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A Master’s Degree Bridging Composition and Literature

You're fascinated by words and language—reading, writing, editing, teaching. And finding meaning in literature intrigues you. In IUP's Composition and Literature MA you'll combine your love of language and literature and discover ways your interests can advance your career or get the job you want.

This master's degree is one of just a few programs in the country that bridges the two fields of composition and literature. You’ll be introduced to literary texts and approaches to literature that you may not yet have considered. You will:

  • Learn how literature is composed.
  • Discover how ideas about composition have changed our reading and writing skills in the twenty-first century.
  • Experiment with new ways of looking at the world through composition.
  • Advance your career in any number of fields, including
    • Professional editing
    • Writing
    • Content reviewing
  • Deepen your knowledge of teaching to guide others in creating new ideas through literature.

Imagine Your Future

Writing and editing are critical skills in every job. With a MA in Composition and Literature, you’ll be well-prepared to start your first job, launch a new career, or advance in your current field. You might consider:

  • Teaching writing and reading to people in a variety of settings, from education to business to science.
    • If you’re currently a teacher in grades 7–12, an MA will give you significant salary leverage and expand your opportunities to secondary institutions.
  • Combining your creative and research talents into a career as a communications professional.
  • Expanding your perspective for an eventual career as an author or publisher.

(Salaries shown found on Indeed.com and the Occupational Outlook Handbook.)

Career Opportunities

There are so many places a master's degree in composition and literature might take you:

  • Author
  • Content writer
  • Copywriter
  • Director of communications
  • Editor
  • English teacher
  • Grant writer
  • Instructional designer
  • Lecturer
  • Public relations manager
  • Publisher
  • Technical writer

Median Average Annual Salaries in the US



Content Writer




Director of Communications




English Teacher


Grant Writer


Instructional Designer




Public Relations Manager




Technical Writer




Classes and Requirements

You can tailor your composition and literature master’s degree classes to your meet professional goals. Follow your interests and create your own specialty, for example,

  • Global myth studies
  • Science fiction and composition
  • Medical humanities and literature
  • Digital humanities studies

Program Handbook

Detailed Course Descriptions Composed by Faculty

Faculty course descriptions and information, with reading lists, are posted each semester. Take a look at some recent course descriptions to get a feel for what you might study.

Fall 2018 Course Descriptions

Summer 2018 Course Descriptions

Spring 2018 Course Descriptions

Fall 2017 Course Descriptions

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Enroll Full-Time or Part-Time: Your Degree, Your Way

Pick the MA option that’s right for you:

  • The accelerated 4+1 BA/MA is for current undergraduates. You'll work towards your master's degree while earning your bachelor's. This saves you time and tuition dollars.
  • Enroll full-time and you can earn your master's degree in less than one year. You’ll begin classes in June and complete your degree by May of the following year.
  • Take part-time courses. This is great for working professionals, including practicing teachers. Enroll in summer or evening classes and still graduate in two years.

How to Apply

In order to apply to the Composition and Literature master's program at IUP, please submit all of the materials listed below. Applicants must have a minimum 2.6 GPA for undergraduate or a 3.5 GPA for graduate degrees to be considered for admission.

The Composition and Literature MA at IUP is perfect for any student who loves English and wants the expansive knowledge and practical skills necessary to meet the demands of the contemporary job market.

Submit the following items for consideration:

  • Apply online
  • $50 nonrefundable application fee
  • Two academic or professional letters of recommendation written by those qualified to assess the applicant's potential for master's study
  • Signed and dated written academic goal statement from the candidate that explains reasons for pursuing a master's degree and professional plans
  • Official, sealed transcripts of colleges and universities attended

There is no deadline to apply for this program. We review applications on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Applications received after March 15 may be considered on a rolling basis, but only in the case that there are still openings in the program.

For more general information on the Composition and Literature MA program, please review the program handbook.

Financing Your Degree

There are multiple ways to support getting your degree at IUP.

  • Graduate assistantships can help you financially while providing hands-on work experience.
  • Research grant opportunities are available to reduce your costs.
  • Travel funding is available for professional conferences and presentations.
  • Competitive service and research awards enhance your professional profile and your curriculum vitae.

Invest in Your Professional Development: An MA for Teachers and Researchers

Getting an MA in Composition and Literature will get you ready for new career opportunities and enrich your practice, whether you’re a teacher or researcher. Get involved with the many different organizations and opportunities available at IUP:

  • Find support with individualized mentoring and professional preparation.
  • Network with our two graduate organizations, the English Graduate Organization and Popular Culture Methodologies. They host a regional conference and coordinate presentation and publication workshops with faculty.
  • Write, edit, and publish with our established journals: Studies in the Humanities and ARISTEIA.
  • Tap into funding opportunities to present your work in public forums.
  • Connect with our community of scholars to build your professional network.
  • Take classes that enable you to translate what you learn into your work environment.
  • Get intensive training in research, writing, and presentation skills.

Two Journals, Many Ways to Gain Hands-on Experience

Get involved with the IUP's journals and you’ll be immersed in learn-by-doing opportunities, whether you’re writing, editing, or publishing. You can gain valuable editorial experience via our two established, multidisciplinary journals:

  • Studies in the Humanities, published bi-annually since 1968.
  • ARISTEIA, a peer-reviewed journal of myth, literature and culture, published by the Dessy-Roffman Myth Collaborative at IUP.

Composition and Literature Faculty

Our faculty are true teacher-scholars. They unite a strong reputation for solid research with a commitment to teaching.

Learn about language and literature from our team of active professionals, who publish and present work regularly at national and international forums.