Graduate Studies


"The English Graduate program at Western helped me gain agency over my degree with critical coursework, professional opportunities, and immersive teaching experience. Faculty in the department are immensely knowledgeable but always willing to learn more, and they imparted valuable, patient mentorship throughout the program. I graduated knowing I was wholly prepared to move forward while fondly reflecting on great fun, friends, and memories made along the way." - Nicholaus Nusbaumer, M.A. 2019, Associate Lecturer/English Composition, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Program Overview

The Western Illinois University Department of English offers graduate-level study in literature, writing, and cultural studies. Our graduates pursue careers in areas such as business and education, including fields that demand practice and expertise in intensive writing, editing, and sophisticated literacies. Some students pursue the teaching of composition and literature at the secondary or community-college levels, while others pursue further graduate study in the humanities and in Ph.D. programs.

Why Choose English at WIU?

We offer individualized programs that encourage students to choose courses and projects tailored to their interests and scholarly and professional goals. Students work with literature, emerging new media, film, popular cultural, professional editing, education, and composition/writing studies. All students take one required introductory course, consult with faculty to choose elective courses, and select an exit option.

Exit options offer a choice between writing a thesis, comprehensive exams, or an applied research project. These options help develop scholarly and professional skills by allowing students to cultivate expertise in one or more areas of English Studies.

Some students may earn credits toward the degree by fulfilling internships in teaching, professional writing, library science, and other fields, while gaining practical experience in their area of concentration and establishing valuable professional connections.

Our Faculty

English Graduate Faculty offer courses in every area of English Studies, and publish in an array of traditional and emerging fields, including textual studies, new media, film, literary studies, education, and popular culture.

Extracurricular Opportunities

Our graduate students run the English Graduate Organization (EGO). Together, they plan the annual EGO Conference, a forum for the presentation of papers and the discussion of exciting topics in the company of nationally and internationally recognized scholars who give keynote addresses and interact with students during the conference. Additionally, EGO students attend regional and national conferences, organize roundtables and talks, plan local events such as picnics and softball games, and participate in other organizations on campus such as Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society and events sponsored by the Interdisciplinary English and the Arts Society (IDEAS) based at WIU's Quad Cities campus.

Other Information

Recent graduates have made careers in copywriting, editing, technical writing, management, education, and public relations. Many of our graduates also teach writing in community colleges, or teach English abroad, while other students have entered Ph.D programs in English Studies, or Master’s programs in Library Science. Visit our website for student profiles and other

Quick View

Degrees Available:

  • M.A.


  • Quad Cities
  • Macomb

Required GPA:

  • Cumulative: 2.75
  • Last 2 years: 3.00

Admission Requirements:

  • Goals Statement
  • Transcripts
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Writing Sample

Interesting Facts: Fall 2023

  • Currently enrolled: 22
  • International: 2
  • Minority: 4
  • Students with Assistantships: 9

Department Contact Information:

Simpkins Hall 129