Western Kentucky University

Graduate Degree Programs


M.A. in English

At WKU, the Master's of Art in English is based on courses in British and American literature and offers students the choice of five concentrations: Literature, Creative Writing, Composition and Rhetoric, TESL (teaching English as a second language), and Teacher-Leader (for students with secondary teaching certification). About half of a student's coursework is in British and American literature, with the other half consisting of courses in the student's concentration. A detailed list of course requirements for each concentration can be found in the Graduate Catalog, which is available on the Graduate School website under "Prospective Students." (Be sure to choose the pdf file for the current academic year.) A master's thesis is required for the Creative Writing concentration and optional for the others.

Students come to our M.A. program out of a desire to learn more about English language and literature, improve their writing and research skills, and prepare for the next step in their career. Graduates of our program have gone on to teach at the community college, pursue the Ph.D. in English or doctorates in other fields, continue teaching high school with enhanced credentials, or work in many other fields.

Our graduate students are an active and close-knit group. They have recently formed a graduate student organization, SAGE (Student Association for Graduates of English), which is also open to undergraduate senior English majors. New students report finding both the faculty and other students welcoming and supportive.

How to Apply

People interested in pursuing the M.A. at WKU should apply directly to Graduate School; information on how to apply is provided on the Graduate Studies website and in this letter from graduate advisor, Dr. Wes Berry. In addition to the GRE and transcripts required by Graduate School, the English Department asks for a personal statement (1-2 pages) outlining the applicant's background and goals. Those applying to the creative writing concentration should include a writing sample (approximately 10-15 single-spaced pages of poetry or 20-30 double-spaced pages of prose). Note that the writing sample should be the same genre (poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction) in which the student plans to write the thesis.

Graduate Assistantships

The department offers approximately a dozen graduate assistantships, which come with a $10,992 stipend, partial or full tuition remission, and eligibility for insurance coverage. Graduate assistants (GAs) work in the Writing Center and receive mentoring the first two semesters; some also work on a special assignment with a professor. These include working with the Robert Penn Warren Center, Victorians: A Journal of Culture and Literature, or Steel Toe Press. In their second year, GAs are eligible to become Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), which comes with a $300 per semester stipend increase, and ordinarily teach two sections of English 100 per semester.

Applications for graduate assistantships are submitted to Dr. Wes Berry. Here's the link to the application.

Degree Completion Checklist for Current Students

Graduate degree seeking students should consult the graduate school's website and follow the timeline for submitting necessary forms (Forms C, D, and so forth). Here's the link to the checklist.

Comprehensive Exam

M.A. study is capped by a two-hour oral examination. Exam contracts for the five M.A. focus areas are available here:

Literature or Teaching

Creative Writing

Composition and Rhetoric


For Further Information

Please feel free to contact the graduate advisor, Dr. Wes Berry with questions about our program.

Advisor: Dr. Wes Berry

Office: Cherry Hall 134


 Last Modified 1/21/14