practical, and productive approaches to writing in organizations and in public spaces. Our program is built on the premise that writing and teaching in twenty-first century organizations requires the rigorous, integrated study of rhetoric, technology, culture, and research methodologies.

MFA in Creative Writing

Fiction • Nonfiction • Poetry

Started in 1980, the Graduate Creative Writing Program at George Mason University has earned a national reputation. The core faculty consist of internationally-recognized writers, and graduates of the program have published with both major and small presses and in national commercial and literary magazines. Faculty are active in such organizations as PEN/Faulkner, which annually awards its prestigious prize in fiction, and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, which has its national headquarters on Mason's campus. Students write for and edit several nationally-circulated literary magazines.

MA in English

With concentrations in Literature, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, Professional Writing and Rhetoric, and the Teaching of Writing and Literature, the Mason English department offers master's degrees aimed to meet a wide range of intellectual and professional needs and interests.  Graduate certificates may be combined with these programs to add additional areas of specialization, with courses counting toward both the degree program and the certificate when requirements overlap.  

Cultural Studies concentration in the MA in English

The master's degree in English with a concentration in cultural studies consists of courses in literature (defined to include film, media, folklore, and literary and cultural theory as well as more traditional forms of literature) with expanded requirements in theory and cultural studies.  Students planning to apply to the PhD program in Cultural Studies at George Mason who have not already earned an MA should pursue this concentration.  Consult for more information about the PhD program.

Linguistics concentration in the MA in English

The master's degree in English with a concentration in linguistics is theoretically oriented and provides a solid foundation in the major subfields of linguistics: phonology, syntax, and semantics. It requires 30 credits and can be earned on a part-time basis in two years.

Literature concentration in the MA in English

This program consists of courses in literature (defined to include film, media, folklore, and literary and cultural theory) as well as required courses in research methods and literary theory.  Students may choose to write a master's thesis or complete a capstone project, or they may choose to complete their requirements by taking additional literature courses.

Professional Writing and Rhetoric concentration in the MA in English

The MA in English with a concentration in professional writing and rhetoric is oriented to workplace uses of language. In addition to the training in pragmatic skills offered, the concentration is characterized by a self-reflexive attention to workplaces as institutions. Courses on research and theory in nonfiction writing complement instruction in editing, technical writing, digital publication, and other current practices to prepare students for roles as writers and editors in the private and public sectors. Instruction in research methodologies melds archival research with the most current technological advances to equip students with valuable research tools and strategies, while courses in literature, media studies, folklore, and linguistics provide insight into language and writing practices across a variety of contexts.

Teaching of Writing and Literature concentration in the MA in English

At the core of this program are courses on teaching literature and teaching composition, reinforced by courses in literature, writing, linguistics, and composition theory.  The program offers practicing educators the opportunity to renew knowledge and envision new paths as instructors; students new to the field will benefit from an array of perspectives afforded by its breadth.

Accelerated MA in English (Concentration in Linguistics)

An accelerated master's degree program is available to highly qualified undergraduates in any major at George Mason. Students accepted to this program complete some graduate coursework as part of their undergraduate degree program. They can earn both a bachelor’s degree in their chosen major and a master’s degree in English with a concentration in linguistics by completing 144 credits, often within five years.

Graduate Certificate in College Teaching (ENGL)

This certificate is for graduate students planning a career in post-secondary education. It offers courses that develop pedagogical skills, explore pedagogical assessment or scholarship, and enhance the use of technology in instruction.

Graduate Certificate in Folklore Studies

Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing and Editing (ENGL)

Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language

The graduate certificate in teaching English as a second language (TESL) is an 18-credit program that focuses on the applied aspects of English linguistics. This program offers courses in  English phonetics, English grammar, second language acquisition, teaching ESL, and a practicum.