Graduate Academic Programs

M.A. in English

Our M.A. program offers three tracks: Literature; Creative Writing; and Writing, Teaching, and Criticism. All tracks comprise 36 credit hours (12 graduate courses), require a capstone experience, and share a six-credit common core: ENG 500 (The Discipline of English Studies) and ENG 501 (Critical Theory).

Admitted students can select the track that best suits their needs and interests, in consultation with the graduate advisor. Students are not required to have chosen a track at the time of application or admission; rather, they can decide once they begin their studies. All three tracks lead to the same degree: the M.A. in English.

For a detailed outline of each track's requirements, please consult the links and advising sheets below, and refer to the Master of Arts in English Degree Requirements section of the WCU Graduate Catalog.


Literature Track

The Literature Track offers a breadth of courses in American, British, and World Literature and gives students advanced training in critical interpretation and theory. The track enables students to build on their undergraduate coursework, improve their teaching of literature, or prepare for enrollment in a Ph.D. program. Students in the Literature Track may pursue a thesis or non-thesis option: while the thesis option is recommended for students who want the experience of researching and writing on a focused question or problem over multiple semesters, others may prefer the additional coursework provided by the non-thesis option.

Literature Track

Creative Writing Track

The Creative Writing Track enables students to develop their craft through interactive workshops and individualized feedback. Our small class sizes allow students to workshop their writing and work with nationally recognized writers and scholars. Students can also experience Aralia Press, a literary fine press at WCU, and take part in the WCU Poetry Conference. All students who choose the Creative Writing Track must write a creative thesis—a portfolio of original fiction, creative non-fiction, or poetry that includes a critical section considering the student's literary influences and connections with contemporary literary traditions.

Creative Writing Track

Writing, Teaching, and Criticism Track

The WTC Track combines theory and classroom practices in rhetoric and composition, pedagogy, and literary studies. Designed primarily for teachers of language arts and secondary English, it enables students to explore the latest developments in the study and teaching of English through small class sizes and individualized concentrations. The WTC Track also allows students to work with the nationally recognized Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project (PAWLP) through coursework and related programs. Although the track was created with teachers in mind, any student interested in the intersection of language, teaching, and literature is welcome.

Writing, Teaching, and Criticism Track

NOTE: Students who entered the M.A. English program before 2015 should use our pre-2015 advising sheets, available on the English Graduate Students D2L site.

Graduate Certificate Program in Publishing

This new program (Fall 2015) prepares students for diverse careers in publishing and digital media. Affordable, flexible, and interdisciplinary, the program offers in-person, hybrid, and online instruction and a curriculum that can be completed in under 12 months. Students acquire knowledge of contemporary publishing, digital media, and publishing history, as well as potential career experience (via internships and other opportunities) at Philadelphia-area publishing and media firms. For more information, please visit the West Chester Center for Book History and consult the Certificate in Publishing section of the WCU Graduate Catalog.

M.A. in TESL

In addition to offering the M.A. in English, the English Department also participates in an interdisciplinary program leading to the M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). The program, jointly administered with the Department of Languages and Cultures, is designed for those preparing to teach English to students whose first language is not English. Graduates of this program are also prepared to design ESL/EFL curricula and to assess the linguistic development of second language students. Interested students can learn more about the M.A. TESL program via the below handbook or the WCU Graduate Catalog.

West Chester Writing Project

The  West Chester Writing Project (formerly Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project (PAWLP)) helps K-16 teaching professionals improve their writing, reading, and literature instruction while enabling them to earn graduate credit. WCWP serves the English M.A. program primarily through a cluster of PWP courses offered in the Writing, Teaching, and Criticism Track, including PWP 502: Strategies for Teaching Writing: Teachers as Writers and PWP 597: Invitational Writing Institute. Various other PWP courses are available as electives to students in all three tracks, and WCWP also offers its own separate teaching certificates for elementary and secondary instructors.

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