English Graduate Programs

Welcome to Graduate Studies in English at the University of Montevallo!

We offer several options for continuing your studies at the graduate level. Whether you are interested in scholarly research, creative projects, technical writing, training to teach at the college level, or earning certification to teach grades 6-12 at the secondary level, we can help you choose the path that is right for your personal and professional goals. We can also help you reach these goals with generous funding packages and relevant employment opportunities. Our Graduate Instructor Fellowships provide paid one-on-one teaching experiences in your first year. Our Graduate Teaching Assistantship program provides valuable experience as instructor-of-record and provides a stipend, tuition waiver, and hands-on pedagogical training in your second year.

The small size of our M.A. program stresses close mentoring with faculty, professional development, and a curriculum tailored to your individual interests.

We offer a standalone M.A. in English as well as dual degree and certificate options for students who wish to combine their studies in English with a graduate degree in Education.

English Graduate Programs Overview

English M.A. Program Overview

  • English M.A. Overview coverM.A. in English (30 credits, 2 years) This degree helps you develop publishable research and writing in literary scholarship, creative writing, professional writing, or the applied humanities. The M.A. in English provides preparation for humanities-related professional fields, college-level teaching, or for further graduate work through Ph.D. or M.F.A. programs. Your degree will be in English. This degree does not certify you to teach grades 6-12.
  • Joint M.A./M.Ed. in English and Education (55 credits, 3 Years) This dual degree offers certification and criteria fulfilment to teach grades 6-12, dual enrollment, and college courses. It strengthens your credentials for teaching AP or IB English courses. Italso prepares you for Ph.D. or M.F.A. programs through scholarly research or creative work. You will hold two degrees: one in English and one in Education.
  • M.Ed. with Criteria Fulfillment for College Teaching (46 credits, 2 years) This program offers certification and criteria fulfilment to teach grades 6-12, dual enrollment, and college courses. It strengthens your credentials for teaching AP or IB English courses. You will take graduate-level English coursework but your degree will be in Education.

Students who wish to enroll in the joint M.A./M.Ed. should fill out separate applications to the English department for the M.A. and the school of education for the alternative master’s in secondary education.

Contact Dr. Emma Atwood at with questions or requests for additional information about our graduate programs in English.

Career and Graduate School Placements

  • Communications at the Mayo Clinic
  • Legal Secretary at Baker Donelson
  • Lecturer, University of Alabama–Birmingham
  • Full time instructor, Shelton State Community College
  • Birmingham City Schools, High School ELA teacher
  • Accepted into graduate programs including the MFA Program at UMASS-Amherst; the PhD Program at UT-Dallas; the PhD Program at LSU

Alumnus Perspectives

Levi PulfordBefore attending the M.A. program at UM, I didn’t have any teaching or mentoring experience. During my time in the program, my professors offered impactful guidance on my writing, learning, and professional development. In the program, I served as the graduate assistant of the Harbert Writing Center and as a graduate instructor of a composition practicum. Across both roles, I gained knowledge and experience while working with all kinds of students who were invested in improving their writing. This work has been foundational for the work I have gone on to do as a college instructor, writing center associate, and graduate peer mentor. – Levi Pulford, Writer, English B.A. ’17, M.A. ‘21

Amy CatesI have been a full-time faculty member in the UAB Department of English since 2017. My course load is currently Honors sections of first-year writing and 200-level survey literature. Outside of the classroom, Summer 2023 was my second consecutive residency at Rockvale Writers Colony, where I am worked on a collection of creative nonfiction. I also participate in the MTSU Write program as both a writer and as an active member of the program’s nonfiction writing group. The M.A. experience is such a gift—you take only English classes. How much more enjoyable could it be? My advice is to choose classes that fit your interests, but also look for those that offer perspectives or highlight topics you might not have considered before. – Amy Cates, Lecturer at University of Alabama—Birmingham, M.A. ‘12

Funding your Graduate Career

The University of Montevallo has repeatedly been named one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. Our English program was recently named best in the state by We are proud to combine the quality of an elite education with affordability.


Current graduate tuition and fees are posted here.

Graduate Instructor Fellowships

We regularly offer several fellowships for English M.A. students who are interested in working as graduate instructors in UM’s innovative English 100 program. English M.A. students can begin working as Graduate Instructors starting in their first semester. Instructors gain valuable experience designing and teaching composition curriculum for one-on-one meetings with undergraduates. Fellowships include a stipend of $1500 per semester. Applications are available starting May 1 on the UM employment website.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

In the second year of the English M.A. program, graduate students who have completed eighteen credit hours can apply to serve as Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs). GTAs teach two sections of English 101 in the fall and two sections of English 101 in the spring in exchange for twelve hours of tuition remission (i.e., free tuition) and a stipend of $4500 per semester. GTAs will take a graduate-level pedagogy course before they begin teaching which will count towards their M.A. degree. GTAs will be supervised and advised by the English Graduate Program Coordinator. Applications for the following fall are available starting December 1 on the UM employment website.

