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English Masters Degree (M.A.), Professional

Why Pursue a Professional Masters Degree in English?

Jessica Kennedy B.A. '08, M.A. '17 is the assistant principal at South Middle School in Westfield, Massachusetts.

This program is designed for students who already hold an initial license in middle or secondary English and leads to the professional license in this field. Students will enhance their understanding of educational theory and practices and expand their knowledge of English language, rhetoric, and literature.

English 646 Pre-capstone Registration & Course Description Form

English 647 Capstone Project   

Independent Study/Special Arrangement Form

Capstone Application 

English, Professional, M.A.

Program Description

Students develop knowledge of literature and its history and expand their abilities to think analytically and write effectively through advanced study and research in British, American, and other literatures. The M.A. program in English thus prepares students for advanced graduate studies in English (Ph.D.), for pre-professional studies (law, business, and administration), for teaching careers, and for work in related fields (e.g., communications, public relations, publishing, and human resources).

The M.A. in English Licensure Programs prepares students for careers as teachers at the 5-12 level. Students may earn Initial Licensure through an NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) accredited program or earn Professional Licensure. Candidates may elect the M.A. with Professional Licensure Option, a graduate program designed to allow teachers of English who hold initial licensure to become fully certified according to the educational reforms mandated for Massachusetts by the Board of Education. Candidates for certification complete a program that includes four required courses: ENGL 0539 - Advanced Methods of Teaching English, ENGL 0609 - Contemporary Issues in English Teaching, ENGL 0646 - Pre-Capstone Course, and ENGL 0626 - Seminar in English Education Capstone Experience.


    Admission Requirements

      Prerequisites for Admission to the Program:

      1. Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university.
      2. Minimum of 18 hours in English above Composition at the undergraduate level.*
      3. A 3.0 (B) average in all English courses is required, as is a 2.8 overall G.P.A.
      4. A writing sample, preferably a literary essay, is required.

      *Students may be required to fulfill undergraduate prerequisites as determined by the Graduate Advisor.

        Procedures for Admission to the Program:

        1. Apply for admission to the Westfield State University Graduate Program.
        2. Obtain a Graduate Program of Study form from the College of Graduate Studies.
        3. Schedule an appointment with the English Department Advisor to complete the Graduate Program of Study form. Secure the signatures of the Advisor, the Department Chair or Program Director, and the Dean of Graduate Studies after completion of the form. Submit this form within the first semester after you have been accepted in the program.

          M.A. in English leading to Professional Licensure 5-12 - 34 Credits

          Prerequisites: Initial licensure as a teacher of English in Massachusetts or approval of program director. See additional prerequisites for M.A. candidates listed in English 5-12, with Initial Teaching Licensure, M.A..


            A. Course Work - 30 Credits


            • ENGL 0539 - Advanced Methods of Teaching English
            • ENGL 0609 - Contemporary Issues in English Teaching
            • ENGL 0608 - Theories of Literary Criticism
            • One 600-level course in American literature Credits: 3
            • One 600-level course in British literature Credits: 3
            • One 500-level or 600-level course in Diverse Literatures Credits:3
            • One additional course at the 500 or 600 level: 3 Credits
            • Nine additional credits at the 600 level: 9 Credits


            **History of the English Language or the Structure of Modern English must be included in the program for students who have not had one of these courses as an undergraduate. Up to six credits may be taken in a related discipline (such as history). Written permission from the English Graduate Advisor, Director of the program or English Department Chair must be obtained before taking these credits.


              B. Capstone 4 Credits

              • ENGL 0646 - Pre-Capstone Course
              • ENGL 0626 - Seminar in English Education Capstone Experience