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The Mission

The mission of the Master of Arts program in the department of English is to foster the growth of scholars, teachers, and writers at the early stage of their professional lives. It is also our mission to use literary study to broaden the horizons of students whose work lies beyond the traditional occupations of the English graduate. For these reasons, ours is a rigorous and broad curriculum that endeavors to create for each student the best possible circumstances for intellectual maturation and creativity. We expect all of our graduates to read and think with disciplined insight, to be grounded in literary history, to explore both traditional and non-traditional canons, and to be adept at analyzing new works and understanding various critical perspectives. Our current and past course offerings demonstrate a commitment to dept and breadth of literary critical knowledge and methods, and our M.A. Examination allows students to pursue independently designed research questions as they grow into professional scholars.

A Supportive Environment

Ours is a small, focused program that provides advanced training in language and literature in a challenging and supportive environment. Historically we have served three constituencies: students who desire intensive preparation for application to major Ph.D. programs, teachers who wish to enrich their disciplinary knowledge and hone their research and writing skills, and students for whom the M.A. in English will support and enhance careers in editing and publishing, marketing and public relations, law, advertising, library science, and writing of all kinds. We strive to provide full funding (including tuition remission and a stipend) to all accepted students, who receive valuable teaching and professional experience as a part of their graduate assistantships.

Graduates Pursue a Variety of Careers

In recent years our graduates have been accepted into Ph.D., MFA, and law programs at the following universities: Arizona State, Baylor, California-San Diego, Duke, Emory, Florida State, George Mason U, George Washington U, Illinois-Urbana Champaign, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts-Amherst, New Mexico, Penn State, Rice, Rutgers, Tennessee-Knoxville, and Texas-Austin. Graduates have also pursued and succeeded in a variety of careers in both the public and private sectors.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Brooks Hefner 
Director of Graduate Studies
Room 210, Keezell Hall, MSC 1801
921 Madison Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22807
Office: 540-568-3759
hefnerbe@jmu.edu

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