Contact Information

Address:  3200 Jamrich Hall
Phone:  906-227-2711
Fax:  906-227-1096
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Master of Arts in English

The master of arts in English allows students to develop their critical thinking, textual analysis and writing abilities beyond the baccalaureate level through three concentrations: (1) Writing and Literacy Studies, (2) Literature, and (3) Literature and the Environment.

Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty in advanced seminars and workshops to study texts, hone writing and editing skills, research and write papers suitable for presentation at professional conferences, conduct original research, create original works for publication, and gain experience in the production of a literary journal. For many of our master’s candidates, especially our teaching assistants, the program offers both theoretical and practical experience in pedagogy. It also serves as a preparation for further graduate study and as an arena for the development of marketable skills such as teaching, editing, and/or professional writing.

Each student’s program culminates in a capstone suited to their interests and academic or professional goals.

Program Requirements

Every master of arts degree candidate designs, in consultation with the program director and their advisor, a plan of study that includes a minimum 32 credit hours. Candidates for the non-degree graduate certificate program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) pursue a 20-credit-hour plan. TESOL credits can also count toward the Writing and Literacy Studies concentration in the master of arts program.

All concentrations have the following requirements:

  • EN 504 Principles of Critical Investigation (recommend taking during the first year)
  • Capstone Project (up to eight credits)

Note: Students who are granted teaching assistantships are required to take EN 509 Teaching Colloquium (4 cr.) during their first semester. This course will count as a General Elective.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certificate

The TESOL graduate level certificate program allows students in any discipline at NMU to develop their English language abilities beyond the baccalaureate level, such that they can teach English to students who have not learned it as their first or native language.

Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty scholars and practicing language teachers in advanced seminars to master the fundamental knowledge and methodologies for teaching English as a second language to adult learners. They are also expected to become competent in a modern language other than English because competence in another language helps one to better understand and articulate the structure of English, anticipate and address the problems a non-native English learner is likely to have, and function in a foreign cultural setting.

TESOL is a growing area of opportunity, with employment options in a wide variety of academic and non-academic settings worldwide. It enhances the ability of graduate students in any discipline to teach English and to adapt their field-specific knowledge to international contexts and occupations where the knowledge of English is a precondition for access.

Each student's program culminates in an internship experience teaching English as a second language.

Courses taken toward the TESOL certificate can also fulfill requirements of appropriate majors or graduate tracks.

Program Requirements

Candidates design, in consultation with the director of graduate study and their adviser, a plan of study that includes a minimum of 20 credit hours. It has the following requirements:

  • Twelve credits of core courses
  • Four credits in an approved elective
  • Four credits of internship/practicum
  • Completion of or demonstrated proficiency in a modern language other than English at the 200 level

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

The English Department offers a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.  Our innovative three-year program offers concentrations in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, as well as mixed or hybrid options for students who work in multiple genres or whose work defies genre. Special topics classes in screenwriting, image and text, experimental writing and more offer options for students to further expand their practice.  The MFA is a terminal degree that will serve students seeking careers in writing, higher education teaching, publishing and related fields.

Program Requirements

Candidates design, in consultation with the director of the MFA program, a plan of study including workshops, courses and seminars at the 500 and 600 levels.

Funding Opportunities

The University offers two types of funding: Teaching Assistantships and Graduate Assistantships. Assistants teach two (2) writing courses per academic year. These courses are at the freshman and sophomore levels. Graduate Assistantships are offered throughout the University for work other than teaching. Applicants for Teaching Assistantships should address their qualifications for teaching in their statement of professional purpose. Additionally, applicants should ask their recommenders to speak to the candidate’s promise as a teacher.

During Winter Semester, active MFA students may apply for a summer Excellence in Education grant. These grants, in the amount of $1,500, are offered by the College of Graduate Studies and Research to fund research and professional travel and to encourage and expand educational opportunities outside the traditional classroom.


The director of the MFA program will advise all graduate students in the MFA program. Students should meet periodically with the director to ensure their plan of study is appropriate to their needs and acceptable to the College of Graduate Studies and Research. Students are individually responsible for carefully reading and selecting courses in accordance with the requirements of this bulletin.


Bulletin Year: 2022 - 2023 Graduate Bulletin