Frequently Asked Questions

What degrees and certificates do you offer?

The Graduate English Program offers the M.A. degree in English.  We also offer a Post-M.A. certificate for students who have already received an M.A. in English or Education.  This certificate is earned by taking a sequence of five courses from the English Program’s graduate course offerings.  We do not offer the Ph.D.

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Can I be considered for admission if I do not have an undergraduate degree in English?

Applicants are normally expected to have at least 18 undergraduate credits in English, but applications are occasionally accepted from candidates who majored in related fields.

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Is it necessary to take the Graduate Record Exam for admission? What scores are required?

Yes, the Graduate Record Exam is required for admission, but there is no required score for admission.   

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Is it necessary to take the Literature Subject Graduate Record Exam?

No, the subject score is optional. While we prefer to receive the score if you have taken the GRE subject test, it is not a requirement for admission.

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What undergraduate GPA is required for admission to your program?

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 and should have a 3.0 average in English.

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Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation?

At least two of your three letters of recommendation should come from English faculty with whom you have studied as an undergraduate. The third letter can come from an employer or from a faculty member who taught you in an area other than literature.

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What are you looking for in a writing sample?

The writing sample should be a work of literary analysis that is 10 - 20 pages long. It should demonstrate your ability to articulate a clear, specific argument and to support that argument through close readings of a literary text or texts. It is preferable if the sample also makes reference to secondary critical sources, but this is not a requirement.

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What are you looking for in a personal statement?

The personal statement should address the following: the reason(s) you wish to pursue advanced study in literature; specific areas of literary study you hope to concentrate on; academic work you’ve done; how Villanova in particular might help you develop your intellectual interests; and what you would like to do with your MA.

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Are there fellowships available for your program?

Yes, full-time students who apply for fall admission can apply for Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Fellowships. The Graduate Assistantship provides a tuition waiver as well as a yearly stipend of roughly $16,000. Students who receive Graduate Assistantships work as research assistants for graduate faculty members and as tutors at the Writing Center for a combined 20 hours per week. The Tuition Fellowship consists of a tuition waiver. Students who receive Tuition Fellowships work seven hours per week as research assistants.

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How many students receive fellowships?

Roughly 30% of our incoming full-time students receive funding in the form of a Graduate Assistantship or Tuition Fellowship from the department. In addition, some incoming students receive funding in other department offices at Villanova. You can find more information about additional opportunities here.

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How do I apply for the fellowships?

There is no separate application for the fellowships. Students who wish to be considered for them should simply check the box indicating interest in being considered for fellowships on the application.

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Can I be considered for a fellowship if I apply for spring admission?

No, only applicants for fall admission are eligible for fellowship consideration.

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What are the deadlines for applying?

The deadline for admission for the fall is March 1 and for the spring is November 15.  If you have missed a deadline, please contact Dr. Evan Radcliffe, Director of the Graduate Program, at (610) 519-4648 or at evan.radcliffe@villanova.edu to discuss your options.

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What if I'm not ready to apply for the MA but I want to take a few courses?

If you aren't sure you're ready to pursue the full MA program, or you've been out of school for a while and want to try  taking a few courses, we encourage you to apply as a non-matriculated student.  As a non-matriculated student you can take up to four courses in our program.  Non-matriculated students are not eligible for fellowships.

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What is the difference between a thesis and a field exam?

Upon completion of coursework, you have the option of either writing a thesis, which provides you with the opportunity to generate a sustained work of literary analysis, or taking a field examination, which permits broader coverage of a particular area of interest.  In either case, this final stage of the Master’s degree affords you an opportunity to pursue an area of interest deeply, while receiving extensive guidance from a faculty advisor of your choosing. You can find examples of recent theses and field exams here.

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