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MA Degree Requirements and Timeline

The Graduate Program in English offers a Master of Arts degree in English with three concentrations: one in English Education  with and without Illinois teaching licensure, one in English Studies, and one in Creative Writing. See our people for more information about faculty specializations.

A Master’s in English from UIC prepares you for a number of careers and vocations within and beyond the academy. Graduates of our MA in English have gone on to PhD programs at Brown University, the University of California Irvine, and the University of California San Diego, among others, and law school at the University of Colorado at Boulder. They work in publishing and at nonprofits. They teach at high schools and community colleges all over Illinois and the nation. They craft freelance writing careers in New York City.

Applications for the MA are accepted once a year for the fall semester. The deadline to apply is February 15.

Course Requirements for the MA Heading link

All courses are four (4) credit hours except the following: ED 402, 403, 421, 425, SPED 410 (3 hrs each) and ENGL 596 & 597. ENGL 597 - Thesis Research may be taken for 0-4 hours; ENGL 596 - Independent Study may be taken for 1-4 hours.
English Studies (ENG) Creative Writing (CW) English Education (MA only) English Education w/license (MA with IL secondary ELA teaching license)
Minimum Total Credit Hours 32 32 32 53
Minimum Credit Hours in English 24 24 24 40
Minimum Credit Hours at 500-level (non-research) 12 12 12 12
Proseminar (Fall Year 1) 4 hrs - ENGL 500 4 hrs - ENGL 500 4 hrs - ENGL 500 4 hrs - ENGL 500
Teaching methods or education courses (ED only) N/A N/A 8 hrs - Methods Course Requirements: Two classes from ENGL 481, 482, 486, 489, 555 28 hrs - English Methods Courses: ENGL 486, 489, 481 AND Education Methods Courses: ED 402 or 403; ED 421 or 445; ED 425; SPED 410
Other required courses or electives any English department course to complete coursework requirements- minimum 24 hours 12-16 hrs - Workshop Requirement: ENGL 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576 8 hrs - Elective Requirements: At least two courses 8 hrs - Elective Requirements: At least two courses, which may include Education courses (like ED 402 or 403, and ED 421 or 425) that are required for licensure
Student Teaching Requirement (ED w/license only) N/A N/A N/A 12 hrs - ENGL 498, 499
Research Project 0-4 hrs - ENGL 597 0-4 hrs - ENGL 597 0-4 hrs - ENGL 597 0-4 hrs - ENGL 597

Degree requirements can be fulfilled by taking any course and/or  400-level offerings in the department. Advanced undergraduate courses with a grade of B or better may be counted toward graduation requirements. MA students may count up to five 400 level courses (20 hours) toward the 32 hour coursework requirement. MA students may take up to two courses (8 hours) outside of the department. Credit toward the MA is not given for any course in which the student receives a grade of less than B.

“Zero Hours” for ENGL 597

Registering for zero hours of ENGL 597 is not the same as not registering for the course. Students must register for ENGL 597 in order to graduate. Zero credit hour registration requires that certain criteria be met. Contact the graduate department to determine if this zero hour registration is appropriate.

Independent Study

Students may sign up to work independently with one of our faculty. No more than four hours of credit taken in ENGL 596 may be counted toward the 32-hour degree requirement, but you may enroll in more than 4 hours of independent study if you wish. You can find the Independent Study form on our Forms page.


You may perform a self-audit using the MA Progress to Degree Checklist found on the Forms page. If you have questions or want to double-check your self-audit, contact the Graduate Studies Program Director to schedule a meeting.


ENGL 555 is required in order to hold a TAship. MA students who wish to compete for a TA position in their second year must apply in their first semester. If accepted, they should take ENGL 555 in the second semester of their first year. ENGL 555 may count towards the 32 required hours. All MA teaching assistants teach sections of ENGL 160 and ENGL 161.


MA in English Education

Program for Writers