The study of literature is central to the humanities, offering us experience in assessing human behavior and motivation. Through literary study we come to understand the power of language and literature to convey and construct individual and cultural values. The study of literature makes new things familiar and familiar things new; it invites us to explore ideas, identities, times and places we do not know, and to reexamine the traditions of our literary heritage. The degree requires a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours, including a final thesis or creative component (3 credits), and students must meet a language requirement that may be fulfilled in a number of ways. Students choose between two areas of specialization. The Literature specialization is designed to prepare students for a variety of career paths including going on for a PhD; teaching at the secondary, two- and four-year college, and university levels; and working in fields such as publishing, research and administration, or for nonprofit organizations. The Literature and the Teaching of Reading specialization is designed for students with a teaching license who wish to take graduate literature courses and work toward a reading endorsement by taking three reading courses in Curriculum and Instruction.

Ph.D. Offered: None

Master's Offered: Master of Arts (M.A.)

Online Degrees: None

Area(s) of Specialization (will appear on all ISU transcripts after graduation): Literature and the Teaching of Reading (M.A.); Literature (M.A.);

Master's Degree Outcomes

Career Placement Outcomes

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Contact: Teresa Smiley
Phone: 515-294-2477
E-mail Address:


ISU-wide: Academic Records, GPA, Statement of Purpose, Letters of Recommendation

Application Deadlines: January 5 for fall semester entry

Program Requires GRE: Yes

Program Requires GMAT : No

1. Three letters of recommendation (LOR)
2. Curriculum vitae/resume
3. Statement of purpose and personal goals
4. Writing sample according to our guidelines
5. All nonnative speaking applicants must provide an audio/video of spontaneous spoken English emailed to englgrad@iastate.edu.
NOTE: Nonnative speakers of English may NOT be required to submit English proficiency test scores (see below). Review International Application Instructions document by clicking HERE.

Additional International Requirements:

English Proficiency Minimum:

TOEFL Paper (PBT) 600
TOEFL Internet (iBT) 100
PTE 53

Program Will Review Without TOEFL or IELTS: No

Financial Statement: Application

Mailing Address if needed:

English Department
Graduate Studies Program, 203 Ross Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-1201