The English Department at the University of Virginia now offers the option of a five-year BA/MA degree to suitably qualified English majors. Third-year students who wish to be considered for admission to this program should submit their application by May 18. Those students accepted into the program will take two graduate courses (5000 or 8000 level) in their final year of undergraduate study, including ENGL 8800 (Introduction to Research Methods) offered in the fall semester. In the following year, they will continue at the University as MA students, taking six additional graduate courses and making sure to fulfill the distribution requirements for the degree. They must also complete a final exercise (critical thesis, pedagogical thesis, or oral exam) as well as fulfilling the foreign language requirement. Finally, to satisfy the 30-credit requirement set by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, they must register for three research credits (ENGL 8999) while preparing their thesis or oral examination under the supervision of the faculty. (For a fuller description of these requirements, visit the For Current Students page.)
N.B. The credits for the two graduate courses taken in the undergraduate years cannot be counted toward the English major or toward the 120 credits required by the College of Arts and Sciences for the BA degree.
Students may matriculate for study toward the MA only at the start of the Fall semester of their 4th year, never the Spring or Summer term. Please make sure that the graduate courses you take in your 4th year are being credited as they should be to your MA degree.
Eligibility: English majors with a GPA of at least 3.6 in the major are eligible to apply.
Application Procedure: Applications should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Admissions, Peter Baker, by email, by May 18 (preferably earlier; as soon as your spring grades are in). The application process consists of the following parts:
- A 500-word statement of purpose outlining the intellectual interests to be pursued in the MA program. A strong statement will also include some discussion of how the applicant’s previous coursework in the English department has prepared him or her for graduate study.
- A transcript or transcripts of undergraduate work (including grades for your 3rd-year spring term).
- Two writing samples that demonstrate the applicant's ability to mount and sustain an argument. We strongly prefer, but do not require, that one of the writing samples should be 10 pages or longer.
- Reference letters from two professors in the English Department. All letters of reference should be submitted directly to the Director of Graduate Admissions for the department of English.
- Thanks to a special arrangement with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, you do not need to take the GRE in order to apply for this program.