Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences
Shanks Hall houses the departments of English and Communication.
181 Turner Street NW, Shanks Hall 323 A, Mail Code 0112 Blacksburg VA 24061
Shanks Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MA
MA Degree in English
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Jan 16
To get Google Maps directions from:

The Graduate School
Shanks Hall

Get Directions

Department Chair : Kelly Pender
Associate Department Chair : Gena Chandler-Smith
Graduate Program Director(s) : Katharine Cleland (MA Program Director), Katharine Cleland (Director of Graduate Studies)
Professors: Charlene Eska; Joseph Eska; Kenneth Hodges; Derek Mueller; Su Fang Ng; Kelly Pender; Katrina Powell; David Radcliffe; Rebecca Weaver-Hightower
Associate Professors: Katie Carmichael; Gena Chandler-Smith; Katharine Cleland; Anthony Colaianne; James Dubinsky; Shoshana Knapp; Ashley Reed; Andrew Wadoski; Abby Walker
Assistant Professors: Sweta Baniya; Silas Cassinelli; Carolyn Commer; Julie Gerdes; Cana Itchuaqiyaq; Chris Lindgren; Geovani Ramirez; Tyechia Thompson; Travis Webster; Avery Wiscomb
Visiting Faculty: Emily Waldman
Clifford A. Cutchins III Professor of English: Su Fang Ng
Assistant Professor of Practice: Megan Weaver

Master of Arts in English Program

The MA in English program focuses on the advanced study of literature and its cultural and historical contexts. Students take 36 hours of coursework in a variety of literary fields and in other related fields/disciplines in accordance with their own goals and interests.

The program offers courses in American, British, Premodern, Multiethnic, Indigenous, and World literatures. It has particular strengths in Early Modern, Postcolonial, and African American literature, as well as in the Digital Humanities. The program is also highly interdisciplinary, allowing students to take electives in the Department of English's other graduate programs (MFA in Creative Writing and PhD in Rhetoric and Writing). Students can further pursue interdisciplinary coursework through completing a Graduate Certificate (such as in Africana Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and many other topics). In their second year, students work closely with the program’s award-winning faculty to research and write a capstone project.

Our program builds core competencies in critical reading, writing, research, and analysis. These skills can be applied in a variety of ways beyond the MA degree, and we are proud of our students' success after graduation. Many of our graduates have entered PhD in English programs, while others have pursued careers in high school- or instructor-level teaching, publishing, editing, technical or professional writing, research libraries, and higher education.

Applicants who are interested in our graduate teaching assistantships should apply no later than January 16, 2024.

For more information about our Master of Arts degree in English, please consult our website:

Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Computer
      • 233.0
    • iBT
      • 90.0

The MA in English program requires 36 hours of coursework. All students must take two required courses in Literary Research (ENGL 5014) and Critical Theory (ENGL 5024). Students who are funded as Graduate Teaching Assistants in the First Year Writing classroom must also take a course on the Theory and Practice of University Writing Instruction (ENGL 5004). The final requirement is the completion of a Capstone Project. The Capstone Project has a thesis (6 credits) and a non-thesis (3 credits) option. Since the field of literary studies is highly interdisciplinary, students may take six of their credits outside of the department.


The GRE general and subject test are NOT REQUIRED for admission to the MA in English program.

*For International Students*

International students seeking admission must receive a minimum TOEFL score of 90 or an IELTS score of 6.5 for admission.  Students must also receive a TOEFL score of 20 or higher in the Listening, Writing, Speaking, and Reading subsections. In addition to these tests, English proficiency can also be demonstrated through a conferred bachelor's degree from an accredited university where English is the medium of instruction. In this instance, the Graduate School will code a waiver of the English proficiency requirement into the student's application. Students can confirm degree conferral and English as the medium of instruction by submitting their official transcripts with the application.

For more information about policies and the application process for international students, consult the following links:

Direct additional inquiries to Ms. Marie Trimmer, Graduate Programs Coordinator ( or 540-231-4659).

English Facilities Introduction


The 360 Digital Studio at Virginia Tech

 The 360 Digital Studio at Virginia Tech is located on the second floor of the English Department (Shanks Hall 360).

Students enrolled in any English classes at Virginia Tech may use the 360 Digital Studio to 

  • Print Assignments for Classes
  • Work on group projects using any one of the 6 large tv screens and other resources
  • Access professional software (40+) with various design, word processing, and data analysis capabilities

For more information about The 360 Digital Studio, consult the following link:

The Center for Rhetoric in Society

The Center for Rhetoric in Society is located on the third floor of the English Department (Shanks Hall 340 E) on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The Center was formed in 2006 in the Department of English. With a mission to investigate language use through rhetorical and narrative analysis to understand significant social problems, the Center serves as an incubator for individual and collaborative research projects, events, and community outreach programs. We ask how language inspires people to action and how writing changes society and why. We search for answers by studying everything from the communication strategies of national social change movements to everyday rhetorics that often go unnoticed and unexamined. We share our findings at conferences and in publications and through outreach programs and other events. The CRS is an affiliated center with the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment and various projects have received seed funding from ISCE.
Learn more about opportunities to get involved with the center and contact us if you’d like more information at or consult our website at

The Linguistics Speech Lab

The Linguistics Speech Lab is housed on the second floor of the English Department (Shanks Hall 254). The Speech Lab is 

  • A venue for meetings
  • A place to process linguistic data
  • A place to collect linguistic data (through interviews or experiments)
  • The home of linguistic corpora
  • The home of useful equipment and a mini-library

The Lab is available to faculty, undergraduate, and graduate researchers. For more info, please contact Abby Walker at or Katie Carmichael at or consult our website at

Add this course listing feed to your website.
XML Feed Widget

Course Listing for English