This degree is designed to offer ministry students the opportunity to gain additional skills and expertise in areas that will enhance the students' ministry by providing a common frame of reference to connect with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.

English class
The Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in English dual degree program will offer you a broad and rich context from which to do ministry. Your critical thinking and analytical skills will be enhanced, allowing you to reflect on life and the world within a framework of additional textual models from which to understand and interpret Scripture.

Graduate Admissions

The MDiv/MA degree is designed to enhance divinity students’ literary, English education, and writing skills by permitting them to earn a second degree, the MA, instead of the usual MDiv concentration.

The MA English degree is an online program taught in a cohort model and offers students three concentrations: 1) literature studies, 2) English education, and 3) writing studies. This degree is for students who want professional advancement in areas such as writing, publishing, and teaching at the secondary or college levels. While these concentrations represent different disciplines within the field, the overall program goal is for students to develop a scholarly and professional identity. These goals reflect the growing professional demand for strong skills in communication, analysis, critical thinking, and collaboration.

The concentration in English Education leads to a recommendation for graduate-level NC Teaching License for those with the initial licensure in 9-12 English. Graduate students who do not have initial licensure may obtain a degree, but not the graduate-level license. However, students must be teaching some aspect of the discipline of English in a real-world context in order to complete the requirements for this program.

This dual degree has two potential student populations in view: (1) the minister who desires greater background in the literary arts as a context for ministry, and (2) the bi-vocational minister. The MDiv/MA is housed in the School of Divinity and requires completion of the 60-hour core, 6 hours biblical studies electives, 6 hours historical/theological electives, 3 hours practical ministry electives of the MDiv degree, and the 30 hour MA in English degree.

The online Master of Arts in English curriculum offers four core courses (9 hrs.) and seven to eight courses in the concentration (15 hrs. content + 6 hrs. thesis). The core courses build community and foster collaboration among peers as well as provide a foundation for courses within each concentration. The timeline for completion is six semesters (typically two calendar years).

Additional information, including descriptions of specific concentrations and their corresponding credit hours, is available in the Academic Catalog.

Students may enter in the fall only. To apply for initial admission to graduate study, the applicant should hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and:

  1. Submit an application;
  2. Arrange for an official transcript of all previous academic work beyond high school to be sent directly from each institution attended. The Privacy Act requires that each student request in writing that transcripts be released to the Graduate School Office;
  3. Standardized scores: No standardized test scores required;
  4. Applicants need three letters of reference that can attest to applicant’s academic potential and suitability to pursue an MA in English as well as the student’s abilities to complete graduate- level work;
  5. Current licenses: No license is required to be admitted into the program.* However, if a student enters the program with the purpose of acquiring graduate or advanced level licensure (ex. English education concentration), then an initial license is required to be on file with the Graduate School or must be obtained while in the program in order to be recommended for licensure. Graduate students who do not have initial licensure may obtain the degree but not be recommended for the graduate-level license; however, obtaining initial licensure while completing graduate coursework is possible for qualified applicants. Note: Licensure requirements are different from state to state. Students are responsible for obtaining graduate level or advance teaching licensure through their school districts and state. GWU can only provide a recommendation through evidence of coursework, transcripts, record of initial license.

Additional Application Requirements:

  1. A BA or BS in English or equivalent degree (from the Communications field, for example). Students without a bachelor’s degree in English or substantial undergraduate coursework in English will be evaluated on an individual basis. Typically, 12-15 hours of upper level English coursework are expected to be completed before admission. This is to make sure that students are prepared for graduate-level study.
  2. A clear and well-written 250-word statement of purpose, explaining the student’s objectives and purpose for pursuing an MA in English. Please indicate the concentration the student is interested in – literature studies, English education, writing studies.
  3. A writing sample of 2000 words or an equivalent body of work that demonstrates the applicant’s writing abilities and readiness to engage in graduate level work. This writing sample might include an in-depth literary analysis, an extensive research piece (e.g., senior thesis) on a topic within English studies, or a portfolio of writing samples from an internship or current work environment.

*If a student enters the program with the purpose of acquiring graduate or advanced level licensure (ex. English education concentration), then an initial license is required to be on file with the Graduate School or must be obtained while in the program in order to be recommended for licensure. Graduate students who do not have initial licensure may obtain the degree but not be recommended for the graduate-level license; however, obtaining initial licensure while completing graduate coursework is possible for qualified applicants. Note: Licensure requirements are different from state to state. Students are responsible for obtaining graduate level or advance teaching licensure through their school districts and state. GWU can only provide a recommendation through evidence of coursework, transcripts, record of initial license.

For English education concentration only: Students must be teaching some aspect of the discipline of English in a real-world context in order to complete the requirements of this program.

Additional information and program requirements are available in the Academic Catalog.

Meet the faculty for this department
Find out how to apply
Graduate Admissions