The Online M.A. in English

The English Department’s online Master of Arts program is designed to make the UNO M.A. in English more accessible to students. It provides students with advanced subject-matter expertise in both literature and rhetoric/professional writing. To earn this degree, students must complete 36 credit hours of coursework, all of which can be completed online. Up to nine of these hours may be taken on campus. The degree can be completed in 2-3 years, depending on how many hours a student takes and whether or not summer courses are taken.

 Most students in the program hold undergraduate degrees in English, but students with degrees in other fields may be admitted upon condition that they take additional coursework to provide sufficient background.

Core Courses

Students begin their study with five core courses (15 total hours):

  • Introduction to Graduate Studies in English (ENGL 6280)
  • A course in British Literature,
  • A course in American Literature,
  • A course in Rhetoric, and
  • A course in Professional Writing.


The Online Master of Arts program requires students to choose one of two concentrations: Literary Studies or Rhetoric and Professional Writing. For each of these concentrations, a student works with the Graduate Coordinator to choose three additional courses beyond the core (9 hours).


In addition to the core and concentration, a student in the Online M.A. chooses four additional courses (12 hours) to complete the 36 hours for the degree.

Comprehensive Exams and/or Thesis

As conclusion for their study, students must either
successfully complete one comprehensive exam (usually an exam in the student’s concentration) and write and defend a thesis (the thesis counts for 3 hours of credit);
or successfully complete two comprehensive exams.


The Master of Arts program is sufficiently flexible to accommodate a range of academic interests and to help prepare students for several different career paths. Most of our graduates have gone on to choose one of four options: to pursue the doctoral degree; to teach in secondary schools, junior colleges, colleges, and universities; to undertake further professional training, most often in law; or to work as professional or technical writers.

Careers in English | Research


Have Questions?

Anne Boyd Rioux, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Phone: 504-280-6484

Graduate English Office
Phone: 504-280-6276