English (MA)


English, MA

On Campus 30 - 36 cr

The Department of English offers an MA degree in the areas of literature studies, creative writing, and composition and rhetoric.


We offer graduate course work in all listed areas of study. There are also opportunities for students to obtain a specialization in ethnic studies; Great Plains studies, human rights and humanitarian affairs, 19th-century studies, and women's and gender studies. We also have certifications in Digital Humanities and the Teaching of Writing.

Diverse opportunities are available for professional development, including the development of scholarly and teaching portfolios, participation in critical/literary study groups, a fiction and poetry reading series, and collaboration with faculty on research, teaching, and creative activities.

In addition, the department houses a number of prestigious journals and projects, including Prairie Schooner, one of the most respected literary journals in the nation, The Western American Literature Journal and the Quarterly Review of Film and Video. We also have the Walt Whitman Archive, the Cather Project, the Nebraska Writing Project, the Nebraska Literacy Project, the Corvey Collection of 19th Century British Literature and the Studies in Writing and Rhetoric Monograph Series. Graduate students regularly enrich their academic experience through work on these major departmental projects.


  1. Composition and Rhetoric
  2. Creative Writing
  3. Ethnic Studies
  4. Great Plains Studies
  5. Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
  6. Literary and Cultural Studies
  7. Nineteenth Century Studies
  8. Women's & Gender Studies

Applying for Admission

Standard requirements for all graduate programs

  • Application for Admission with $50 non-refundable application fee.
  • Transcripts (unofficial): Uploaded as part of application form.

    If International: Uploads must include all college- or university-level transcripts or mark sheets (records of courses and marks earned), with certificates, diplomas, and degrees plus certified English translations.

    After admission: Official documents are required from all students who are admitted and enroll. Photocopies of certified records are not acceptable. International students enrolled in other U.S. institutions may have certified copies of all foreign records sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by their current school’s registrar office.

  • If applicant’s native language is not English, verification of English proficiency is required.

    When sending TOEFL scores, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

  • If applicant is not a US citizen and expects an F or J visa: financial information.
  • Applicants must also fulfill any additional requirements the department specifies at the time of application.

Additional requirements specific to this program

  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 600, Internet TOEFL100, IELTS 6.5
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal Statement: This statement should be 1-3 pages and include why you want a degree from Nebraska. The department particularly welcomes personal statements that articulate the applicant's connection to our English Department Mission Statement.
    • If applying for a specialization in Great Plains Studies, Literary and Cultural Studies, Nineteenth Century Studies, or Women's and Gender Studies: To be considered for a Willa Cather Studies Research Assistantship, 1) answer yes to the application's Cather Assistantship question and 2) in your personal statement describe your interest in the life and works of Willa Cather and/or a related field such as early twentieth century women's writing, LGBTQ literature, or Western American literature. Applicants with experience in digital humanities, textual studies, and historical research are particularly welcome but no prior experience is necessary.
  • Writing Sample: Provide 15-20 pages of a critical paper in English Studies.
    • Creative writing applicants only: In slot 1 upload a critical writing sample (15-20 pages of a critical paper in English Studies) and in slot 2 upload a creative writing sample in the appropriate genre (12 poems or no more than 30 pages of fiction or non-fiction). See department website for details.
  • Other Upload: A summary of your teaching experience or a discussion of your teaching potential, no more than 2 pages.
  • Three recommendation letters.

Admission Application Deadlines

December 1 for Fall. Prospective students admitted Fall only.



Graduate Chair

Stacey Waite

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UNL Graduate Chairs and staff please complete the program update form to provide edits. Updates to graduate program pages are made on an annual basis in conjunction with the Graduate Application for Admission.