Non-English Majors Entering the English M.A. Program
Go back


It is not unusual for students who have attained a bachelor's degree in another field to pursue a master's degree in English.  In the past, some of our best graduate students have come to us from other fields of study.  We have had nursing, music, history, and biology majors who have done very well in our English program.

When students come to us from undergraduate programs that have included very limited experience in upper-division English classes, we do encourage these students to take a couple of upper-division survey classes in British and American literature to enhance their literary background and to expose them to our expectations for literary essays and research papers.  It is also sometimes the case that students enter our M.A. program with an undergraduate English major, but with little or no experience in creative writing.  Students with undergraduate English majors (but without creative writing backgrounds) may wish to enroll in graduate creative writing classes, and they may wish to write creative theses.  These students may be asked to take one or more undergraduate creative writing classes before they enroll in the graduate writing seminars.

If the students are motivated, they are typically able to overcome a deficiency of undergraduate English courses.  Any disadvantages these students may encounter because of their limited exposure to English classes is often compensated for by their ability to bring to their graduate English classes what they have learned in another field.  For example, a music student's knowledge of symphonic structure or a biology student's knowledge of Darwin often gives them unique insights into literature that can be used in their papers and oral reports.