English, MA (Writing)

Master of Arts Degree in English with a Emphasis in Writing

University of Nebraska at Kearney

  • Fully Online
  • 36
  • $315.00
  • $504.00

Program Overview

The online English, MA is designed for students interested in the advanced study of composition and genre.  

Why students choose this program:

  • To improve their writing skills and instructional strategies in existing teaching career paths. 
  • To gain critical thinking and communication skills as they better understand and are able to critique the writing of others. 
  • The diversity in coursework covers a variety of areas including poetry, fiction, drama and creative nonfiction writing. 
  • The fully online, non-thesis program does not have a residency requirement. 
  • A low teacher/student ratios foster student/professor relationships. 
  • For personal enrichment and educational accomplishment.

Note: Although this program does not grant certification to teach English, many students utilize their skills to improve their own writing or instructional strategies in existing teaching career paths.

Students select one of the following focus areas:

  • Literature. Students will explore written and aural works that are considered to be of artistic or popular merit across a range of cultures, regions and contexts.
  • Creative Writing. Students will focus on the experiential practice of writing through the creation of original poems, stories, creative nonfiction essays, etc.
  • Childhood and Youth Studies. Students explore literary texts and visual/other media written and produced for or aimed at children and youth.
  • Composition, Rhetoric and Language. Students will combine the study of rhetoric, composition and English language studies.

Career Outlook: Communication, critical thinking and writing skills are some of the most sought after skills sought in any career field. These in-demand competencies span the job market. 

This program has the opportunity to help students expand their career options as it complements the following career paths: 

  • Teachers
  • Lawyers
  • Professors
  • School administrators
  • Web developers
  • Corporate communicators
  • Authors

When looking at employment growth, you must look at generic employment growth since the program provides a strong foundation for a wide variety of careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for those with master's degrees is 16% higher than those with undergraduate degrees.

Admissions and Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

  1. A Bachelor's degree

  2. Completed coursework

    18 credit hours in English

  3. Taken the TOEFL

    (Only required if English is not your native language)

  4. A written personal statement

    Letter of application describing the candidate's motivation for pursing graduate work at UNK, experience in the discipline and educational goals

  5. Official transcripts from all previous schools

NOTE: This program is authorized, exempt, or not subject to state regulatory compliance and may enroll students from all 50 states

To apply to this program:

  • Complete and submit the online application for admissions
  • Pay the $45 non-refundable application fee

Courses You’ll Take

Course Information

Program of Study: Department Core Courses - 9 credits (ENG 806 (Principles of Literary Criticism) OR ENG 807 (History of Literary Criticism), Literature of the United States, Literature of English and the Commonwealth and World Literature). Writing Emphasis Courses - 18 credits (ENG 803, 814, 822P, 823P, 824, 825, 833, 871P, 895, or 899). Supporting Courses (800-level electives) - 9 credits

Core Courses

Course NumberCourse NameCredits
ENG 814Writing Tutorial3
Individual or group tutorial focusing on macro elements of discourse, including but not limited to aims and purposes; argumentation and categories of argument; strategies of arrangement and emphasis; coherence and cohesion. The tutorial primarily serves the needs of students working on written projects, especially theses
ENG 822PPoetry Writing3
An opportunity for students to write their own poetry, to investigate what it means, and to develop poetic touchstones by studying a few outstanding poets of the Western tradition. Prereq: consent of instructor
ENG 806Principles of Literary Criticism3
An application of literary theories to selected literary works.
ENG 895Directed Readings1 - 3
Individual research under the guidance of a graduate faculty member. Proposals for Directed Readings must be approved in advance by the Graduate Director and Department Chair.
ENG 825Creative Nonfiction3
This course examines the concept and contemporary forms of creative nonfiction, including memoir, biography, essay, letter, journal, prose poetry, and combined forms, as well as crossover with fiction in both writing techniques and content shaping. Students will be expected both to critically examine and to write nonfiction.
ENG 899Special Topics in Writing1 - 3
This course is intended to provide opportunity for the offering of literary topics not covered by the regular curriculum. Topics are not limited to but can include the study of a single author, a particular genre or theme, and/or comparative or world literature.
ENG 807History of Literary Criticism3
This seminar investigates the connections and discontinuities found in literary criticism from Plato to present-day critical theory. By observing the shifts in various theoretical interests, critical theory will be seen as part of a larger intellectual and cultural history.
ENG 803Descriptive Linguistics3
An introduction to descriptive linguistics with emphasis on phonology, syntax, and morphology, as they apply to the study of English as a language.
ENG 871PLanguage & Composition in the Secondary School3
Study of topics and issues in rhetorical, linguistic, and literacy theory as related to the teaching of language arts.
ENG 823PFiction Writing3
A study of the techniques of prose fiction, primarily through an examination of student manuscripts written for the class. The class may also study prose techniques in some published contemporary short fiction. Prereq: consent of instructor
ENG 824Drama Writing3
An advanced course in drama writing. Formal requirements of the drama are studied extensively while writers also concentrate on the methods and principles of literary adaptation.

Tuition & Fees

Nebraska Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours


Out of State Residents

Per Credit Hour


3 Credit Hours

Sam Umland, Ph.D.
Professor, Department Chair

Sam Umland's areas of specialization are literary theory, popular culture and film and media studies. He was the recipient of the Pratt-Heins Award for Distinguished Research in 2004 and named Department Chair in 2011.

Application Deadlines
  • Fall SemesterJul 10
  • Spring SemesterNov 10
  • Summer SessionsApr 10