Department of English Graduate School of Liberal Arts and Sciences Villanova University

Department of English Graduate School of Liberal Arts and Sciences Villanova University

Villanova, PA
student ratio
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
March 1
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
1 Degree Offered
degrees offered


Program of Study

Villanova has been granting its master's degree in English language and literature for more than half a century. The university weds this sense of history with a keen awareness of the contemporary, interdisciplinary spirit of literary study. The curriculum balances a traditional, historical understanding of literary periods with newer, theoretically-based considerations of writing and reading. This range of approaches provides students with expertise in much of the literature written in English, highly refined interpretive skills, and familiarity with the major intellectual currents shaping the discipline of literary study today.

All courses are conducted as small seminars, with a maximum enrollment of 15 students. Course work provides a broad range of study in a variety of areas, and the thesis or field exam provides focus within a particular field. The thesis offers an opportunity for sustained critical examination of a work, author, or topic, while the field examination is taken on a list of works compiled in consultation with the student's adviser within a field of the student's choosing.

To satisfy the requirements for the master's degree, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits, including successful completion of a thesis or an oral/written field examination. Students are expected to take at least one course in British literature before 1800, and another in American literature before 1900. An average grade of at least "B" must be maintained to remain in the program. Students usually complete the curriculum in 2 years, taking 2 or 3 courses each semester, but may pursue their studies on a part-time basis, in which case they are allowed a period of 6 years to earn the degree.

At all stages, the program is deeply committed to the individual student's development and maturation as a literary scholar. Upon matriculation, each student is assigned an adviser who will assist in planning the individual course of study. After successful completion of 9 credits, the student may request an adviser with particular expertise in the student's area of interest.

Research Facilities

The Falvey Memorial Library houses more than 1 million library items. An interlibrary loan system is available, and a variety of literary and historical databases are also available online. Special holdings include the McGarrity and Worthington collections, major resources of literature and periodicals about Irish history, Irish-American relations, and writings by and about James Joyce. The library is located in the middle of the campus and includes many public-use computers.

Financial Aid

Applicants may compete for full financial awards, including tuition remission and a yearly stipend of over $14,000, which are renewable for a second year. Tuition scholarships (tuition remission without a stipend) are also offered. As part of these fellowships, students work as research assistants for graduate faculty members and/or serve as tutors in the University Writing Center. All of the courses are conducted in the evening, permitting part-time students and those without financial aid to work during the day.

Cost of Study

Fees and expenses for graduate students are $50 for the application fee, $720 per credit for tuition, and $60 per semester for general university fees.

Living and Housing Costs

A variety of affordable housing opportunities are available near the Villanova University campus. Housing costs vary in accordance with the option chosen. Room and board for a single graduate student may average about $10,000 for a 12-month period. Villanova University does not provide on-campus housing for graduate students.


There are usually about 50 students matriculated in the program, and the ratio of men to women is approximately 2:3. While some graduate students are dedicated to becoming professors of English, others are seeking the master's degree because they want to learn more about the discipline in order to decide whether a Ph.D. is right for them, they wish to advance their careers as teachers of secondary school, or they simply love literature and want to immerse themselves in it. Some students come directly from undergraduate programs, while others have pursued other careers and are returning to school to pursue a lifelong ambition.

Student Outcomes

In recent years, recipients of the master's degree in English from Villanova have been admitted to highly competitive Ph.D. programs, including Harvard, Ohio State, Penn State, Princeton, Rutgers, UCLA, and the Universities of Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Others have elected to use the degree to pursue teaching positions at the excellent secondary schools adjacent to the university. Still others have chosen to pursue careers in publishing and other fields, including business and law, which demand the verbal acumen and analytical rigor the program cultivates.


Villanova is situated on the historic Main Line, in a beautiful western suburb of Philadelphia. Philadelphia offers a wide variety of museums, libraries, concerts, and other cultural opportunities. Home to the greatest variety of 18th-century buildings in America, the city is also enjoying a renaissance in modern architecture, restaurants, and the performing arts. By car or train, the campus is only 30 minutes from downtown. It is 2 minutes from the Blue Route (Route 476) and 5 minutes from the PA Turnpike, Schuylkill Expressway, and Route 202. With ample parking and mass transit stops right on campus, students can travel easily to and from the campus by car, bus, or train.

The University and the Department

Founded in 1842 by the friars of the Order of St. Augustine, Villanova is a comprehensive Roman Catholic institution that welcomes students of all faiths. Roughly 10,000 students attend the university, including 6,000 undergraduates and 4,000 graduate students.

The English department at Villanova includes a number of distinguished critics, whose scholarship has earned them national and international recognition. They are well acquainted with the methods and values of current scholarship in English literature, and they seek equally to deepen the student's acquaintance with these critical discourses and develop each student's individual critical sensibility.


The university typically requires that applicants have at least 18 undergraduate credits and a 3.0 average in English. However, Villanova occasionally accepts applications from candidates who majored in related fields.

Applicants should apply online where they can upload or electronically submit the following materials: 3 letters of recommendation (at least 2 of which should be from former professors), a writing sample of approximately 10 pages, and a 1-page statement of goals.

Students should send all official postsecondary transcripts, and GRE scores to the Graduate Studies Office at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University.

The application is found on the main web page "Graduate Studies". The deadline for receipt of application materials for the fall semester is March 1, and for the spring semester it is November 15.

Location & Contact

Department of English

Graduate School of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Villanova University

800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085-1699
United States

Dr. Heather Hicks


Phone: 610-519-4645

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • English Master of Arts (MA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 14
    • 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


82% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 34
    • Accepted 28
    • Acceptance Rate 82
    • Enrolled 14
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $50
    • Application Fee - International $50
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline March 1st May 1st Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline November 15th October 15th Yes
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test, minimum GPA of 3.0, and writing sample, 3 recommendation letters
    • 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, Scholarship and/or loans, Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students38
    • Female Percentage68%
    • Male Percentage32%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students38
    • Part-time Percentage21%
    • Full-time Percentage79%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino3%
    • Black / African American5%
    • White / Caucasian84%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native3%
    • Asian0%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown5%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty6
    • Full-time PercentageNot Reported
    • Part-time PercentageNot Reported
    • Female Percentage67%
    • Male Percentage33%