University of Texas Online Consortium

Master of Arts in English

The Master of Arts in English is a 36-credit online program offered by the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB).

image of woman standing beside laptop computerProgram Objectives

  • To professionally empower students through their active involvement in academic conferences and scholarly publications;
  • To motivate students to increase the knowledge of their field by their own contribution of original work;
  • To enhance students' awareness of the cultural contexts of theoretical and literary works;
  • To provide rhetorical skills in preparation for such professions as teaching, law, publishing, and public relations.

Our English faculty strive to cultivate intellectual growth and to stimulate diverse scholarly interests. They are also committed to offering students the opportunity not only to master current knowledge but to contribute to this knowledge through research and original thinking. Our department is particularly known for its concentration on the burgeoning field of interdisciplinary studies. Graduate students are encouraged to participate in academic conferences and to publish in scholarly journals.

"Why an MA in English?"

An MA degree in English from UTPB has several benefits. Graduate Students in the English department not only gain valuable knowledge while preparing for a PhD program, but are also developing the skills to work in 4-year and community colleges. The program also serves high school teachers looking to teach advanced/concurrent courses, and prepares students for careers in publishing, editing, and research as well.

The Goals of the MA Program in English are:

  1. To train students to work with the materials of literature with scholarly competence and maturity.
  2. To provide students with knowledge of major periods, theories, methodologies, movements and genres in British, American or multicultural literature.
  3. To enhance students’ awareness of the theoretical and cultural contexts of literary works.
  4. To provide students with rhetorical skills such a argument, analysis, explication and criticism.
  5. To prepare students to make original contributions to existing scholarship in the field.

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements

The successful candidate for the MA in English will complete at least 36 credits and pass an oral exam. Students electing the Thesis option will take 30 credits of course work and six of thesis research; students electing the Written Exam option will take 30 credits of course work and six of Directed Reading; students electing the Project option will take 33 hours of course work and three of Directed Reading.

Course Work

A minimum of 30 credits must be earned in course work at the 6300 (graduate) level. A maximum of six credits of course work may be taken in a field other than literature with prior written approval of the student’s committee. The student will work out the required degree plan in consultation with his/her advisor.

The degree plan will reflect the following requirements:

  1. Rhetoric and Composition Requirement:
    Students serving as Graduate Teaching Assistants in English are required to complete ENGL 6372 Rhetoric and Composition, either before being selected for this position or during the first semester of service. This requirement can be waived for students with extensive teaching experience or a similar course on the record.
  2. Breadth Requirement:
    Each student shall complete a minimum of nine credits in British literature and nine credits in American literature.

Capstone Options

After completing 18 graduate credits, at the beginning of the first semester of research (by the end of the first four weeks), students who choose the Thesis, Article or Project should submit to their committee a 5-10 page prospectus with a working bibliography.

  • Thesis
    At the MA level, the thesis should constitute a contribution to the scholarly discourse on a well-defined topic. The thesis will demonstrate the writer’s grasp of the history of that discourse and the major voices within it. The thesis will be a lengthy paper (typically 50-70 pages of text) combining original analysis with thorough research. The thesis is not a doctoral dissertation or a book. A total of six credits will be devoted to ENGL 6399.
  • Scholarly Article
    A scholarly article, to be submitted for publication after its completion and the suggested revisions by the student’s committee, should be an original contribution to scholarship. The student’s committee must agree that the student’s proposed work at the prospectus level is a publishable article. The scholarly article option involves two phases, the first of which is the passage of a broad oral exam in the area in which the student wishes to write the article. Once the exam is passed, the student may write an article suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. Students choosing this option must also successfully perform in an oral examination following the completion of their writing in which they defend their work. The examiners will be members of the candidate’s committee and a representative of the Graduate Faculty. The article will be a lengthy paper (20-25 pages of text) combining original interpretation with thorough research. A total of six credits will be devoted to ENGL 6399 for this option.
  • Written Exam
    The exam will cover three areas, to be agreed on by the examining committee and the candidate. These areas can be relatively narrow (e.g. the Victorian novel) or relatively broad (e.g. literature by American ethnic groups, colonial to 1900; rhetoric and composition); however, the exam must include both British and American literature, some post-1800 British or post-1865 American literature, and some pre-1800 British or pre-1865 American literature. The exam will be written during a six-hour period, which can be divided as the examining committee and the candidate deem appropriate.
  • Six Graduate Credits
    In addition to the 30 required credits for the MA in English, students who do not wish to pursue a thesis or one of the following options may take two additional graduate courses (six credits). In the semester they plan to graduate they should submit three of their graduate papers to be evaluated by their graduate committee; an oral exam will follow this evaluation in which the student will be asked to demonstrate how these papers have met the goals of the graduate program.
  • Project
    The candidate, in consultation with her or his committee, will design a nine credit concentration of course work (a maximum of three credits of which may be taken as ENGL 6390) which will lead to the preparation of a 30-40 page Research Report. This Research Report is not intended to constitute an original contribution to scholarship but will otherwise conform to the standards of scholarly discourse in the field of English.


Link to a list of the courses required for the program. To see which courses are currently open for registration, link to the Course Schedule, select English (MA) from the UTOC Program menu and click the Search button. You may also use the Course Inventory to view a complete list of all courses currently being offered in the program, as well as the semesters in which they have been offered.

Participating Institution and Advisor

UT Permian Basin

Todd Richardson

Associate Professor, Director of English Graduate Program

(432) 552-2292

Degree Awarded: Master of Arts in English

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much will it cost?
    Students are billed by UTPB for courses. Links to campus tuition and fee information, and estimated tuition and fees can be found on the Cost and Financial Aid page.
  • Are campus visits required?
    The courses for the master’s degree are offered online. (Those seeking the diagnostician certification or initial certification will need additional courses offered at UTPB.)
  • How can I find more information?
    Please contact the program coordinator listed above if you have additional questions about the program.

Getting Started

To participate in the program you must apply to and be accepted by UT Permian Basin.