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English Literature

Master of Arts
  • 30 Credits
  • School of Liberal Arts
  • Online
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Expand Your Horizons with an Online M.A. in English Literature

A leading online literary program, Mercy's is one of the first master's in English literature to be offered fully online.

Will you pen the next great American novel? Or write a critically-acclaimed study of Danticat, Dante, or Hemingway? Or become a dedicated professor who inspires the next generation of college students? Mercy University’s Master of Arts (M.A.) in English Literature program provides a strong foundation for students interested in these and other pursuits.

Some of our M.A. graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs, have continued into college teaching positions, or have gone on to earn advanced creative writing degrees. Numerous English teachers have earned the M.A. or graduate content credits through our program for purposes of (re)licensing, promotion, or simply to increase knowledge of their field.

Some of our M.A. students simply love literature, and join our program to study and experience with others the tremendous power, mystery, and meaning that moves through and emerges from literature. Our program includes students of all ages located throughout the U.S. and across the globe.


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Join us for an upcoming graduate admissions event to learn more about our English Literature program and explore how Mercy can help you meet your goals. 

RSVP for an event today. 

Rachel's success story.

What to Know

Students in the program learn theory and advanced methodologies of literary criticism, while engaging with British, American, and some world literature. Attention is paid both to traditional authors, genres and eras, as well as to literature of diverse cultural and historic traditions. Students will find courses ranging from standards in the field to courses unique to our program and designed by Mercy professors. All courses are taught by Mercy University faculty who are experts in their fields.

The M.A. degree can be earned fully online through Mercy University's virtual Blackboard environment. This allows students from across the country and the globe an accessible and convenient way to learn and to earn the M.A. degree from a fully accredited college.

$92K Salary

for post secondary English language & literature teachers in New York.*

*US Bureau of Labor Statistics

$86,380 Salary

for writers and authors.*

30 Credits

in the categories of: Creative Writing, Core Theory, Literary Forms, British/American & World Literature and Final Thesis Tutorial

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Career Opportunities

Graduates are qualified to apply for most full-time community college English professorships, and to teach composition and literature as an adjunct at most community and senior colleges. The M.A. may be the stepping stone to a Ph.D. program.

The degree may also lead to non-academic careers in fields which require writing, critical thinking, and research skills, such as publishing, editing, advertising, technical writing, journalism, and other media. Secondary-school teachers can earn graduate English content credits for such things as (re)licensing, promotion and retention.

The Mercy Advantage

Our Experience & Liberal Arts Tradition

We were the first program in New York State to be licensed and offered 100% online. Since the beginning we have been growing and developing our program, curriculum and delivery methods to offer a meaningful, substantive and challenging online degree.

Our Faculty

Our dedicated doctoral faculty are published experts in their fields. In each class our professors work to build a sense of community, to support you every step of the way through your degree.

Advising & Mentors

From the moment students enroll in a graduate program, you will be assigned a personal mentor (PACT Mentor) who can support every part of the graduate journey. In addition our M.A. in English Literature Program Head serves as a personal faculty adviser to every student in the program.

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Admissions Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Writing sample/personal statement (term paper from previous class or an essay)
  • Two letters of recommendation

English Literature Blog

Visit the program blog for more regularly updated news, course schedules and information about the Mercy M.A. English program. 

“My experience at Mercy has been amazing and I feel like I would have NEVER received an education like this [anywhere else]. I love this school. You guys always follow through and are always on it. I’m so glad I went here!!”

David Mannino, M.A. in English Literature ‘17

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. When the student population on campus reaches an appropriate number we also run courses here on campus. But, the full spectrum of our offerings are offered online and will always be. A student can complete the other requirements for the degree (a comprehensive examination and a thesis paper) remotely too. Over the past fifteen years we have awarded the M.A. to local students and students as far away as Europe and Latin America.

You will need to complete the online application and submit two letters of recommendation and a writing sample/personal statement. The writing sample can be either a term paper written for a previous literature course or an essay on the topic of why you want to pursue graduate literature study. Finally you will need to submit official transcripts. The GRE is not required. Contact the Program Head at any time to discuss these requirements further.

Program Details & Curriculum

The M.A. degree requires thirty credits, or 10 three-credit courses. All students must take the program's core theory course (ENGL 500) and the final thesis tutorial (ENGL 599). Beyond those two courses students have a great deal of freedom to chart a personal path toward the M.A. degree. 

Students must take at least one course from 505 - 510 or 517; one course from 521 - 540; one course from 541 - 560; another course from 521 - 560; and then four electives of any number from 505 - 598. Each of these number-groups tends toward a particular emphasis. Courses in the 505 - 510 range focus on a particular type of writing, a literary form. 517 is a creative writing course for those who wish to explore that option. The 521 - 540 courses have something of a British emphasis. The 541 - 560 have something of an American emphasis. And courses from 561 - 598 are those which aren't meaningfully grouped into the other fields. The program usually runs six courses each fall and spring semester, and between two and four courses during the summer. 

A full list of our catalog courses can be found by accessing the Mercy University Graduate Catalog available here. We also have a number of newer "topic" courses running on a trial basis and which have not yet been added to the Graduate Catalog. Applicants interested in learning more about these topic courses can look through recent course schedules on the program blog and/or can contact the Program Head for more information. 

For a full curriculum listing visit our catalog.

By the end of this program, students should be able to: 

  • Demonstrate critical thinking and interpretive skills reflecting knowledge and comprehension of important British literary texts
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and interpretive skills reflecting knowledge and comprehension of important American literary texts
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and interpretive skills reflecting an awareness of theoretical trends and criticism
  • Demonstrate knowledge of some of the literary traditions, and/or cultural situations, and /or historical eras from which the literature referenced in the above learning outcomes emerged
  • Create original research topics, research primary and secondary sources on those topics using digital databases, and produce writings on those topics which demonstrate clear  grammatical prose and accurate style

Full-Time Faculty

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