Discover Something New

Prepare for the next stage of your career through a concentration in literature, rhetoric and composition, linguistics or film studies.

Our Concentrations

Master of Arts in English

Pursuing your master’s degree in English at NC State puts you in a vibrant intellectual community at the state’s largest university. Our students bring varied goals and interests to graduate study in English. Some enter the M.A. program looking for intellectual challenge and the opportunity to engage deeply with literature. Some are preparing for advanced work in doctoral programs leading to research and teaching careers in literature, linguistics, rhetoric or film studies. Other M.A. graduates go on to teach in community colleges, secondary schools, literacy centers and other educational settings. Still others pursue careers as writers, editors and media specialists outside the academy. The M.A. is a 33-hour program offered in four concentrations.

Career Directions

Concentration Areas

The M.A. program offers four areas of concentration that represent distinctive dimensions of our discipline. While all options share an emphasis on research and critical thinking, each offers diverse perspectives and methods for exploring culture and language. Regardless of which concentration you choose, you’ll select from a broad array of courses in these disciplinary areas, including a number of boundary-crossing special topics courses. 


Students in the Literature concentration explore a variety of regional, national and world literatures via critical traditions and emerging multi-disciplinary approaches. 

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Rhetoric and Composition

The concentration in Rhetoric and Composition provides focused study of writing and literacy, the teaching of writing, and the role of persuasive language in academic, professional and civic life.

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Students work with faculty specializing in language variation, gender and language, discourse analysis, sociophonetics, laboratory phonology, and other areas in one of the most recognized sociolinguistics programs in the nation.

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Film Studies

The concentration in Film includes training in writing (film criticism and academic writing), analysis (genre, history, and national cinemas) and theory (film theory, literary theory, and visual theory).

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Collaborative Environment

"The professors..."

The professors deeply care for the students and their success.

                                        -- Sydney Anderson, M.A. 2018
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'Life-Changing Experience'

"... one of the best decisions I have ever made."

Getting my master's degree was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Going through the program made me a better person. Not only did I learn more about writing and communication, but I also became more independent. Getting my master's really gave me a sense of accomplishment and showed me that I can do anything I set my mind to. The program taught me about meeting deadlines, balancing life and school, how to collaborate with others, etc. My time at NCSU was truly a life-changing experience that I will always remember and be thankful for.

 – M.A. 2015 graduate

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Developing New Skills

"I strongly improved..."

I strongly improved my researching and writing skills… I polished my public-speaking skills; I developed good friendships; and I honed my critical-thinking abilities.

                                             – Emily Milks, M.A. 2017

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Flexible Curriculum

"allowed me to take some time to decide..."

Completing a master's degree before pursuing the Ph.D. allowed me to take some time to decide whether or not the Ph.D. was something that I wanted to pursue.

                                                           – M.A. 2015 graduate

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'I Am Well Qualified'

"I am well qualified..."

My experience at NC State— the amazing courses I took with incredible professors and the teaching experience I gained along the way— prepared me not only for a career in teaching but helped me become a more critical thinker. I am extremely happy that I chose to pursue my MA at NCSU and am confident that I am well qualified for positions both within and outside the classroom.

                                                                    – M.A. 2015 graduate

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How to Apply

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