Department of Languages and Literatures

About the M.A.-English and M.A.-TESS (Teaching English in Secondary Schools)

The M.A. in English

The M.A. in English provides the opportunity for students with diverse backgrounds and interests to develop their strengths and explore possibilities in a range of areas. Students select one of three tracks to apply to:  a traditional concentration in Literature, including film studies; the Creative Writing track, which includes both creative writing and supporting literary study; and an innovative track in English Studies, where students develop an individualized plan of study in which they may choose coursework from Literature, Creative Writing, and/or Professional and Technical Writing, according to their interests. All creative writers are required to do a creative thesis (6 credits); students in the other tracks may select thesis or non-thesis options.

The program is small enough to foster a lively integrated community across the different tracks, yet graduate students have access to a wide range of course options. They get to work intensively with advisors of their choosing as they develop their research or creative interests. The Department of Languages & Literatures is home to the nation’s oldest literary magazine, the North American Review, and literary readings and open mics regularly take place in the community. Assistantships in various roles in the Department also give many students applied learning opportunities and a chance to further hone professional skills.

In addition, individuals teaching in Iowa community colleges are not required to hold state-issued teaching licenses. However, graduate course work in postsecondary education may strengthen one’s qualifications for teaching at a community college. Contact individual colleges to determine the requirements for teaching appointments at each institution. 

English alumni


Click here for information on assistantships within the Department of Languages & Literatures.

Click here for information and applications for graduate funding, both scholarships and stipends, via the Graduate College.

The M.A. in TESS (Teaching English in Secondary Schools)

TESS studentsThe M.A. in TESS is a unique, cohort-based degree program designed specifically for active, licensed English teachers. It focuses on areas including English education pedagogy, writing practice and pedagogy, literature study, and classroom research strategies and methodologies. Classes are delivered “live online” over eight consecutive semesters, with classes held on Wednesday evenings during the fall and spring semesters and more intensively in the daytime during two summer sessions. Up to one week of on-campus time at UNI is typically required (during the summers). New cohorts begin approximately every two years.

Questions regarding admission, funding, and program requirements may be directed to Dr. Karen Tracey, Graduate Coordinator, at

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