Master's Programs

Students in Graduate Seminar.

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Why UB English?

From Medievalism to Modernism, psychoanalysis to popular culture, creative writing to digital communication, UB English offers a truly eclectic course of study that combines historical range with theoretical expertise. The Master’s Program provides highly motivated students the opportunity to study literature at an advanced level in an English department with an international reputation.

The UB English Department is the home of the Poetics Program, the Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture, and offers certificates in Professional Writing and Digital Communication and Innovative Writing. Faculty and students in the department are actively involved with the UB Humanities Institute, the Center for Disability Studies, and a host of interdisciplinary graduate working groups. Students have access to the James Joyce Collection, a world-class poetry collection, the Marianne Moore Digital Archive, and the George Kelly Paperback and Pulp Fiction Collection (all housed at UB), as well as the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC), and opportunities to meet esteemed visiting writers during our many speaker series

The Masters program offers an affordable degree in one of the most affordable cities in the US, with a varied and vibrant intellectual and artistic scene that includes such mainstays as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Shea’s Performing Arts Center as well as more experimental venues such as Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center and Squeaky Wheel. There are also over twenty theater companies.

Our graduates go on a to do a wide range of things.  Approximately a third go on to pursue a PhD in literature or related fields; recent MA students have gone to places like NYU, Cornell, Brown, UNC, Notre Dame, and, of course UB.  Another third of our MAs go on to jobs in secondary education or writing – working as teachers, editors, communications specialists, and grant writers for not-for-profit organizations. A final third of MA students are applying the skills picked up at UB to a wide range of other careers, from law and entertainment to management and marketing.  

The MA in English at UB is highly customizable, offering a variety of students with a variety of interests to succeed.

The BA/MA program allows qualified UB undergraduates to begin work on their MA during their senior year, earning both degrees in just 5 years..

The Certificate in Innovative Writing presents a unique form of graduate study in creative writing, closely intertwining the practice of writing with literary and aesthetic inquiries. The Innovative Writing Program is not currently accepting applications.

What are the requirements for completion?


The full degree program consists of 30 credits distributed as 8 seminars. Only two courses are required

  • ENG 501: Intro to Scholarly Methods, which focuses on the practical skills necessary to succeed in the graduate study of literature, including editorial, bibliographic, and archival work
  • ENG 502: Intro to Critical and Cultural Theory, which is an advanced survey of contemporary criticism

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?

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

The priority deadline for applications to the MA program is February 15. We will continue to review applications after that date on a space-available basis. 

Contact Us

Jason Maxwell

Assistant Professor; Director of the MA Program

317 Clemens Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2558


Joyce Troy

Administrative Assistant

Graduate Office

302 Clemens Hall

Phone: (716) 645-2567