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Open your mind — and open your world — as you learn to read critically and develop persuasive arguments in a global context.

Clark’s master’s in English program imparts disciplinary practices for studying literature, reading closely, and integrating secondary scholarship. Equipped with this foundation of skills, you’ll gain insights into the narratives that shape our culture and society. The program promotes a broad view of literary studies within American and international contexts, and lets individual students narrow their specific focus through a thesis project on a topic of their choice.

Why Study at Clark?

  • Join a close-knit community of scholars and add richness to your educational journey by exploring courses in other disciplines — diving into history, psychology, the arts, and more.
  • Enroll in one of the few master’s programs in English to offer teaching assistantships and merit-based scholarships.
  • Undertake an individual thesis project with the guidance of your faculty adviser.

Student Spotlight

Jacqueline Schnieber

A New Take on a Timeless Classic

Master’s candidate Jacqueline Schnieber’s thesis examines Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories through a new lens. She considers the significance of the inclusion of non-white characters in these celebrated short stories.

Good literature will challenge you to expand your horizon or look at something from a different perspective.
—Jacqueline Schnieber

The Essentials

Program Overview

Our curriculum includes a required introduction to literary studies, as well as elective special-topics seminars in a range of geographical contexts and time periods. Working closely with your adviser, you will identify an area of focus for your thesis research and complete a project that builds on your unique scholarly interests.

Most students earn their degree in three or four semesters. Students must be in residence for at least one year (two years are required for recipients of a T.A. award). In addition, students must:

  • Attend the Departmental Colloquia, a noncredit course in which faculty and students present work in progress, share thesis updates, and hear guest speakers.
  • Successfully complete an oral defense of their thesis before two or more faculty readers.
  • The ability to analyze both written texts and broader cultural narratives
  • An understanding of the social and cultural contexts that shape literature
  • Independent and in-depth research skills with a range of archival resources
  • Familiarity with historical and cultural frameworks that influence our daily life
  • Advanced Studies in Shakespeare
  • Literary Theory and Global Culture
  • Traumatic Tales: British Romantic Literature and Nationhood
  • Special Topics in 19th-century Literature: Queer Victorians
  • Fictions of Empire: Studies in Global English Literature
  • Special Topics in African American Literature: African American Science Fiction
  • Ecologies in Crisis: Views from the Humanities


3 to 4 semesters over 1.5 to 2 years

8 course units

  • 2 core courses
    (Introduction to Graduate Studies and a thesis course)
  • 6 electives

Course Catalog

Explore what the Department of English has to offer.