Literature Concentration

This program covers the broad and diverse range of literature from the medieval to the contemporary period across all the major genres in American, British, and World literature in English. Courses in related areas such as film, media, folklore, and children’s literature also count toward this concentration. There are two required courses in research methods and literary theory, and students have the choice of two elective courses from other concentrations or programs. There is no required thesis or exam though students may choose to complete a capstone project or write a thesis.

Why choose this concentration:

The Literature concentration is an ideal choice for anyone interested in a deeper understanding of literature in all of its complexity and nuance. This concentration offers the opportunity to improve valuable research skills and develop theoretical expertise in analyzing language and culture. The wide-range of courses offered under the Literature concentration prepare students for teaching, writing, and thinking across a wide range of contexts. Students interested in pursuing a PhD in Literature or in teaching literature at the high school or community college level should choose this concentration. It is a perfect concentration for high school teachers looking for professional development: whether it is new approaches to teaching literature or for new texts to bring into the classroom.

What this program offers:

The Literature Concentration prepares students with the kind of expertise in writing, research, and analysis that is demanded by many professions today. Students use the Literature concentration to develop skills and experience that have allowed them to succeed in academia, teaching, publishing, and independent writing. Our graduates can be found teaching in Universities all over the world as well as local high schools, or working for publishers in New York City.

Our students and faculty:

Our students reflect the diversity in backgrounds that make up George Mason University as a whole. We have students coming directly from college as well as many high school and community college teachers looking for professional development. We have a diverse and  internationally-recognized scholarly faculty who have published research in specializations in every area of literary studies. A portion of the Literature courses are taught by the award-winning creative faculty from the MFA program which is a unique aspect to our program.

A successful applicant:

Demonstrates an enthusiasm for literature in all of its aspects and a desire to use the MA as part of a process of growth toward their goals. The most important part of the application for Literature is the writing sample. This should demonstrate skills in analysis and communication including grasp of MLA style citations, use of theoretical or argumentative frame, and the ability to read a text closely for style and significance. Applicants who are coming from a different professional or undergraduate background should submit a sample of professional writing that demonstrates their ability to manage complex information and communicate effectively.

Hear more about the program from faculty, students, and staff: