Graduate Program English

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English Master's Degree Overview

The Master of Arts in English at Portland State University provides training in British, American, and global Anglophone literatures as well as rhetorical and critical theory, cultural studies, film and new media, and interdisciplinary approaches to literary study. Almost all of our classes are taught as small seminars, creating an intimate and supportive environment of collaboration and exchange. Students learn from faculty who are experts in their fields and passionate about teaching.

Students enroll in the MA program for a variety of reasons. Some wish to teach in primary, secondary, or higher education. Others use the MA to prepare for doctoral study in English and related fields or for further study in law, public policy, or business. Many students enter the MA program simply with an enthusiasm for literature and the activities associated with the study of English: reading, writing, research, discussion, debate, interpretation, and analysis. The MA program trains students to become highly proficient in all of these skills and to apply them in various professional settings.

Outside the classroom, students benefit from a wide range of intellectual and cultural resources and opportunities. The department regularly organizes a variety of events, including talks by visiting academics, readings by writers and poets, research salons, and an annual graduate student colloquium that showcases the work of our students. Beyond campus, the city of Portland beckons with its cafes, bookstores, museums, concerts, and food carts.

Degree Details

  • M
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

English Master's Degree: Why PSU?

  • Small seminars. The majority of classes in the MA in English program are conducted as seminars with a maximum of twelve students. The classroom environment is friendly and supportive, with an emphasis on learning collaboratively.
  • Exciting topics. Faculty often teach seminars based on their current research. Recent seminar topics have included postcolonial ecology, sound and Modernism, visual rhetoric, apocryphal Shakespeare, narrative theory, poetry and politics, the Southern Gothic, Romanticism and translation, race and literary studies, and the sublime.
  • Outstanding faculty. The faculty of the English Department are accomplished scholars and dedicated teachers. They will challenge and inspire you in the classroom and offer you support and mentorship during your time at the university and beyond.
  • Dual degrees. Students have the option of combining the MA in English with a master’s degree in one of the department’s other graduate programs: Creative Writing, Book Publishing, and Professional and Technical Writing. An innovative and flexible curriculum allows students to share credits between programs and graduate with two degrees in a shorter time period.
  • Affordable tuition. In addition to Oregon residents, residents of a number of western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming) as well as the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and Guam benefit from low in-state tuition. The department also offers a very small number of Graduate Assistantships, which include a stipend and tuition remission for two years.

What can I do with a master's degree in English?

Students graduate from the program as sophisticated readers and effective writers. They are trained to analyze complex problems and solve them with insight and imagination. Students also learn how to plan, research, implement, and evaluate long-term projects. These skills will never become obsolete and they are highly sought after by employers in many different fields. Several of our recent graduates have been accepted for doctoral study at Cornell, Michigan, Rice, Toronto, Tufts, UC Santa Barbara, Wisconsin, and more. Many others find jobs as teachers and in the business or nonprofit sector. The department regularly runs information and training sessions on career paths after graduation.

Featured Courses

7-15 courses of particular interest

  • Postcolonial Ecology
  • Romanticism and Translation
  • Comics History
  • The Sublime
  • Renaissance Metamorphoses
  • Science Fiction
  • Digital Rhetoric

Featured Electives

3-7 electives that demonstrate the types of courses that can be taken as electives

  • Asian-American Literature
  • The Southern Gothic
  • Gothic Childhood
  • Theories of the Event
  • Biopolitics
  • Early American Literature


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).