Truman’s Master of Arts in English allows you to explore literature, literary studies, composition theory, pedagogy, creative writing, and linguistics. Working closely with your faculty advisor, you can personalize a course of study to suit your interests and professional goals and choose which culminating project best matches your aspirations:

  • a thesis that displays the close reading, analytical skills, and research tools you have acquired
  • a portfolio that showcases the breadth and variety of the creative and analytical work you have produced in the program
  • a creative project (a novel, memoir, collection of short stories, a cycle of poems, or other creative work) that has benefitted from the intensive feedback, revision, and reflection on the artistic process

Truman is also known nationally for its Master of Arts in Education program, and English M.A. students may apply to simultaneously earn a Master of Arts in Education. Adding the M.A. degree to a Truman M.A.E. degree program is an especially attractive option because all the graduate English electives students take in fulfillment of the M.A.E.–at least 12 and usually 16 hour –count toward the M.A. degree as well. Students interested in adding the M.A. degree to their M.A.E. should discuss the option with the M.A.E. program coordinator.

Students graduating with the combined degrees of Master of Arts in English and Master of Arts in Education with an English specialty are highly qualified for a variety of teaching positions: secondary English, Dual Credit, Advanced Placement, and community college. Those who have served as teaching assistants while completing their graduate work are especially well qualified and are sought-after candidates for those teaching positions.

Graduate Assistantships

If you're interested in a career teaching at the secondary level, publishing, or higher education administration, you can complete internships and practica in these areas or apply for one of the year-long teaching or administrative assistant positions the Master of Arts in English program offers. Graduate Administrative and Editorial (GAA) assistantships and Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantships (GTRA) materials can be submitted with the online application. Students who apply by Feb. 1 will be given priority consideration for assistantships.



Apply by August 16


Apply by November 1


Apply by April 1

In addition to the online application to apply for the Master of Arts in English Program, you’ll need to submit the following:

Personal Statement
3 Letters of Recommendation

Financial Aid

Enrolled students taking at least six credit hours per semester are eligible for federal financial aid programs. For more information, see our Financial Aid Resources for Graduate Studies page or contact the Financial Aid Office at (660) 785-4130 or

Summer 2021 Course Offerings

CRN 4009

In this online summer session, we will learn about flash! What is flash fiction?
What is the history of this funky little genre in the United States?
What conventions does flash often rely upon?
Where do we submit flash work for publication?
Take this class to find out these answers and more!

We will read work by professional flash writers, and learn how to talk about the genre.
We will also workshop our flash submissions in our online class.
A discussion of teaching flash will be included for graduate students taking the course.
Questions? Please email Dr. Cullity at

Instructor: Jocelyn Cullity

CRN 4016

This interdisciplinary course explores American thought as it manifests itself in literature, arts, music, philosophy, historiography, and culture. The course focuses on ideas and themes in American studies that cut across the disciplines and time periods: for example, concepts of progress, the frontier, pragmatism, and individualism. May be repeated under different topics.

This section of American Studies will focus on Minoritized Dialects of the US, including Black English, Latinx English, and Chicanx English. We will first take a linguistic approach to examine these varieties of language, and explore their history and context in the US. We will then explore their use in literature and media, and consider the policies and laws that influence and affect their status, ultimately working towards a deeper understanding and analysis of their role in contemporary American culture and society.

Instructor: Emily Olsen

CRN  4015 (2 credits)

CRN  4207 (4 credits)

This graduate course will examine not only the theoretical foundations of mindfulness but also the applications to daily life. Readings will span psychology, neurology, self-help, and writing disciplines. Projects will include writing as well as video or audio recordings. Anyone interested in mindfulness or strategies for inviting calm and self-management should enroll!

Instructor: Rebecca Dierking

CRN 4017

This course provides an understanding of language assessment, with a focus on K-12 ESL learners. Our main goals include becoming familiar with assessment terminology, as well as understanding the components of sound test construction and applying them to young ESL learners. The course covers validity (content, construct, face, internal, external, and predictive), reliability, and washback. The course also examines purposes of language assessment (placement, diagnostic, proficiency, achievement). Language assessments that are likely to be encountered as a K-12 ESL teacher will be covered, including differences between norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests, as well as alternative assessments, such as portfolios.

Instructor: Emily Olsen

CRN 4014

This course should only be taken by students working toward their certification in ESOL and planning to complete their student teaching internship within the next nine months (fall 2021 or spring 2022). The course is the final pedagogy course for those working with students whose first language one other than English and includes a significant clinical practice working one-to-one with an ELL. Projects involve written exploration of a topic related to ESOL and unit/lesson planning, as well as significant reading assignments.

