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Master of Arts

Master of Arts

Simmons's Master of Arts in English provides a strong foundation in English and American literature and in literary theory and analysis. Our versatile program includes a broad offering of courses and personalized plans of study. Students may pursue the study of traditional classics as well cutting-edge theory, with course topics ranging from Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, to postcolonial fiction, feminist film theory, and race and gender in psychoanalytic discourse. The Simmons English program attracts students who wish to teach, pursue a Ph.D. or choose a profession that requires expertise in the critical analysis of literature.

Degree Options

"I left Simmons feeling very confident about my ability to master a text and teach others. Now, just like my Simmons professors, I guide my students by throwing out big questions and letting them develop their own revelations and relationships to the reading."
—Jackie Hall, GS‘09
M.A. in English
Adjunct Professor at Emerson College, Boston College, and Lesley University

The 32-credit English program is individually prescribed; the student is permitted to take certain courses in subjects closely adjacent to English provided these courses are directly relevant to a coherent plan of graduate work. Students in the English program may also pursue dual degrees in Children's Literature and English or English and Teaching.

Children's Literature and English - This 56-credit program consists of seven courses in Children's Literature and seven courses in English. The Children's Literature component includes five core courses and two elective courses. English courses include Contemporary Critical Theory (ENGL 405) and six electives.

English and Teaching — English students may simultaneously pursue a degree in Teaching through Simmons's 64-credit Teaching and Liberal Arts (MAT/M.A.) dual-degree program, and become certified as an elementary, middle, or high school teacher.


Each student entering the program is required to take ENGL 405, Contemporary Critical Theory, unless he/she has had the equivalent. Most students will be encouraged to take ENGL 590, our Seminar in Literary scholarship. At the discretion of the department, students may be allowed to write a thesis as one of their courses. The remainder of the program is elected from courses best adapted to the student's needs and interests as determined in consultation with the program director. A full course load is three courses per semester. Although the program may be completed in one academic year (consisting of three courses in the fall, three courses in the spring and two courses in the summer), most students choose to extend their studies beyond one year to explore their interests more thoroughly. Part-time students may take up to seven years to complete the degree.