Basic requirements:

Students must complete 36 graduate semester credits, including:

  • Five (5) seminars (i.e., LIT 500 or 520 or 521 or 522) – 15 credits total
  • At least five (5) other courses, including: additional LIT seminars, 400–level UG LIT classes, WRIT 540 for teaching assistants, independent study coursework (see notes below), coursework in other programs (see notes below), 300–level UG LIT classes (see notes below) – 15 credits total

NOTE: If you take fewer than six (6) thesis credits, you will need to take more than five courses in this category in order to reach 36 credits.

  • Thesis credits – 6 credits maximum

NOTE: Thesis credits can be earned at any time, in any number. You will receive CR (credit) for all of them retroactively, when the thesis is successfully completed. Before that time, you neither pass nor fail, but instead receive a "grade" that certifies that your work is continuing.

Other requirements:

If they have not been taken at another college or university, the following prerequisites must be satisfied during your course of study in the M.A. program:

  • Two (2) courses in pre-1800 literature
  • Two (2) courses in literary criticism and/or theory


300–level UG classes are discouraged except when deficiencies in coursework cannot be made up in any other way; such coursework cannot exceed six (6) credits (normally two courses); keep in mind that faculty members will in some circumstances be willing to convert 300–level credits into a 500–level independent study (with the appropriate increase in expectations relative to the reading load and writing assignments).

Independent Study (LIT 595) coursework cannot exceed nine (9) credits (normally three courses, but this work can be done in 1– or 2–credit increments), and must receive prior approval from a faculty sponsor and the Associate Chair, in the form of signatures on a proposal form (forms can be found in LA 133).

Coursework outside the Literature program (which must be designated G or UG) cannot exceed nine (9) credits (normally three courses), and must receive prior approval from the Director of Literature.