Instructor: Rebecca Dierking

Costs for Summer 2021 Courses

2 credits
$780 (resident)
$1,352 (non-resident)
3 credits
$1,170 (resident)
$2,028 (non-resident)
4 credits
$1,560 (resident)
$2,704 (non-resident)

Fall 2021 Course Offerings

CRN 6131
Asynchronous online

“Becoming a writer is easy,” according to the poet Kenneth Koch, “just get a few friends who are so good at it that it scares the shit out of you.” Let’s be friends.


This advanced poetry writing workshop charges you with the dizzying task of writing new poems, revisions, book reviews and an essay that crystalizes your thinking and research on the challenges and possibilities of writing poetry. We will fully engage the writer’s central charge: to root our work in our reading. We’ll try on numerous strategies and approaches borrowed from the writers in our course texts and in our essays on the poet’s craft.

“A writer,” according to Thomas Mann, “is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” We will explore those difficulties—intensify them, even—relying on our individual experiences as advanced readers and writers and our collective abilities to support and question each other’s work.

Instructor: Jamie D’Agostino

CRN 6132
TR 3:00-4:20 pm via Zoom

This is a rigorous course on the theories of teaching literature and other texts in a secondary English classroom. We will read theory and research on teaching literature through a critical and social justice lens. Students will practice teaching, conduct research, and create theory-informed secondary teaching materials.

Instructor: Barbara Price

CRN 6134,
Asynchronous online

(Could also be taken as 1-2 credit ENG 609)

In this seminar, students will analyze great works of the Western canon alongside memoirs written by readers who have been profoundly affected by these works. We will consider why particular works remain provocative and compelling, why books speak to certain readers at certain points in life, what distinguishes memoirs of the reading life from other types of memoirs, and what makes reading about another person’s relationship with a book intriguing to us. The great book/great memoir pairings will include: Dante’s Inferno with Joseph Luzzi’s In a Dark Wood, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Mark Doty’s What is Grass?, Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and Rachel Cohen’s Austen Years, stories by Gogol, Tolstoy & Chekhov paired with George Saunders’ A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. Students will analyze the works discussed in class and also be asked to write a memoir about a book that has profoundly affected them.

Instructor: Sarah Mohler

CRN 7483
W 6-9 p.m.

Toni Morrison states that a “world-in-which-race-does-not-matter” is home. How then do we find a sense of home and an overall sense of place in a world in which race and ethnicity do matter?  Does gender matter in the same way? Do class, national origin, and the moment in history also alter our understanding of space and place in narrative? How does the space we live in and move through affect not only the individual in space, but the people in the spaces around us, our communities? In this course students will read the complex literary heritage of women who live(d) in this country and how they experience and create U.S. cultural space in the 20th and 21st centuries. By analyzing the aesthetic representations of space in these texts and in theoretical readings about them, students will investigate how our locations affect us, whether it be the private or the public, the workplace or the home, or major internal migrations or everyday movements. Primary texts may include Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance, Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers, Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, Gwendolyn Brooks’ Maud Martha, Louise Erdrich’s Tracks, Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, among others.

Instructor: Abby Manzella

CRN 6137, 2 credits
Asynchronous online

CRN 7278, 4 credits
Asynchronous online

Adaptations of children’s literature allow us to tackle several important questions about textual transformation, not only in terms of the ostensibly unidirectional movement from text to another medium (usually film) but also in terms of the larger networks of adaptation and intertextuality that may complicate young audiences’ relationship with so-called “original” or “source” texts. In this class, we will consider adaptations in several different forms, with a primary focus on three classic works of children’s literature: “Beauty and the Beast,” The Wizard of Oz, and A Wrinkle in Time.

Instructor: Sara Day

CRN 6136
Asynchronous online

The Introduction to Graduate Studies seminar aims to help you become oriented to the general goals and processes of the Master of Arts degree in English and focuses on three themes:

  • Why an English graduate degree?
  • Developing a professional persona
  • Developing a project

COURSE OBJECTIVES We will work toward understanding:

  • The importance of graduate studies in English
  • Expectations of academic and professional cultures
  • The core components of graduate-level, original research

The core components of career exploration

Instructor: Heather Cianciola

CRN 6133
MW 3:30-4:50 p.m.

The course should only be taken by students working on their MAE in English and intending to complete their student teaching internship in spring 2022.  The course is the final pedagogy course (with ENG 506 and ENG 507) exploring how to teach English in the secondary classroom.  A clinical practice is attached to this course. Projects involve written exploration of a topic related to teaching secondary English and which the student plans to research during their student teaching internship and unit/lesson planning, as well as significant reading assignments.

Instructor: Rebecca Dierking

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