University of Mississippi

M.A. in English


Newspaper clipping highlighting William Faulkner's trip to Spain


Intruder in the Dust premiere at the Lyric Theater


William Faulkner



Application for admission to graduate study in English is a two-part process.  First, apply online to the University of Mississippi Graduate School; second, please mail a statement of purpose, a writing sample, and three letters of recommendation to the Department of English



  1. Apply online to the Graduate School at
  • Complete the Online Application
  • Submit the required supporting documents:
    • Official University transcripts
    • GRE scores (general test only)
    • All test scores must be sent directly from the testing service.  The Institution Code for the University of Mississippi on the GRE and TOEFL is 1840.
    • Once all of the steps have been completed and the $40 non-refundable application fee has been received, your application will be sent for department review.
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores – International Students only

2.     Submit a statement of purpose, a writing sample, and 3 letters of recommendation to:

MA Graduate Admissions
Department of English
C128 Bondurant Hall
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677-1848


  •  The statement of purpose should be approximately 500 words (no more than two typewritten pages), describing your academic interests, qualifying experiences, and specific reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in English at the University of Mississippi.
  • The writing sample should be a polished seminar-length sample (no more than 20 double-spaced pages) of your best academic work.  The sample should represent some significant aspect of your interests and/or academic strengths.
  • The three confidential letters of recommendation should address your developing scholarly interests, your academic performance and potential, and any other details relevant to graduate study in English.  Have your recommenders send them in hard copy (separately in signed and sealed envelopes) directly to the department.

Course Requirements

Students must complete 24 hours of course work with a B average and also complete an additional 6 hours of thesis credit. ENGL 600 (Introduction to Graduate Study) is required during the first fall semester of enrollment in full standing. Students must take 6 hours of course work in English or American literature before 1800 and 6 hours of English or American literature after 1800. Up to 6 hours of graduate course work may be taken in related disciplines; 3 of those 6 hours may be taken in independent study/directed reading. Application deadlines for directed reading courses are April 1 and November 1.Teaching assistants serving as instructors of record in first-year composition courses are required to complete ENGL 617 (Teaching College English) during the first semester of teaching or at the earliest opportunity otherwise.

  • ENGL 600, Introduction to Graduate Study is a 3-hour seminar required of all incoming graduate students in English, is designed to provide a framework for thinking about research, writing, and teaching English as professional activities. In particular, students are encouraged to explore the ways in which their own interests and proposed academic work may form the basis for a life’s career in literary studies, and the ways in which that work might contribute to the evolution of the profession. English 600 is concerned with the history of the profession, its institutional contours, and the varied directions it may take in the future.
  • ENGL 617, Teaching College English is a 3-hour seminar/practicum required of all graduate instructors of record in first-year composition, focuses on strategies for teaching college writing. Composition theory is a guiding force, along with various aspects of rhetorical theory. However, the dominant classroom activity is discussion of actual teaching experiences. Students are encouraged to use the forum as an opportunity to share classroom experiences, focusing on ways to improve teaching and application of methods. The course maintains a balance between theory and practice, addressing not just what composition teachers do but also why they do it. Primary course requirements include reflective journals, oral presentations, paper assignments, and the production of a teaching portfolio.

The Master’s Thesis
Ordinarily 50 to 100 pages in length, the M.A. thesis is a research project that makes an original and significant contribution to the field of literary studies. The thesis committee consists of three members of the graduate faculty in English, one of whom serves as director.

Thesis Defense
An oral defense (lasting approximately one hour) is the final stage before the student is recommended for the degree.

Renaissance and Early Modern Studies Emphasis
Students may receive an M.A. with an emphasis in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies by completing six hours of graduate course work in Renaissance and/or Early Modern Studies and submitting a thesis on a Renaissance or Early Modern subject. Students are encouraged to take three hours in a related discipline such as history, religion, or art, provided the focus of the course is on the Renaissance or Early Modern period.

Financial Aid and Travel Funding
The Department of English and the Graduate School have a variety of prizes, awards, and scholarships available to graduate students: