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master of arts in english online

Last Updated on November 15, 2021 by Charles Godson

English, MA

Master Of Arts

The IU Online Master of Arts in English provides broad training in the primary areas of English studies.  

Explore the core principles of writing and literature pedagogy, the linguistic structure and history of English literature, and a wide variety of reading strategies associated with genre and close reading. Gain skills and knowledge to conduct archival research, develop analytical and presentation skills through the focused study of literature in a seminar format, and acquire an appreciation of current trends in the field of digital humanities.   

Specific areas of focus include: 

  • Linguistic structures and history of the English language  
  • Reading strategies and literary practices, such as close reading, analysis of style, form and genre, and rhetorical practices
  • Approaches to composition and writing instruction, including the identification and evaluation of sources, use of evidence, generation of ideas, and the development and organization of argument
  • Fostering discussion and developing presentation skills in a seminar setting
  • Developing archival research skills and facility with electronic resources
  • Developments, trends, and frontiers in the digital humanities 

The MA in English has a two-part “stackable” structure.  

  • You first complete an online, 18-20 credit hour graduate certificate in literaturecomposition studies, or language and literature. The certificate allows you to acquire specialized knowledge.
  • After you successfully complete one of the certificates, you take an additional 16 credits of master’s-level coursework that extends the breadth and depth of your knowledge. 

Of Special Interest for Dual-Credit and Community College Instructors Needing to Meet HLC Standards

The stackable structure of the MA in English is ideal for dual-credit and community college teachers who need to meet the Higher Learning Commission’s instructor qualification standards. These standards require teachers to hold either a master’s degree in their area of instruction or a master’s degree in another discipline plus at least 18 credit hours of discipline-specific graduate coursework.

  • If you hold a master’s degree in a discipline other than your discipline of instruction, you can meet HLC’s standards by completing one of the online certificates.  
  • If you need both discipline-specific coursework and a master’s degree, the MA in English meets HLC standards and provides a comprehensive program of study in English.

Your IU Online MA in English prepares you for such careers as: 

  • High school dual-credit English teacher 
  • High school dual-credit literature teacher
  • Community college instructor
  • Other professions that value critical analysis, strong communication skills, and clarity of expression

This 100 percent online, consortial program is taught by IU Bloomington, IUPUI, IU East, IU Kokomo, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. This consortial model allows you to take coursework from several campuses and learn from a wide range of faculty.

Degree Requirements 

To earn the MA in English, you must complete a total of 36 credit hours.  

Requirements are broken down as follows: 

  • English graduate certificate (20 credit hours) 
  • MA core courses (8 credit hours)
  • MA elective courses (8 credit hours) 

See courses that are being offered this semester. 

Download a printable PDF summary of the MA in English. 

Download a printable PDF summary of all our graduate programs for teachers.


To be accepted to this program, you must have:
  1. successfully completed one of the four graduate certificates: Composition Studies, Language and Literature, or Literature.
  2. You must complete at least three courses in one of the certificate programs with a 3.5 or higher GPA before you may transition into the MA in English.

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

Complete an online application that includes:

  • 250-word personal statement explaining background and reasons for entering the program
  • Two letters of recommendation 
Application Dates

Fall semester: Aug 1

Spring semester: Jan 1

Summer 1 semester: May 1

Summer 2 semester: Jun 15


English Graduate Certificate20 Credits
Core Skills and Methods of Advanced Literary Study8 Credits
ENG-X 500/600Any graduate English course4 Credits
ENG-W 609Independent writing project4 Credits

Tuition & Fees

Cost for Indiana Residents
  • Per Credit Hour
  • Tuition: $320.00
  • 3 Credit Hours
  • Tuition: $960.00
Cost for Out of State Residents
  • Per Credit Hour
  • Tuition: $450.00
  • 3 Credit Hours
  • Tuition: $1350.00


Additional fees will apply.

What’s it like to be an IU Online Student?

  • Earn an IU education from wherever you areWhen you enroll in an IU Online program, you take IU classes, taught by the same faculty who teach on our campuses.It’s the flexible, affordable way to get the IU education you deserve without putting your life—or career—on hold.
  • Get the support you need to succeedAs a student in an IU Online program, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with and seek help from your professors and peers, just as you would in a campus-based program.You’ll also have access to a variety of academic and other support services that you can call on when you need additional assistance. You’re an important part of the IU community and we’re dedicated to ensuring you have the resources you need to thrive in your online program.
  • Reap the rewards for decades to comeNo matter what field you’re in, an IU degree or certificate can improve your chances of earning a promotion or pay raise.You’ll also earn skills that will help you to achieve success for the foreseeable future, whether you’re seeking to complete an advanced degree in your current field or switch career paths altogether.