May 30, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

English (M.A.)

Program Overview

Our program offers classes in British and U.S. literatures - from early modern drama to contemporary American poetics-and a diverse range of special topics courses and graduate level creative writing workshops in multiple genres with professional writers. Small in size, the MA program emphasizes a solid foundation in general literary studies that provide you with the broad knowledge to be able to work in your own area of specialization. The degree offers excellent preparation for further graduate study or for employment in any field that values critical thinking, strong writing skills, and research experience. MA students can choose to specialize in creative writing or literature. Current USD undergraduate students may choose from an accelerated degree option. Learn more at

DELIVERY: On campus

Master of Arts, English Plan A (thesis): Total 30 credit hours

Master of Arts, English Plan B (non-thesis): Total 30 credit hours

  • Required Core 18 credit hours
  • Electives Requirements 12 credit hours

Required Core: Total 18 credit hours

  • Literature before the 20th Century (6 credit hours)
  • 20th and 21st Century British, American, and World Literature (6 credit hours)
  • Language, Writing, and Pedagogy (3 credit hours)
  • Literary Criticism (3 credit hours)

*At least three courses must be seminars at the 700 or 800 level
*At least one course must satisfy the Multicultural Literature, Women’s Studies, or Gender requirement.

Electives: Total 6 or 12 credit hours

Specialization: Literature (Plan A)

  • Electives 6 credit hours

Specialization: Creative Writing (Plan A)

  • Electives 6 credit hours

Specialization: Literature (Plan B)

  • ENGL/LING Electives 3 credit hours
  • Electives 9 credit hours

Accelerated Master’s Program: B.A. or B.S. with M.A. (Literature specialization only-Plan B only)

Up to 12 graduate credits applied toward the B.A. program may be used to satisfy graduate credit. The following restrictions apply:

  1. Dual-listed courses taken at the 500-level can be applied to both the B.A./B.S. and M.A. degrees. Dual-listed courses must be taken at the 500-level.
  2. The student must apply to, and be admitted to, the accelerated program prior to taking courses to be credited toward the accelerated program.
  3. No courses taken prior to admission to the accelerated program may be counted toward an accelerated graduate degree. No exceptions to this policy will be approved.
  4. Only courses taken at the student’s home institution are eligible for dual credit. No transferred courses from other institutions will be allowed to count toward the accelerated master’s degree.

Sample program (4+1 English MA degree with Literature Specialization only):

Junior/Senior Year
4 courses at 500-level  =  12 credits

Fifth Year
1 courses at 500-level  =  3 credits
5 courses at 700-level  = 15 credits

Total = 30 credits

State Authorization - It Matters Where You Live

If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage.

State Authorization


Department of English
605-677-5229 | |

Graduate Admissions
605-658-6140 |  |