Department of English College of Arts and Sciences Seton Hall University

Department of English College of Arts and Sciences Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ
student ratio
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
July 1
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
1 Degree Offered
degrees offered


Traditional scholarship, modern accolades

Seton Hall University is a private, Catholic school in South Orange, New Jersey, about half an hour from New York City. Founded in 1856, Seton Hall is the country's oldest diocesan university. Today it serves some 9,800 students, including about 4,300 students participating in more than 120 graduate degree and certificate programs, including the Master of Arts (MA) in English degree program.

Seton Hall is on the "US News and World Report" list of Best National Universities, "Money" magazine's Best Colleges list, and the "Princeton Review" lists of Best Northeastern Colleges and Best 379 Colleges. ranks Seton Hall one of the Top 20 Best Colleges for Veterans.

One English master's degree program, three options

The Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall University offers graduate courses to accommodate students with a wide range of career and professional goals. Graduate students have the unique opportunity to pursue a Master of Arts (MA) in English through the "Hub" and "Spoke" program with the option of focusing on Literature, Writing, or Creative Writing. These different spokes allow students to focus on a variety of career goals, including the pursuit of a Ph.D. or MFA, teaching and/or professional writing.

The Department of English takes a holistic approach to literary studies in emphasizing both reading and advanced writing skills. Students are given guidance and the opportunity to meet their professional and academic goals with a one-on-one approach, and are encouraged to participate actively in the profession.

An emphasis on literature

Students who plan to work in academia or who intend to pursue doctoral degrees in English typically choose the literature spoke in the English MA degree program. In addition to the hub classes listed above, literature students take 18 credit hours' worth of courses such as "The Art of Creative Writing," "Linguistic History of English," "Scientific and Technical Writing," and "Composition Theory and Practice," in addition to literature electives, a graduate seminar, and a master's thesis course.

Writing for secondary teachers

For high school teachers and teachers-in-training, the writing spoke is the recommended choice. This track combines the hub courses with the study of varied types of writing from poetry to technical prose. Among the options for the 18 credit-hour program are: "Modern Rhetoric and Writing," "Scientific and Technical Writing," "Composition Theory and Practice," and "Linguistic History of English," along with workshops in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Writing spoke students have the choice of either taking graduate seminars or seeking departmental approval to write master's theses instead.

Creative writing for working writers and instructors

The creative writing spoke puts heavier emphasis on writing output than the other two spokes in the English graduate program. It's designed for those who want to work as writers and writing teachers, as well as for students who plan to pursue further creative writing degrees such as the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.

Like the other two spokes, the creative writing spoke consists of 18 credit hours. The "Advanced Creative Workshop" is a requirement along with several literature electives and two additional workshops chosen from three options: poetry, non-fiction, and fiction. No thesis or seminar is required for the creative writing spoke.

Preparation for MFA and doctoral degree programs

Graduates of the MA in English degree program at Seton Hall have gone on to doctoral study at schools including Penn State University, the University of Maryland, Purdue, Michigan State University, and the University of Cincinnati. Other graduates have gone on to enroll on Master of Fine Arts degree programs at such universities as The New School, Columbia, the University of North Carolina, and Old Dominion University.

Faculty members with a wide range of experience

Seton Hall's English department faculty members bring together diverse areas of interest and expertise to share with students. This richness of experience, combined with a student-faculty member ratio of 14 to 1, gives students the chance to benefit from personalized attention from instructors during classes and workshops. Here are some examples of faculty member experience:

- Department Chair and Professor Mary M. Balkum is the author of scholarly articles and a book on American writers. She also edits poetry and researches topics from current technology to early American grotesquery.

- Professor Chrysanthy Grieco specializes in Shakespeare but has also taught all time periods of US and British literature and has served as Seton Hall's Dean of Libraries.

- Professor Jonathan Farina is a Victorian literature scholar who focuses on British writers and the science of the Victorian era. He is currently an associate fellow at Rutgers University's Center for Cultural Analysis.

- Professor Nathan M. Oates is a prize-winning short-fiction author and novelist as well as the department's creative writing director. He also directs the department's Poetry in the Round reading series.

Scholarships, assistantships, and other financial aid

The English department at Seton Hall University offers a total of eight teaching assistantships. Interested applicants can get the most up-to-date information from the graduate studies director, Dr. Angela Weisl.

The Office of Graduate Admissions maintains an updated list of scholarship opportunities for graduate students at Seton Hall. Among these are scholarships for graduate students with an interest in Polish history and culture, Kings Supermarket employees and dependents, and emergency first responders and their children. The College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall keeps another list of dozens of scholarship programs that are open to liberal arts graduate students, students pursuing careers in communications, and future teachers.

Seton Hall participates in the Veterans Administration's Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides a "considerable contribution" toward tuition costs for qualified active-duty military personnel and veterans.

Location & Contact

Department of English

College of Arts and Sciences
Seton Hall University

400 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079-2697
United States

Dr. Mary Balkun


Phone: 973-761-9388
Fax: 973-761-9596

Dr. Angela Weisl

Director of Graduate Studies

Phone: 973-275-5889
Fax: 973-761-9596

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Literature Master of Arts (MA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 9
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Yes
    • Evening/weekend programs available? Yes
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? Not reported
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


86% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 29
    • Accepted 25
    • Acceptance Rate 86
    • Enrolled 19
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $75
    • Application Fee - International $75
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline July 1st July 1st Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline November 1st November 1st Yes
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE, minimum of 21 undergraduate credits in English
    • Doctoral's DegreesNot Reported
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsNot Reported
    • Types of financial support availableFederal Work-Study, Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students37
    • Female Percentage68%
    • Male Percentage32%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students37
    • Part-time Percentage49%
    • Full-time Percentage51%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino0%
    • Black / African American6%
    • White / Caucasian78%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian3%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown13%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty15
    • Full-time Percentage100%
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Female Percentage53%
    • Male Percentage47%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchThe essay, modern poetry, the novel, medieval poetry, Renaissance drama
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last yearNot Reported