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Accelerated Master's Degree

Accelerated M.A. Program

The 4+1 B.A.-M.A. program will offer our best undergraduate majors the opportunity to earn both the bachelor's and master's degrees in a focused and accelerated manner. The program enables qualified KU students to count 12 hours of graduate-level coursework toward  the major requirements and the master's degree, which will be completed in the 5th year.

The course requirements for the accelerated M.A. program are fulfilled by a combination of graduate-level courses taken for both undergraduate and graduate credit in Year 4, fulfilling both B.A. major requirements and M.A. degree requirements, and graduate credit courses taken in Year 5.

  • Students must be approved to begin coursework toward the 4+1 program prior to enrolling in any classes that are to count for both undergraduate and graduate credit.


The major in English requires 31 hours (34 for Honors English), of which 3 hours may be an appropriate 200-level English course. Students in the 4+1 program must take 6 credit hours at the 590 level or above, and 6 credit hours at the 700 level or above. These courses may be selected from those that count toward major distribution requirements or major electives. (See the 590+ level options in the course lists below).

As part of these 31 hours (34 for Honors English), all English majors must complete the Orientation to English Studies (ENGL 199) within their first two semesters as a declared major. In addition, they must also choose courses from each of the following 7 categories:


1.     Individual Authors or Movements

2.     Literary Theory

3.     English Language or Rhetoric

4.     Transcultural Approaches to Language, Literature, or Writing

5.     Writing

6.     Forms and Genres

7.     Literary History (2 courses)



  • 27 hours must be at the junior/senior level.
  • One 200-level course may count toward major requirements. No 100-level ENGL courses count toward major requirements except ENGL 199.
  • Only 1 (3 credits) creative writing workshop (fiction writing, nonfiction writing, poetry writing, screen writing or playwriting) may be applied as a major course.
  • Up to 6 credits combined of ENGL 494 (Research Internship) or ENGL 495 (Directed Study) may be applied as major electives.
  • Up to 3 credit hours of ENGL 496 (Internship) or ENGL 497 (Service Learning Internship) may be applied as a major elective.


Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours Satisfied by 31 hours of major courses (34 for Honors English).

Major Hours in Residence Satisfied by a minimum of 25 hours of KU resident credit in the major; exceptions by permission of Director of Undergraduate Studies only.

Major Junior/Senior Hours Satisfied by a minimum of 24 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

In addition to the 12 graduate credit hours completed during the senior year, M.A. students must complete an additional 18 hours of graduate-level coursework. The candidate’s program should be arranged in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or a member of the departmental committee on graduate studies. No more than 6 hours of the 18 hours of graduate-level coursework for the M.A. may be taken at the 590-600 level. The following requirements also apply:

3 hours (1 course) on Methods or Theory appropriate to different areas of focus in Literary Studies: ordinarily 708, 709, 800, or another course appropriately designated by the Graduate Director. A 998 (Directed Reading) directly focused on questions of methods and theory can fulfill this requirement if approved by the Graduate Director.

3 hours on Pedagogy: ENGL 780, ENGL 781, or other appropriate course as approved by the Graduate Director.

21 distribution hours to be selected in consultation with advisors. Two options are available:           

Option 1a, Literature: At least 1 course (3 hours) must be pre-1700; at least 1 must be 1700-1900; and at least 1 must be after 1900. 2 courses (6 hours) outside the department may be included in the distribution hours with approval of the Graduate Director.

Option 1b, Literature and Literary Theory: At least 1 course (3 hours) must be pre-1800; at least 1 (3 hours) must be post-1800. At least 2 courses (6hours), besides the course used to fulfill requirement 2 (Methods or Theory) must focus primarily on Literary Theory. 2 courses (6 hours) outside the department may be included in the distribution hours with approval of the Graduate Director.

English 899: Portfolio Preparation: 

At least 2 courses (6 hours), besides the course used to fulfill requirement 2 (Methods or Theory) must focus primarily on Literary Theory. English 899: Thesis/Portfolio Preparation. This course is completed during the last semester of the MA year (Year 5). Students prepare a portfolio of work from their graduate courses over which they will be examined at an oral defense, not to exceed 90 minutes.

Given the accelerated nature of this program, each student’s progress will be closely monitored at various points during the program.            

Once approved to begin graduate coursework, the student must meet with the DGS to plan the final year of undergraduate study;

At the end of the final semester of undergraduate study (Year 4), the department will review the student’s performance in graduate-level English courses taken in Year 4. The student must earn a grade of B or better in each course to be eligible to continue in the 4+1 program;

Following the completion and award of the B.A. or B.G.S. degree, the 4+1 student will meet again with the DGS to review the course plan for the 5th year of study and update it as needed. The student’s performance in the graduate-level courses taken as an undergraduate will be evaluated

For students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 in the first semester of Year 5, the department may, at its discretion, devise a plan of study to address the student’s deficiencies, or may dismiss the student from the program;

The program is designed so that students can complete all requirements for the 4+1 degree within one year of receiving the B.A./B.G.S. degree.

If unforeseen circumstances prevent the timely completion of the M.A. degree, the student must consult with the DGS and her or his graduate advisor to develop an alternative plan for finishing the program. Similarly, a student may decide to discontinue in the graduate program after finishing the bachelor’s degree, or while still completing undergraduate requirements; the student should notify the DGS of this decision. Those still completing requirements for the B.A. should also contact their undergraduate advisor as soon as possible to ensure timely completion of the bachelor’s degree.

If a student performs poorly in graduate coursework in Year 4 (receiving lower than a B in any graduate classes), the student will be advised to withdraw from the 4+1 program. As long as the B.A. requirements have been met, the student will be able to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

If the student performs poorly in Year 5 (dropping below a 3.0 GPA/“B” average in English classes), the student will fall out of Good Standing. The student’s name will be forwarded to the College and the student will be put on academic probation for one semester. The DGS and Graduate Committee senior staff will review the student’s progress regularly. If satisfactory progress is not being made, the student may be dismissed from the 4+1 program. The student can also withdraw voluntarily.

Request Information

To request more information about the Accelerated M.A. program, click one of the links below to complete an inquiry form.

Graduate Contacts

Graduate Student Handbook

For department policies and best practices please consult the graduate student handbook.
Graduate Handbook (.pdf)