The Master of Arts Program can lead to many opportunities including collegiate teaching and professional writing.

Earning an M.A. in English from Bemidji State University is a challenging and rewarding experience. This program will expand upon previous English studies and advance students’ understanding of literature. During their two years in the English M.A. program, students develop a scholarly thesis with an advisor. Graduate students in the M.A. program are also allowed to use a creative thesis to support their scholarly thesis.

The MA in English is particularly suitable for students who wish to go on to doctoral work, to pursue professional training of various kinds or to engage in other creative activities. It is open to students with an undergraduate major in English, a liberal arts background or a teacher education degree.

English MA Curriculum

The 30-credit MA program in English can typically be completed within two to three years. At least 50% of your course credits must be at the 6000 level, not including six thesis credits. You will have the option of completing either a thesis or creative thesis.

For more information on the courses in this program, visit the course catalog.


An extensive and detailed analysis of an approved topic in the area of English literature, American literature, literary criticism, composition, rhetoric or other appropriate subject presented in a form suitable for publication. The subject of the thesis must be approved by the advisor and the English graduate committee before the student may begin research.

Creative Thesis

The thesis may be a creative project for which a recommendation from the English graduate committee is required. The creative thesis is an option for the Master of Arts in English.

Comprehensive Exams

For the M.A. and M.S., satisfactory completion of three essay exams is required.

Thesis Defense

For M.A. and M.S., satisfactory completion of an oral thesis is required.

Master of Arts Language Requirement

To graduate with an M.A. in English, students must demonstrate competency in a second language at the second year, second semester level of a minimum grade of a B.

Application Process

  • Apply for admission to graduate study at Bemidji State, following the Graduate School guidelines. The Graduate Office will send copies of your documents to the Department of English
  • Submit the additional material described below to the School of Graduate Studies Office, Memorial Hall 310. These documents will be forwarded to the Department of English. The necessary additional documents are as follows:
    • A letter of application for graduate study in the Department of English addressed to the Department of English Director of Graduate Studies. The letter should include the following information:
      • The degree you wish to obtain (M.A., M.S.)
      • If applying for Graduate Assistantship (GA), a statement of intent.
      • A statement regarding the reasons for applying for graduate study and or applying for a GA.
      • A summary of experience, academic study, skills and interests that will be brought into your studies.
      • Other pertinent information that the Department of English should consider regarding your application.
    • The Graduate School requires two letters of recommendation. The Department of English accepts those used for Graduate School and also requires a third letter. If you are applying for a teaching Graduate Assistantship, ask the recommenders to comment on your potential as a classroom teacher. All three letters must be sent to the Graduate Office in Memorial Hall. They will send copies of the letters and other materials to the Department of English.

Application Deadlines

  • Applications are accepted at any time for graduate study in English.
  • Applications for Graduate Assistantships must be received by March 19 for assistantships for the following academic year. Applications received after March 19 will only be considered if assistantships are available

Tuition & Aid

We offer in-state/reciprocity tuition rates to all of our graduate students. Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information on options for funding your education.

Some students may qualify for a graduate assistantship, which includes a tuition waiver and stipend. GAs, in return, are expected to complete certain teaching and/or research assignments for the department.

Graduate Assistants

In the Department of English, graduates usually teach one section of freshman Composition each semester. They also enroll in a pre-teaching workshop, a composition seminar and a class in rhetoric and composition.