The MA program in English within the School of Writing, Literature, and Film allows graduate students to work closely with faculty while pursuing advanced study in literature, rhetoric, culture, and film.  MA students choose one of the above concentrations.

Program requirements are focused but flexible, ensuring that every student will be trained in current methodologies and will study contexts and interdisciplinary exchange as well as the primary texts of specific historical periods.

Program Highlights

Full Funding

To enable our School to fully fund our incoming students, the MA Program now offers three sources of financial support:

    • All students admitted to the MA/English program will automatically receive a standard Graduate Teaching Assistantship contract, which provides full tuition remission and stipend of approximately $12,300 per year to cover living expenses. First-year GTAs teach WR 121, OSU’s first-year composition course. Based on School needs, first and second-year GTAs with appropriate training may be eligible to teach selected sections of advanced academic writing. They may also qualify to lead a discussion section for a lower-division literature course such as ENG 104 or ENG 106 (Intro to Fiction or Intro to Poetry), or serve as graders in large film or literature courses.
    • All applicants will be considered for external GTA and GRA positions in academic and professional units beyond the School of Writing, Literature, and Film.  Over the last five years, for example, MA students received GTA or GRA appointments in the College of Engineering, the Division of Outreach and Engagement, the Writing Center, the Academic Success Center, the Graduate School, and the Writing Intensive Curriculum Program. These positions provide full tuition remission and a stipend of between $12,300 and $16,000 per year to cover living expenses.
    • All applicants are automatically considered for Oregon State Provost Fellowships, which cover all of resident or non-resident tuition and provides a $22,000 stipend for living expenses during the first year. All Provost Fellows receive a standard GTA contract in their second year.
    • In addition to tuition remission, all graduate students have the option to receive 89% coverage of health insurance costs for themselves and their dependents.
    • Travel funds are also available to all students who are presenting at an academic conference in their second year.
    • Summer teaching or related work may be available for interested MA students. In Summer 2017, for example, we were able to support summer teaching appointments for 5 MA students through a partnership between Beijing Normal University and OSU. An additional grad student will receive a summer stipend for work in the OSU Special Collections Library. We anticipate similar funding opportunities in Summer 2018.


As members of a Carnegie-Recognized (R1) Institution, members of the MA faculty produce cutting-edge scholarship in their respective subfields, publishing at venues such as Cambridge UP, University of Michigan Press, Stanford UP, Cornell UP, Ohio State UP, University of Delaware Press, University of Virginia Press, Duke UP, University of Edinburgh Press, NYU Press, Routledge, Palgrave, Bucknell UP and WW Norton.

The faculty has also been awarded a number of international and national prizes and fellowships including the Morton W. Bloomfield Fellowship (Harvard University), a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Grant (Digital Livingstone Project), a Fulbright Guest Professorship (University of Heidelberg), an Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities Fellowship (University of Edinburgh), UC Humanities Research Initiative Fellowship (UC Irvine), and the CCCC Technical and Scientific Communication Award.


Professor Rebecca Olsom


Thesis Experience

All MA students write original theses, closely mentored by one primary advisor and two additional faculty members. Theses give students the chance to complete a work of substantial original scholarship. In 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2017, a thesis written by a student in the MA program in English was selected as the OSU Outstanding Thesis of the Year across all disciplines. Recipients of this award are also submitted for competition for the Western States Outstanding Graduate Thesis Award. Congratulations to Liz Delf (MA 2011), Matt Dodson (MA 2014), Marie Wiley (MA 2016), and Cole Crawford (MA 2017)! Cole Crawford's (MA 2017) thesis also went on to win the 2018 Western Association of Graduate Studies/ProQuest Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for his thesis "Respect the Gap: From Big to Boutique Data through Laboring-Class Poets Online." The Western Association of Graduate Schools comprises more than 90 member institutions offering master’s and doctoral degrees in the western United States, Canada and Mexico. Each year, WAGS and ProQuest offer the WAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award in two categories: Outstanding Thesis Non-STEM Award, and Outstanding Thesis STEM Award (Humanities, Social Science, Education, and Business).

MA graduate student Wes Snyder defends his thesis on public proof.

ENG 514: Introduction to Graduate Studies

This course provides the full incoming cohort with the methodological foundation for graduate work and professionalization strategies while fostering a sense of community and building close working relationships among the graduate students.


Pedagogical Development

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) receive sound support for their teaching and its evolution through a sequence of professional development activities, which enhance their effectiveness (and often enjoyment) as instructors. 

In addition to the Assistantships offered within the School of Writing, Literature, and Film, students also have the opportunity to apply for a range of other teaching-related opportunities with the Writing Center, the Writing Intensive Curriculum program, or INTO-OSU (a program of English-oriented courses for international students).


Scholarly Connections

The School of Writing, Literature, and Film regularly hosts lectures and workshops for graduate students by prominent writers and critics, including events in the Critical Questions series.  The MA program also sponsors a graduate symposium, holds professional development workshops on subjects ranging from how to apply for scholarly conferences to job interview best practices, and nominates students for University-wide travel awards.  Recently, our students have presented papers at conferences held by a large number of organizations such as the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA), the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, the Cormac McCarthy Society, the Popular Culture Association, the Society for Cinema & Media Studies, American Literature Association, Far West Popular Culture Association, Rhetoric Society of America, and the College Composition and Communication Conference. Since Fall 2017, SWLF began to coordinate a set of academic, corporate and NGO internships that MA and MFA students may pursue during the academic year and during the summer between their first and second years of the program.


Guest lecturer Licia Fiol-Matta giving a talk on "A Queer Singer for the Nation: Voice, Gender, and Politics in Chavela Vargas”.

Strong Learning Outcomes

Our graduates have gone on to teaching or administrative positions at the secondary and university levels; to professional careers in business, government, and publishing; and to PhD programs.  Over the last five years, for example, MA students have been admitted into:

PhD programs at institutions such as Emory University, Concordia University (Montreal), Ohio State University, Syracuse University, Michigan State University, the University of Colorado, Purdue University, the University of New Mexico, Oklahoma State, TCU, University at Buffalo - SUNY, University of Oregon, University of Washington, and the University of Notre Dame.

Administration, teaching, or writing center positions at institutions including Oregon State University, Portland State University, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Western Carolina University, University of the Arts (Philadelphia), St. Martin’s University, Ashford University, Wisconsin Eau Claire, Texas Tech University, Chemeketa Community College, Howard Community College, LaGuardia Community College, Portland Community College, Linn-Benton Community College, Yakima Valley Community College, South Puget Sound Community College, Kalama High School, and Alsea High School.

Management positions at companies and organizations such as the State of Oregon, Twilio, Zillow, VigLink, C2 Education, CTGI inc, The Federal Aviation Administration, and bepress.


The application period for the 2018-2019 cohort is now closed.

For questions about the program, please contact MA Director, Raymond Malewitz.