The Department of English offers two Master’s degree programs:  a two-year 4+1 M.A. program for Tulane undergraduate English majors, and an external M.A. program for English majors with B.A. degrees from other institutions.  Each has its own admission requirements and its own timetable to completion.   The Certificate in Documentary Literary Studies is offered in both programs.

Students who have earned M.A. degrees in our programs have gone on to doctoral programs and law schools.  They have embarked on careers as journalists as well as editors at magazines and publishing houses.  Several of our graduates now teach in public and private secondary schools.  We have graduates who work on staff as museum curators and in rare book libraries.  But some of our graduates go on to careers not directly related to the degree.  They chose to pursue the M.A. in order to challenge themselves, to continue the study of literature they enjoy, and to acquire a credential that adds value to their employment profile.


The 4+1 M.A. Program

The 4+1 M.A. program in English serves English majors who are interested in pursuing careers or further education in literary studies, museum studies, library science, secondary teaching, and publishing, to name a few of the areas to which our students gravitate.  The program begins in the student's senior year and continues for one additional year (the "+1" year) to earn the M.A. degree.  During the "+1" year, tuition is approximately one-third the cost of regular undergraduate tuition, not including fees.   Regular tuition applies to the senior year.

Undergraduate scholarships do not transfer to the "+1" year.

The 4+1 M.A. Course of Study

The program is designed so that students can complete the program in two years by taking two required graduate courses in their senior year, Literary Theory (ENLS 7890) in the fall term, and Bibliography and Research Methods (ENLS 7050) in the spring term.  The Bibliography and Research Methods course includes an introduction to the Certificate in Documentary Literary Studies.  These two courses may count toward the fulfillment of any 4000- or 5000- level course in the major, and they may also count toward the credit hour total for undergraduate graduation.  Students must fill out a Course Substitution Form supplied by the Newcomb-Tulane advising office to obtain undergraduate credit for these courses.  Of course, the courses also count toward the graduate degree.

Students taking the Certificate in Documentary Literary Studies fulfill one requirement of the certificate program, which involves continuing independent work begun during the Bibliography course.  Credit for this work is included as part of the internship course (ENLS 7920), taken in the fall term of the “+1” year.   Students take three other seminars in the fall term.  In the spring semester, students typically take three seminars, one proseminar, and complete a certificate portfolio under the supervision of a departmental mentor.  Students are encouraged to take up to two graduate courses in other departments, by direct petition to the Director of Graduate Studies (to receive credit for such coursework, students are required to submit a Course Substitution Form).  No graduate courses are offered during the summer term.


Fall Senior Year: ENLS 7890, Literary Theory

Spring Senior Year: ENLS 7050, Bibliography and Methods

Fall “+1” Year: 4 seminars OR, if pursuing the certificate, ENLS 7920 + 3 seminars

Spring "+1" Year: 3 seminars + 1 proseminar


How to Apply to the 4+1 Program

Sophomores should contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Supriya Nair, if they are interested in the program, especially if they plan to be abroad during the junior year.   Any English major who has a 3.6 GPA in the major is welcome to apply to the general e-mail invitation:  many of our best students earn enough credits to be counted as seniors by their junior year, which can result in their not appearing on the list sent out by the Registrar for our consideration.  So it is a good idea to contact the DGS during the fall of your junior year if you think you are eligible.

Invitations typically go out in March, with a deadline for application by the beginning of April.   

Please remember to send to the attention of the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of English, a hard copy of:


  1. An application cover letter simply stating that you wish to apply for the program and $50 application fee.
  2. A completed application cover form. This form is available in the English Department main office.  A PDF copy of the form is available for download in the Forms for Students section of the English Department website.
  3. A research essay on a topic in literary studies of approximately 10 pages.
  4. Two letters of recommendation from faculty members emailed to DGS ( 
  5. A downloaded degree audit form.

Professor Nair, the current director of graduate studies, has a mailbox is in the English Department main office.

You will receive e-mail notification of the department's decision on your application from the DGS in April. 


The External M.A. Program

We accept highly qualified students with B.A.s in English from excellent undergraduate institutions.  The external M.A. Program has the same curricular requirements and opportunities as the 4+1 program, including the certificate program.  The external M.A. is designed for students who are enhancing their education for eventual application to a doctoral program.  Students accepted to the external M.A. program would not be automatically eligible for admission to any doctoral program reinstated in the English department:  students seeking a doctorate, whether they currently hold B.A. or M.A. degrees would apply directly to that program, although at this time we are not admitting students to the doctoral program.  We accept up to four courses of graduate work from elsewhere toward the M.A. degree.  Students are permitted to take the program in four semesters.  The tuition for the program is approximately one-third of undergraduate tuition, not including fees.

The External M.A. Course of Study

The external M.A. program requires 10 courses.  No thesis option is available.  Students typically take three or four courses per term.  Every student takes two required courses during their first year—ENLS 7890 Literary Theory (fall) and ENLS 7050 Bibliography and Research Methods (spring).   

A typical course of study for an entering student in the external M.A. program would be:

Year 1  Fall:
 ENLS 7890-Literary Theory + 2 seminars
                     ENLS 7—
                     ENLS 7—

Year 1 Spring: ENLS 7050-Bibliography and Methods + 2 seminars
                         ENLS 7—
                         ENLS 7—
                         (ENLS 7—)

Year 2 Fall: 3 seminars + 1 proseminar
                    ENLS 7—
                    ENLS 7—
                    (ENLS 7—)

If students are pursuing the Certificate in Documentary Literary Studies: ENLS 7920, and 3 additional graduate level courses.

How to Apply to the External M.A. Program

The application deadline is February 1, 2015.  Application forms are available online through the School of Liberal Arts.  We require the GRE in Verbal and Quantitative;  the Analytical portion is not required.  Students with a Verbal Score of 163 or higher have the best chance of being admitted.  Three letters of reference should be submitted via the online application form.

Have your official transcript sent directly to the Director of Graduate Studies along with a 10-page research essay on a topic in literary studies.  We accept students in mid to late spring. 

We'll notify you of the decision concerning your application via e-mail.

Professor Supriya Nair
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English
Norman Mayer 207
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 862-8159


Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000