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of university-wide graduate assistantships are periodically offered. The graduate coordinator will notify students as opportunities become available. The application process varies depending on the department offering the assistantship. Graduate assistants are students first and employees second. They have as their primary focus advanced study and ultimately the completion of a graduate degree. Therefore, the services they provide as graduate assistants should complement professional development in their chosen field of study.

Graduate assistants must maintain the cumulative 3.0 grade point average required of all graduate students and must perform satisfactorily in the judgment of the employing department/supervisor. Graduate assistantships are contingent based on availability.

Graduate Student Research & Conference Funding

Funding is set aside each year for graduate students to conduct research or present work at academic conferences. Requests for awards should be approved by your faculty advisor, endorsed by the department chair, and delivered to the Office of Graduate Admissions and Records. The application should include a proposed projected budget of expenses, information about department cost sharing, and specific travel details. Fall funding applications are due September 15. Spring funding applications are due February 1.

Graduate Student Scholarships

Learn more about scholarship opportunities here.

General Financial Aid

Be sure to download the myStudentAid app (Federal Student Aid) for ease in filing your FAFSA (available October 1st). The IRS data retrieval tool can help streamline the process. If you need assistance with filing your FAFSA, contact the Student Aid Office.

Application Information

To apply for admission to the English M.A. program, you will need the following materials:

  • Completed application
  • A one-page statement of purpose outlining your reasons for pursuing the English M.A.
  • A writing sample of 10-25 pages of the applicant’s best scholarly work
  • Students interested in creative writing may choose to send an additional creative writing sample of no more than 15 pages
  • Two letters of reference from current or past professors (or others familiar with the applicant’s scholarly potential). The online application software will send automated requests to your references on your behalf.
  • Copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs you have attended

Electronic official transcript delivery is a new delivery method offered in partnership with eSCRIP-SAFE. Transcripts from institutions that are members of the eSCRIP-SAFE network will be delivered electronically with the student’s signed request. To see a list of institutions within the network, view the eSCRIP-SAFE network membership list. If your college(s) is on the list, contact the respective registrar or records office to have your transcripts electronically sent to

We recommend that you submit an application to our office before submitting transcripts and other admission items because this allows us to anticipate the arrival of these items. This is especially true for students who may have alternate or maiden names on their transcripts.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Priority application dates are as follows:

  • Fall: July 15
  • Spring: November 15
  • Summer: April 15

Applicants may submit materials after the deadline with the understanding that submitting materials after the priority deadline does not guarantee consideration for admission for the following term. We pride ourselves on a rapid turn-around time in our decision making and will gladly assist you through each step of the application process.

Admission FAQ

Can I apply before completing my undergraduate degree?

Applicants who fall into this category must submit a final transcript with a degree posted before the end of the first semester of graduate coursework. Students may not take additional coursework without a final transcript on file in College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Admissions and Records.

What if my undergraduate degree isn’t in English?

If you have a degree in a field other than English, you will be asked to enroll in a three-course sequence (9 credit hours) of the departmental survey of Literature in English (305, 306, 307) before continuing on to the 30 hours of coursework required by the program.

Is there a minimum GPA to apply?

The minimum GPA for admission is 2.5 cumulative; if an applicant falls below this threshold, the committee will review the transcript, consult with the applicant regarding any extenuating circumstances, and make a final determination.

What is the difference between conditional and unconditional admission?

An unconditional admission is granted when all the minimum requirements for admission have been met. A conditional admission is granted when the applicant has not compiled with specific departmental requirements. A conditionally admitted student can take no more than 12 graduate hours and eligibility for financial aid is also affected. Graduate credit at UM will not be awarded until the requirements for unconditional admission have been met.

What is the required GPA for retention and graduation once I have been admitted to a graduate program?

A 3.0 GPA is required. A graduate student whose GPA falls below the required 3.0 will be placed on academic warning and will have one term of enrollment in which to raise the GPA.

What is the graduate course load?

Regular Term (Fall or Spring): Full-time = nine or more graduate hours / Part-time = fewer than nine graduate hours

Summer Term: Full-time = nine or more graduate hours spanning from May to the summer terms/Part-time = fewer than five graduate hours spanning from May, Summer I, and Summer II

How much graduate coursework can I transfer to UM?

A maximum of six credit hours (10 quarter hours) of graduate work, approved by UM, may be transferred from a regionally accredited institution. Such credit must have been earned within six years prior to the granting of the degree. No course may be transferred with a grade lower than B, and no course may be transferred with a grade of pass/fail. Course equivalency is determined by the department chair. Transfer credit practices are consistent with American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO).

How long does my file stay active once I have been admitted into the program?

Students who are admitted to graduate study, either conditionally or unconditionally, can begin within two years. Admitted students who do not enroll within two years will be required to reapply should they later decide to enroll.

