Program Information

Our graduate program is fairly small, enrolling fifteen to twenty new students each year. We deliberately limit the size of our program so that we can offer close working relationships between faculty and graduate students. For this reason, our graduate seminars are limited to twelve students, and two graduate classes per quarter is the normal load. Graduate students work closely with faculty in graduate seminars, through internships, and on academic and literary journals published by the Department. We consider our intellectual environment to be an essential part of our graduate program.

We schedule an exciting and diverse range of graduate seminars each year, with topics in national and global literatures, creative writing, composition and rhetoric, cultural studies, film, linguistics, literary theory, and pedagogy. Additionally, for those interested in becoming college-level teachers, our program offers in-depth experience and training.

Our graduate students are also able to gain significant editing and publishing experience through work on the editorial staff of one or more of the journals supported by the English Department at Western. The Bellingham Review is a nationally recognized journal that has recently published creative writing by such authors as Charles Wright and Gary Soto, among others. One paid Managing Editor position is available for a second-year student, awarded on a competitive basis.


The MA program in English is designed for those who desire to prepare for:

  • PhD and MFA programs, as well as other advanced degrees
  • Teaching at two-year colleges
  • Public or private teaching (elementary, middle, secondary)
  • Careers in technical writing and communication
  • Careers in editing and publishing
  • Careers in nonprofit and other business organizations

Depending on the chosen area of concentration, students will attain the following skills:

  • Preparation in national and global literatures and cultures, creative writing, critical and cultural theory, film and media, pedagogy, composition and rhetoric, technical writing, professional writing, editing and publishing, and linguistics
  • Teaching experience (if awarded a teaching assistantship or internship)
  • Professional editing with scholarly and creative writing journals, such as the Bellingham Review
  • Professional communication, oral and written
  • Competency in the use of classroom and communications technologies
  • Awareness of diversity, educational equity, and social justice issues
  • Awareness of ethical and reflective pedagogical practices
Bellingham Review

The Bellingham Review

A literary journal produced by English graduate students and known for innovative poetry, fiction, nonfiction and hybrid works

Application Requirements

All applicants must complete the Graduate School's ApplyWeb application. Within the application you will be prompted to upload an unofficial transcript from each institution attended.

The Graduate School Application Fee is $100, paid at the time of application submission.

Additional application materials are specified below. Applications will not be forwarded to the department for review until all required materials have been received by the Graduate School.

International Applicants: Please click here for information regarding Degree Equivalency, English Language Proficiency and student VISA requirements.

Additional Application Requirements

For General GRE exams taken before August 2011, the department expects a verbal score of at least 500 and a strong analytic score. For the Revised General GRE, the expected verbal score on the new scale is at least 153.
  • Three (3) Letters of Reference
  • PDF icon Statement of Purpose
  • Writing sample: 7-12 pages of work in literary study
  • GRE scores (not required if you hold an advanced degree - Master's, PhD, JD, MD, etc.)

Application Deadline

  • Fall 2020: Deadline extended to Feb. 15