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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 30 hours (33 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.

ENGL 300 Introduction to English Studies (3 hours – must be taken within first year of declaring the English major):

English Studies Coursework (21 hours, 300 or above)

This includes at least one course chosen from:

            Rhetoric, Language and Writing studies

            Literature, Language, or Rhetoric prior to 1850

            Diverse identities, communities, and texts

The remaining courses may be chosen from any 300-level or above English course offerings.  For students who are interested in focusing on a specific area of study, they may follow the optional emphases path outlined below.

  • One 200-level course may be counted toward English Studies coursework.

Capstone Requirements (6 hours, 500 or above)

  • Students must complete ENGL 300 and 2 other 300-level courses before they proceed to the capstone requirements. All 500-level or above English courses count as capstone courses.
  • Students pursuing departmental honors may use ENGL 598 to fill one capstone requirement, and must also enroll in ENGL 599: Thesis hours.

Breadth Requirements

As part of the coursework above, students must take courses in the following areas of breadth

At least one course in Rhetoric, Language, and Writing studies

Creative Writing courses

ENGL 351

Fiction Writing I

ENGL 352

Poetry Writing I

ENGL 353

Screenwriting I

ENGL 354

Playwriting I

ENGL 355

Nonfiction Writing I

ENGL 551

Fiction Writing II

ENGL 552

Poetry Writing II

ENGL 553

Screenwriting II

ENGL 554

Playwriting II

ENGL 555

Nonfiction Writing II

Rhetoric, Composition, and Language courses

ENGL 359

English Grammar

ENGL 360

Topics in Writing: _____

ENGL 361

Professional Writing: _____

ENGL 362

Foundations of Technical Writing

ENGL 380

Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition

ENGL 381

Topics in Rhetoric and Composition: _____

ENGL 382

Composing Cultures

ENGL 383

Cultural Rhetorics

ENGL 385

The Development of Modern English

ENGL 386

Language and Social Justice in the US

ENGL 387

Introduction to the English Language

ENGL 388

Topics in English Language Studies

ENGL 389

Postcolonial and World Englishes

ENGL 562

Advanced Technical Writing I

ENGL 563

Advanced Technical Writing and Editing

ENGL 564

Advanced Technical Editing I

ENGL 580

Rhetoric and Writing: _____

ENGL 581

English Language Studies: ______

ENGL 582

Multimedia/Multimodal Rhetorics

ENGL 586

Language and Style

ENGL 587

American English

At least one course in Literature, Language, or Rhetoric prior to 1850

ENGL 301

Topics in British Literature to 1800: _____

ENGL 310

Literary History I

ENGL 312

Major British Writers to 1800

ENGL 317

Topics in American Literature to 1865: _____

ENGL 320

American Literature I

ENGL 331


ENGL 332


ENGL 385

The Development of Modern English

ENGL 521

Advanced Topics in British Literature 1800: _____

ENGL 525

Shakespeare: _____

ENGL 565

The Gothic Tradition

ENGL 576

Advanced Topics in American Literature to 1865: _____

ENGL 610

The Literature of England to 1500

ENGL 620

Renaissance English Literature: _____

ENGL 633


ENGL 640

British Literature, 1600-1800: _____

ENGL 650

Romantic Literature: _____

At least one course emphasizing diverse identities, communities, and texts

ENGL 305

World Indigenous Literatures

ENGL 306

Global Environmental Literature

ENGL 326

Introduction to African Literature

ENGL 336

Jewish American Literature and Culture

ENGL 337

Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Literature

ENGL 338

Introduction to African-American Literature

ENGL 339

Introduction to Caribbean Literature

ENGL 340

Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature: _____

ENGL 341

American Literature of Social Justice

ENGL 342

Topics in Transcultural Literature, Language, or Rhetoric: _____

ENGL 344

Black Feminist Theory

ENGL 382

Composing Cultures

ENGL 383

Cultural Rhetorics

ENGL 386

Language and Social Justice in the US

ENGL 389

Postcolonial and World Englishes

ENGL 492

The London Review

ENGL 530

Irish Literature and Culture: _____

ENGL 536

Readings in the Holocaust

ENGL 571

American Indian Literature: _____

ENGL 572

Women and Literature: _____

ENGL 573

U.S. Latina/o Literature: _____

ENGL 574

African American Literature: _____

ENGL 575

Literature of the American South

ENGL 674

African Literature: _____


Optional Emphases within the Major

  • Students may pursue an emphasis in a particular field by taking at least 3 courses in it.
  • These emphases include:
    • Literary Studies: one literary history course, one theory course, and one literary studies capstone
    • Creative Writing: 300-level workshops in two genres, and one creative writing capstone
    • Language, Culture, and Rhetoric: 380 or 387, another RCL course, and one RCL capstone
    • Students may also designate their own ‘custom’ emphasis, in consultation with a departmental advisor.



  • 27 hours must be at the junior/senior level.
  • One 200-level course may count toward major requirements. 
  • 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 30 hours of major courses (33 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 27 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.


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 consult the graduate handbook, found on the Graduate Resources page.
Graduate Resources