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Master's Program

Students in Graduate Seminar

MA students are a vital part of the English department community, enjoying an environment with a longstanding tradition of critical innovation and research excellence.

On this page:

Why UB English?

The Master's Program offers highly-motivated students the opportunity to study literature at an advanced level in an English department with an international reputation. With an emphasis on interdisciplinarity and dialogue between fields, the MA program encourages students to experiment and explore.

After taking two required courses, students are free to choose their classes from a large and diverse selection of research seminars in both English and other departments. MA students take their classes alongside PhD students, and have equal access to all graduate-level courses.

What you can do with an MA in English

Approximately a third of our MA students go on to pursue a PhD in literature or related fields, such as Art History, Anthropology, and Philosophy. Recent Master’s students have been accepted at places like Cornell, NYU, OSU, Notre Dame, UNC, Brown, UC-Irvine, and, of course, UB.

Another third of our students now have jobs in secondary education or writing, working as editors; technical, professional, and freelance writers; communications specialists; and grant writers for not-for-profit organizations.

A final third of MA students pursue careers in a range of fields, including most often law, business management, and marketing.

What are the requirements for completion?


The full degree program consists of 30 credits distributed as 8 seminars. This includes two required courses, both taken in the first semester:

  1. "ENG501: Introduction to Scholarly Methods" focuses on the practical skills necessary to succeed in the graduate study of literature, including editorial, bibliographic, and archival work;
  2. "ENG502: Introduction to Critical and Cultural Theory," is an advanced survey of contemporary criticism.

The degree can be completed in a year, although on average students finish in three semesters.

Thesis or Oral Exam and Project

To complete their MA, students usually write a critical and scholarly thesis of modest length (about 60-80 pages), read and approved by their Thesis Director. The completed thesis must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Alternatively, MA students may pass an oral exam based on a pre-approved reading list along with a suitable written project of about 20-30 pages.

How do I apply?

Apply online.

Undergraduates must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be considered for the MA.

This program offers no financial assistance.

Completed applications are due February 1st.

Contact Us

Carrie Tirado Bramen

Carrie Tirado Bramen

Associate Professor; Director of the MA Program

537 Clemens Hall

Phone: (716) 645-0707


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Joyce Troy

Administrative Assistant

Graduate Office

302 Clemens Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2567