Degree – Master of Liberal Arts (MLA)
Concentration: English Literature

Description of Program

The Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) in English Literature degree program is aims to provide student learners with the tools and training necessary to produce literary scholarship of professional quality and to participate in ongoing academic discussions of issues in the fields of English and Literature.

Learning Outcomes

  • Closely and critically analyze literary texts and credible, relevant criticism of a wide variety of literature written by authors of various nationalities, genders, races, and cultures, and representing various genres.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the key figures and texts in literary theory and illustrate how differing critical/theoretical approaches to literary texts can yield varying (and often equally valid) interpretations.
  • Develop and support critical arguments appropriate to the discipline and express these arguments in clear, insightful, and academic prose.
  • Complete graduate level research and writing in the discipline.

Admission Requirements:

Students applying for entrance to the Master of Liberal Arts in English Literature are required to submit an application for admission, Apply Online (

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 at the undergraduate level
  • Two letters of recommendation from references sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • A personal statement of no more than 750 words explaining qualifications for this concentration area and career goals after completing the degree
  • Official transcript from an accredited school (if a student has attended more than one school, transcripts must be submitted from all schools attended). At least one transcript must document the student has a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Some departments have additional requirements students must meet for admission
  • Immunization Record

Decisions are made only after receipt of all credentials by the department’s admission committee. The department uses an admission formula to accept students. The entire application packet, including all supporting materials, must be submitted to the Graduate School. Official test scores must be submitted from Education Testing Service (ETS) and must not be older than five years, official transcripts from the sending school, and Credential Evaluations (International students) from an approved Credential Evaluation Service.

Standardized Test:

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is the official standardized test required for admission to the Master of Liberal Arts. WAIVED

Degree requirements:

The curriculum for the Master of Liberal Arts in English Literature requires 33 credit hours of coursework and a capstone project for degree completion. An oral defense of the capstone is required for progression to degree completion.

Graduation expectations require the following:

  • A minimum of 27 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed in residence at Alcorn State University
  • Earn no more than two Cs in coursework
  • Write an acceptable capstone and defend it orally
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credits accepted by the University

Academic advisors are allowed to accept up to six semester credit hours earned at an accredited university with a grade of “B” or higher for graduate coursework completed. Substitutions of coursework are allowed with the approval of an advisor and department administrators up to nine hours if the substitution(s) meet curriculum requirements.

See Transfer of Credits Policy for additional information.
See the Substitution of Courses Policy for additional information.

Academic Track: Capstone Project

The Capstone Project is an exit requirement for the Master of Liberal Arts. This discipline has specific expectations for selection of topics and the type of capstone project. Students pursue independent research on a question or problem of their choice in the relevant disciplines under the guidance of a graduate faculty to produce a paper that reflects understanding of the topic and in the respective discipline.

Master Degree Audit:

Before candidacy for graduation can be confirmed, each student progression to degree completion will be evaluated to determine if student has met all academic requirements for course work and other aspects of the student’s course of study and Graduate School requirements. When these requirements are met, the student is cleared for graduation.

Time to Degree Completion

Alcorn’s time to degree completion policy allows 6 years to complete the Master of Liberal Arts program. Degree completion depends on the pace a student completes the curriculum. If the time exceeds six years, the student must petition the Graduate School to consider an appeal for more time to degree completion.

See the Student Academic Appeals Policy for Expiration of Timeline for additional requirements

Degree Plan and Course Sequence

The Master of Liberal Arts in English Literature follows the prescribed curriculum for completion of 33 hours of coursework.

Core Liberal Arts Courses (6 Hours)
ILA 500 Introduction to Liberal Arts
ILA 501 Research in the Liberal Arts

Area of Concentration (18 Hours)
EN 504 Literary Theory
EN 511 Seminar in English Literature
EN 512 Seminar in American Literature
EN 530 Literary Genres
EN 552 Research Methods in Literary Studies
EN 561 Special Topics in Literature

Interdisciplinary Electives (6 Hours)
CO 540 Theory of Mass Communication
HI 501 Historiography
MU 508 Seminar in Music History and Literature

Capstone (3 Hours)
ILA 599 Capstone Project

For More Information Contact:
Dr. Anne-Marie Obilade ▪ 601.877.3927 ▪ [email protected] (Department of English, Languages, and Mass Communication)