MA Program

A Letter from the MA Program Director:

NMU’s Master of Arts in English is a highly flexible 32-credit program that students typically complete in two years, or four semesters. Students develop a plan of study early in their first year and can choose one of four different concentrations: Literature, Writing, Pedagogy or Theater. Students also have the option of combining any two of these for a dual-track degree, to fulfill more than one of their academic aspirations.

The department also offers a graduate certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) which students can pursue in concert with their other MA graduate work. TESOL courses can double count as Pedagogy courses, which means you can earn the TESOL and Pedagogy-track MA without extra coursework.

There is a strong synergy between our MA program in English and the department’s other graduate degree program, the MFA in Creative Writing. MA students and MFA students work (and play) together, with access to the same courses and professors. They participate in the same extracurricular activities, such as monthly readings organized by the Graduate Writers Association, and national and regional conferences including the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), the College English Association (CEA), or Writing Across the Peninsula (WAP).

The MA program provides funding in the form of 20 graduate teaching assistantships, as well as a few graduate assistantships (in the NMU Writing Center or Language Lab, for example), each of which comes with a full tuition scholarship and a nearly $9000 stipend for the nine-month academic year. We offer extensive training and support to our TAs in our graduate Teaching Colloquium, EN 509. TAs typically teach one section of freshman composition per semester. Teaching assistant offices are shared, and close to faculty offices, creating plenty of opportunity for camaraderie and collaboration. Though you can apply for admission to the MA program at any time, the deadline for TA applications is February 1. For more information see the program application procedures.

Summer funding is available to all MA students through NMU’s Excellence in Education grant program. These are competitive awards that provide $1500 in funding and tuition credit to support student summer research, including travel.

There are a lot of things you can do with an MA degree in English. The MA is, of course, a stepping stone to other degree programs and our graduates have gone on to MFA programs, as well as PhD programs in literature, creative writing, and rhetoric and composition. Others have gone into college teaching or administration, publishing and editing, advertising and public relations, or teaching English as a second language (often overseas).

The English department graduate faculty is a large group of talented and dedicated individuals; they come from top-tier universities, and bring with them diverse academic interests. These include a broad range of specializations in literature and culture—British, American, African American, Native American, Chicano/Chicana, Modern Arabic, South Asian—in addition to critical theory, visual culture, film, linguistics, pedagogy and all major genres of writing including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and hybrid forms. See our faculty professional profiles here.

Northern Michigan University is located in Michigan’s beautiful and remote Upper Peninsula. It’s a place with a lot to offer, in addition to a great university and a vibrant community: lush forests, pristine lakes (including mighty Lake Superior), four seasons, and year round outdoor recreation opportunities: hiking, biking, boating, swimming, snowshoeing, skiing, dog sledding.

This letter gives only a brief summary of what we have to offer. For more information on NMU’s MA in English, continue to explore our website or contact the MA Program Director, Dr. Russell Prather, at

We hope to hear from you!

Russ Prather

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