M.A. Credit Requirements

For the M.A. in English, you will select, in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator, a total of 30 semester hours of graduate courses. The courses must be taken in the English department unless deemed appropriate by the Graduate Program Coordinator. Six of these hours should be taken in graduate seminars (English 590). Additionally, you should enroll in English 500 (Introduction to Graduate Studies) during the first year of graduate study. Any exception must be approved by the department. The remaining 6 hours of the degree are earned by a Master’s Thesis and are directed by your chosen thesis advisor.

Please refer to the M.A. English Handbook for sample timelines and additional details about the program.

Master’s Thesis Options

In your second year of the English M.A. program, you will conduct independent work on a Master’s Thesis, supervised by a faculty member of your choice. Montevallo’s innovative English M.A. program helps you shape your degree to your personal and professional goals. Students choose from four distinct tracks for the final thesis, tailored to a variety of interests:

The Critical Thesis allows students to produce original academic research with an aim towards peer-reviewed publication, preparing students for Ph.D. programs and other advanced scholarly work.

The Creative Thesis allows students to compose fiction, poetry, or other creative writing projects and assists in securing venues for publication.

The Professional Writing Thesis allows students to develop a portfolio of professional writing while participating in an internship.

The Applied Humanities Thesis provides opportunities to apply humanities research and training to private, non-profit, and government sectors through internships and public service.

The Graduate Program Coordinator and your individual faculty advisor can help you choose the path that is right for your personal and professional goals.

Recent M.A. Thesis Projects

Ashlynn Partridge, M.A. ‘23

Critical Thesis, “The Labyrinth of Liminality: Revisiting Shakespeare’s Famous Daughters”

Kimberly Hull, M.A. ‘22

Creative Thesis, Real Magic (Fiction)

Anjum Lnu, M.A. ‘21

Critical Thesis, “The Interplay of Emotions in Wuthering Heights”

Mary Ashley Canevaro, M.A. ‘19

Applied Humanities Thesis, “Walden and Alden” (Internship with Alden Systems)

Emma Atwood is an Associate Professor of English in the Department of English and World Languages in the College of Arts and Sciences and the English, M.A. Program Coordinator.

She received her B.A from Kalamazoo College and her Ph.D. from Boston College. She joined the faculty of the University of Montevallo in 2016.

Dr. Atwood specializes in Early Modern British Literature and Culture. At Montevallo, she teaches courses in Shakespeare, Early Modern Drama, Renaissance Women and Gender, Utopian Literature, Homer, Pedagogy, and Composition. She has published articles and reviews with JSTOR Daily; Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation; Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal; Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England; the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Comparative DramaThe Map of Early Modern LondonThis Rough MagicShakespeare Bulletin; and Early Theatre. She is co-editing a critical digital edition of a 17th century cookbook, The Court & Kitchin of Elizabeth, commonly called Joan Cromwell. Her co-edited book Teaching Shakespeare Beyond the Major is forthcoming with Palgrave MacMillan.

Dr. Atwood has presented papers at the Stratford Theatre Festival in Ontario, Canada; the Durham Early Modern Studies Conference in Durham, England; the Shakespeare Association of America; the Renaissance Society of America; the Modern Language Association; the Harvard Humanities Center; the Hudson Strode Center for Renaissance Studies; and the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. She is the recipient of a travel fellowship from the Attingham Summer School and a fellowship from the Mellon School of Theatre and Performance Research.

You can access her articles and visit her page here:

Alumni Spotlight

How did the M.A. program at UM prepare you?

Before attending the M.A. program at UM, I didn’t have any teaching or mentoring experience. During my time in the program, my professors offered impactful guidance on my writing, learning, and professional development. In the program, I served as the graduate assistant of the Harbert Writing Center and as a graduate instructor of a composition practicum. Across both roles, I gained knowledge and experience while working with all kinds of students who were invested in improving their writing. This work has been foundational for the work I have gone on to do as a college instructor, writing center associate, and graduate peer mentor.

What are you up to now?

I have served as a teaching assistant for the Thrive Scholars Summer Academy at Amherst College, working with high-achieving, under-resourced students of color on their writing skills and college application materials. During this past academic year, I served as a graduate assistant director in the UMass Writing Program, for which I mentored first-year instructors while I taught college writing. I am currently a writing associate in the Writing Center at Amherst College, where I am fortunate to continue working with student writing in a liberal arts curriculum, and next year I will also be a lecturer in the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences at Umass Amherst.

What advice would you give students considering an M.A. at UM?

If you are considering an English M.A. at UM, you should talk with a faculty member and with current students in order to get a sense for how the program can support your goals. Graduate programs can be difficult to navigate prior to applying, so don’t be afraid to reach out! The sooner you start working on your application materials, the more time you will have to not only revise your personal statement and writing sample but also to reflect on your identity as a writer.

— Levi Pulford

Request Information

For more information about the M.A. program in English or to schedule a campus visit, please contact Dr. Emma Atwood at