skip to main content
Department of English
University of Mississippi

Degree Requirements- M.A.

Distribution Requirements
Students must complete 24 hours of course work and an additional 6 hours of thesis credit. Students must maintain a B average. ENG 600: Introduction to Graduate Study is required during the first fall semester of enrollment in full standing. Graduate students serving as instructors of record in first-year composition courses are required to complete ENG 617: Teaching College English (typically during the Spring semester of the first year). 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 in the fall and spring semesters are, respectively, April 1 and November 1. All students pursuing coursework for the M.A. should expect to meet with the Director of Graduate Studies at least once a year to discuss their progress.

The Master’s Thesis
In consultation with their committee, M.A .students will have the choice to pursue a traditional thesis or a portfolio project. The thesis/portfolio committee consists of three members of the graduate faculty in English, one of whom serves as director. All M.A. students must successfully pass the Thesis Defense.

Option A: Traditional 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.

Option B: Scholarly Portfolio: Creating the scholarly portfolio involves 1) the collection and substantial revision of two or three essays written for courses during the M.A., and 2) the production of a new scholarly essay that articulates the relationship between the collected essays by reflecting on thematic or intellectual connections, discussing methodological and theoretical issues, and constructing a narrative of the project’s development and further potential. Like the Traditional Thesis, the M.A. Portfolio should be 50 to 100 pages in length.

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.