4+1 BA/MA Program

This program, which bridges the senior year with a fifth year of graduate study, is designed to give advanced students in-depth exposure to graduate study in literature and to further their research and critical skills. Students admitted to the program will undertake limited graduate work in their senior year and then will stay on for a fifth year to concentrate exclusively on graduate studies. The 4+1 program is designed for students seeking additional preparation before applying for PhD programs in English and related fields, as well as for those pursuing other career tracks (such as secondary teaching and publishing) in which an MA degree in English is valuable. Applicants must be Emory English majors in their junior year. Additionally, it will allow students to work more closely with both faculty mentors and with the doctoral students who come to Emory from other institutions.

How does the program work?

Enrolled students take limited graduate coursework during their senior year, and then divide time between additional coursework and work on a Masters thesis during the fifth year of study. In the fifth year, students will enroll in the Laney Graduate School rather than Emory College.

In the fall semester of the senior year, students will register for ENG 796, the introductory graduate seminar in “Theories, Histories, and Methods,” in order to orient them toward critical approaches associated with graduate-level work in literary studies. That fall, they will take one additional graduate course on an S/U basis, which means that they are responsible for the reading and for participating in the seminar, but they will not be required to write a major paper. During the spring of the senior year, students will take two additional graduate seminars – one on a graded basis and one S/U. During the fifth year, students will take two to three graduate seminars per semester while working on a Masters thesis in close conjunction with a faculty mentor. The precise number of credit hours for thesis coursework is flexible, depending upon the scope of the research involved.  In order to successfully complete the program, the student must satisfactorily complete this coursework and obtain approval of the Master's thesis from a committee including the primary advisor and two other faculty members, one of whom may be from outside of the English department.

Note: courses may NOT be double counted for the completion of your undergraduate degree and the completion of the MA program.

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Is the program right for me?

If you are planning to pursue a PhD in English or if you are interested in secondary teaching, having an MA can be advantageous. An MA degree is not usually a requirement for entering a PhD program, but it can significantly improve one's chances of getting into competitive programs (approximately half of Emory's PhD students have done MA work elsewhere); it can also prepare one for the rigorous work demanded within them. Additionally, many school districts and private schools favor teaching applicants with MA degrees, and a good number pay them higher salaries than they pay teachers who have only the BA. Having an MA is also advantageous for a career in publishing, either commercial or academic. The Laney Graduate School offers workshops informing students about careers other than college teaching for which an MA or PhD in the humanities provides a useful foundation.

Students planning to apply should complete at least seven English courses by the end of the junior year. While we do not have a precise GPA requirement for the program, we will only be accepting students with strong records within the major and a clear rationale for undertaking graduate work.

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Will I still be able to do an Honors thesis?

Yes. If you are enrolled in the 4+1 program and plan to do Honors as well, you will take ENG 796 in lieu of the honors seminar (ENG 490) in the fall of your senior year. During the course of that year, you will write an Honors thesis. During your fifth year, you can choose to significantly build and expand your Honors thesis, which in some cases will become the basis of your MA thesis. This will provide continuity between the project you have undertaken as a senior and the work you will do as a graduate student. Importantly, however, the honors thesis (if pursued) and the Master’s thesis must be two separate and distinct pieces of work.  If, on consultation with your advisor, you decide to pursue a different research topic for your M.A. thesis, you may do so. If you are not enrolled in the Honors program, your M.A. thesis will be written during the fifth ("+1") year.

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What is the tuition for the fifth year?

Tuition for the fifth year will be 50% of the standard tuition rate for the Laney Graduate School. If you are now receiving financial aid from Emory College, you will need to seek an alternate source of aid for your fifth year, since you will then be enrolled in the Laney Graduate School, and your undergraduate financial aid will no longer be available.

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Why stay at Emory for an M.A. program?

Many universities offer “free-standing” two-year MA programs. These programs tend to charge full tuition for both years; in Emory's 4+1 program, the basic tuition package is essentially 50% of one year's tuition. In addition, by staying at Emory, you will have continuity of mentorship with faculty who know you and are invested in your work, and you will not have to move to another campus for a two-year period before applying for a PhD program or a job, in perhaps yet another city.

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How do I apply?

In order to apply, you will need to complete an application form,  www.english.emory.edu/resources/administrative-forms/index.html, and submit it as an email attachment to Clifford Clark, Graduate Program Degree Coordinator in English, at clifford.emery.clark@emory.edu.  The application includes  1) a statement of interest with a research plan (1000 words or less), 2) the written recommendation of two members of the department's faculty, one of whom agrees to be the potential advisor of your MA thesis, 3) a 10-20 page writing sample showcasing your best critical work, 4) a cv, and 5) an Emory transcript.

The application should be completed by April 13. For further information, you may send a query to the Director of Graduate Studies or the Director of Undergraduate Studies. It is also best to consult with your major advisor as well as your potential thesis advisor before applying to the program.

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