Literature Concentration

Catalog Year: 2023-2024

Banner Code: LA-MA-ENGL-LIT

The Master of Arts in English at Mason offers students the opportunity to enhance their skills of reading, writing, research and teaching with courses that encompass the wide range of contemporary English studies. Students can work in and across concentrations in literature, professional writing, rhetoric, cultural studies, film, folklore, linguistics, and the teaching of writing and literature. It offers the MA in field-specific concentrations as well as the opportunity to combine a concentration in one field with a certificate from another one. Many students use the MA for professional enhancement, or as an entry into teaching, professional writing, or doctoral study.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Students pursuing this degree must successfully complete 30 credits in one concentration. 

Students in the concentration of literaturemust demonstrate intermediate proficiency in a foreign language in one of the following ways: submitting an undergraduate (or continuing education) transcript that includes courses corresponding to intermediate proficiency; completing a Mason foreign language course numbered 202 or higher; passing a proficiency exam administered by the English department.

Concentration in Literature (LIT)

Required Courses 1  
ENGH 500 Research in English Studies 3
ENGH 551 Introduction to Literary Theory 3
Select 18 credits from the following: 2 18
Graduate Literature Survey  
Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies  
Special Topics in the History and Criticism of Children's Literature  
Topics in Folk Narrative  
Topics in Folklore Studies  
Seminar in British Literature  
Seminar in American Literature  
Seminar in Advanced Research  
Seminar in African-American Literature  
Seminar in Global Culture  
Seminar in Film and Media Studies  
Advanced Topics in Folklore Studies  
Selected Topics, Movements, or Genres of Literature in English  
Literary Theory and Criticism  
Projects in Literary Studies  
Two Electives or Thesis 6
Select 6 credits of Electives 3
Total Credits 30

Must be taken in the first 12 credits of the degree. Another course in literary theory and criticism may substitute for ENGH 551 Introduction to Literary Theory with prior written approval of the graduate director.


Courses fulfilling this requirement must include at least three 600-level ENGH seminars. Graduate seminars involve focused study of a topic with significant attention to scholarship in the field.


Electives taught within the English department may be taken without permission of the graduate director. A maximum of six credits of related study outside the department may substitute for the equivalent number of elective credits, with permission of the graduate director.


Students who choose a thesis take 6 fewer credits of literature or electives.