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

Degree Options

Graduates of our program often pursue careers in:

  • editorial work
  • higher education administration
  • business

They are also accepted into doctoral programs or go on to attain an additional professional degree in law, fine arts, or education.

Truman is known nationally for its Master of Arts in Education program, and our 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 hours) count toward the M.A. degree as well.

Students interested in adding the M.A. in English 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
  • 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.
About the MAE Program

Flexible Pathways

The flexibility of our online synchronous and asynchronous courses allows you to pursue a Master of Arts in English by taking classes that fit your schedule.


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. Students who apply for admission and for graduate assistantships by Feb. 15 will be given priority consideration.



Apply by August 1


Apply by November 1


Apply by April 1

The English master’s degree program is offered both on campus and online.  Regrettably, we are unable to consider applications for fully-online programs by individuals who reside outside of the United States and its territories at this time.  International applicants are still encouraged to consider our face-to-face program in English located on campus in Kirksville, Missouri.

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

Professional Statement
Professional Resume
2 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

Sample Courses

This poetry writing workshop charges you with the 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’ll try on numerous strategies and approaches borrowed from the writers in our course texts and our essays on the poet’s craft.

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

In this seminar, you will analyze great works of the Western canon alongside memoirs written by readers who have been profoundly affected by these works. 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.

Explore 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. 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.

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.”

This  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

In this pedagogy course, you explore 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 which you plan to research during your student teaching internship and unit/lesson planning, as well as significant reading assignments.

Schedule a Virtual Visit

Students in Classroom

Virtual Visit

Get an inside look at the online learning environment, meet your professors, and get all your questions answered during a virtual visit.