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Q&A - Masters Degrees in English

Can I work while studying for my masters degree in English?

An MA program in English can be completed in 2 years by full-time students, but it can take much longer on a part-time basis. Many graduate students enter the workplace immediately after undergraduate school and continue their education while they work. If this applies to you, you would be well served working in a field that will make use of the skills you have already acquired with your bachelors in English.

High school English teachers, technical writers and publishing executives are examples of full-time jobs that students in a traditional or online masters in English program may have. Many students in a postgraduate English program may say that the program itself is work because the demands on time are extreme and make holding down a job difficult. However, even part-time work as a proofreader or editor can provide some income and help you make professional contacts while you continue to study.

If you work while you pursue this degree and are not enrolled in an online MA in English program, location could be a consideration as classes close to your workplace may be a deciding factor.

Accredited online masters degree programs in English are a convenient choice for employed students. You may choose to work full time or part time while you pursue your online degree, and schedule your study around your job. Many employers pay for postgraduate education, so it is not unusual for students to work 40-hour weeks and take evening or online classes. The best online masters degrees in English can still give you a quality education while you work during the day.

Are there any scholarships for traditional or online masters students in English

Scholarship opportunities at the postgraduate level are usually in the form of fellowships. Graduate programs, whether for an online master degree in English or a traditional program, frequently award these. Fellowships may also be obtained from external granting bodies. If you have secured a fellowship prior to applying to graduate school, your odds of acceptance are greatly enhanced.

Internal fellowships are often in the form of an assistantship. These assistantships cover tuition and provide an annual stipend. Granted in 2-year increments and providing $20,000 to $30,000 per year, assistantships are designed for full-time students.

Grantees are expected to teach and research while they maintain rigorous academic standards. Aside from funding, an assistantship offers experience in teaching, which is common among careers for English majors.

Online English MA programs often do not have internal funding, so external fellowships are ideal for these students. Jacob Javits Fellowships are awarded to students with superior academic ability. This award is based on need and demonstrated scholarly achievement. The fellowship lasts 48 months and pays tuition plus a maximum of $30,000 annually.

The Beinecke Scholarship Program grants a $30,000 annual stipend plus $4000 per year. This fellowship may extend up to 5 years and has no requirements that would prohibit an online MA English candidate from applying.

Are there any notable people who have earned masters degrees in English?

A-list actor James Franco, who has appeared on television in the cult show Freaks and Geeks and in the films 127 Hours, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the Spiderman movies, holds an MA in English from Columbia University.

David Duchovny, known to fans everywhere as Agent Fox Mulder from The X-Files, holds a masters degree in English from Yale University. Though his earnings far surpass that of a typical English degree salary, his career is evidence that an advanced study of English can generate success in a variety of occupations.

Robert Brown Parker was a prolific crime novel author, and his work inspired the 1980s television series Spenser. Parker held a masters degree in English literature from Boston University and is said to have died while writing.

Television viewers and political enthusiasts in the UK are well acquainted with Gavin Esler, an anchor on BBC’s analysis show Newsnight. Esler holds an MA in Anglo-Irish literature from University of Leeds.

Children’s fantasy writer Liz Kessler is a graduate of an MA in English program, having earned a masters degree in creative writing at University of Manchester in England. Orion Books, publisher of the Emily Windsap series, lists 20 titles authored by Kessler.

Are there any brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online English masters degree program?

While relatively uncommon, some hybrid programs that offer online coursework and traditional classroom study are available. University of Missouri offers numerous options for an MA in English online. Among the degree programs available are American and British literature, creative writing and folklore and oral tradition. These English masters degree online programs require students to submit an essay portfolio for oral defense, which must be done in person. University of Missouri has a storied history with many campus buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Morehead State University in Kentucky offers 1 of the best online masters degree in English programs. Morehead University’s English masters online delivers an MA in English that not only focuses on literature but delves into linguistics and technical writing. Aside from offering a top online English masters degree, Morehead is ranked among the top public universities in the south in U.S. News & World Report.

University of North Carolina offers students in their English masters degree online program an MA with an emphasis in multicultural literature. The online masters degree in English targets students interested in developing knowledge of ethnic literature.