Graduate students studying in the library.


Applicants to the Master's program in English must hold a bachelor's degree from an institution accredited by one of the regional accrediting agencies. Applicants are normally expected to have at least eighteen undergraduate credits, with a focus on literature, and a 3.0 average in English, but applications are occasionally accepted from candidates who majored in related fields.

To earn the Master's degree, you will complete 30 credits, including a thesis or an oral/written field examination. 

The only two formal requirements are a course in American literature before 1900 and another in British or Irish literature before 1800. An average grade of at least "B" must be maintained to remain in the program. Full-time students complete the curriculum in two years, taking two or three courses each semester. You may also pursue your studies on a part-time basis, in which case you may take up to six years to earn the degree.

Coursework and Thesis/Field Exam

Your MA coursework provides you the opportunity to study in a variety of areas, while the thesis or field exam allows you to develop expertise in a particular field. If you elect to write a thesis, you will give sustained critical attention to an author, theme or small selection of texts. If you pursue the field examination, you will read a list of works compiled in consultation with your advisor that allows you to explore a field of your own definition.

Explore the titles of recent theses and field exams.


At all stages, the program is deeply committed to your development as a literary scholar. Before entering the program, you will be assigned an advisor who can help you plan your course of study. Once you've completed nine credits, you may request an advisor with expertise in your area of interest. For students interested in continuing to a PhD program, we have a special committee to help with writing samples, personal statements, and other aspects of the process.


Villanova’s graduate school tuition is very competitive, and there are a number of ways to finance your MA in English. All teachers receive a 20% discount and Catholic school teachers receive a 40% discount on tuition. Also, the program offers a number of graduate Tuition Scholarships and Assistantships. The Tuition Scholarships cover tuition for the program in exchange for seven hours per week of work. The Graduate Assistantships cover tuition and provide a stipend of over $19,000 per year. In exchange for this aid, Graduate Assistants work twenty hours per week as research assistants and writing tutors.

You can read more about funding, including unique opportunities like the Taught by Literature assistantship and the Graduate Presidential Fellowship for Underrepresented Students, on our funding opportunities page.


This new program combines the traditional, scholarly, literature-focused curriculum of the MA in English with a certificate designed to facilitate a career in such professional fields as public relations, marketing, university administration, electronic publishing and other areas in which cultural knowledge and advanced writing skills are in demand.

The Certificate in Communication will provide you with a unique opportunity to develop expertise in one of these professional areas while completing your English degree. The combined program requires 36 credits (24 credits in English, and 12 credits in Communication) to earn both a Masters degree and a Certificate in any one of these areas of Communication:

  • Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies
  • Journalism and New Media
  • Mediated Communication
  • Organizational Communication and Leadership
  • Public Relations and Advertising;

In addition to the traditional English curriculum you will take

  • ENG 8000: Literary Theory

and four courses from Villanova’s Communication Program:

  • COM 8100: Strategic Communication Theory
  • Three electives in Communication, chosen from lists of courses designated for each certificate program.

All Communication certificate students will be individually advised by the English Graduate Director.

The Communication certificate program's unique combination of English and Communication expertise can position you for a number of exciting career options.

This option permits students who are especially interested in secondary school teaching to take coursework from the Villanova Education Department in tandem with their English coursework. Through the certificate courses, you can develop advanced teaching techniques, learn about lesson planning and familiarize yourself with the uses of classroom technology, as well as cultivate more specialized knowledge in a range of areas of pedagogical theory and practice.

The Post-Baccalaureate Graduate Certificate in Education includes three required courses and two electives, one of which can be satisfied by a graduate English course.

This is not a PDE Certification Program and does not lead to PA Teaching Certification.

The Gender and Women's Studies certificate permits you to pursue specialized graduate coursework in Gender and Women’s studies while also earning your MA in English. This interdisciplinary 15-credit certificate program permits you to take courses focused on topics related to gender and sexuality from a wide range of graduate programs at Villanova, including History, Communication, Theater, Philosophy, Education, Psychology, Political Science and the Law School. Students are permitted to count two courses from the certificate toward their MA and one course from the MA toward their certificate.

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Gender and Women's Studies.

This program invites applications from those candidates who have already attained a Master’s degree (in English or Education) and who wish to extend or advance their graduate study.  

It allows qualified individuals to take five courses (fifteen credit hours) in a curriculum that they design to meet their professional interests and needs.

Interested candidates should supply transcripts of undergraduate and graduate degrees and an application to be considered for admission.




Curious but not ready to commit to pursuing an MA? We welcome you to apply as a non-matriculated student. 

This option permits you to take up to four English courses with a simple, streamlined application process. If you perform well in these courses, and you apply to and are accepted into the MA in English program, the credits from these courses can be transferred toward the degree. Non-matriculated students cannot be considered for financial aid. 

If you wish to apply to be a non-matriculated student, please contact the English Graduate Program Coordinator, Mike Malloy.

Department of English
St. Augustine Center
Room 402

Dr. Evan Radcliffe
Graduate Program Director

Mike Malloy
Graduate Program Coordinator


March 1: For admission with funding consideration

August 1: For admission without funding for the fall

December 1: For admission without funding for the spring

If you have missed a deadline, please contact Dr. Radcliffe to discuss your options.

Begin your application.


Hannah Kahn and Caitlin Salomon, grad students at a conference

Graduate English Students Present at Christianity & Literature Conference

English MA students Hannah Kahn and Caitlin Salomon recently presented at The Conference on Christianity and Literature’s (CCL) 2022 Western Regional conference, “Literary Geographies – Space, Place, and Environments.” READ MORE