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College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Master of Arts in English and African American Literature

Study African American literature in the only program of its kind.

Maybe you’re an English major who wants to gain a deeper understanding of language, literature, and rhetoric — and the relationships between English, American, and African American literature. Or perhaps you hold a degree from a different field and want to explore critical theories, historical perspectives, African American studies, or writing pedagogy.

Regardless of your academic background, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University’s M.A. in English literature offers a comprehensive introduction to numerous theories, texts, and skills. It is the only master’s in literature program to offer equal emphasis on English studies and African American literature in an HBCU landscape, where leading black thought is cultivated.

Why choose N.C. A&T for your master’s in English literature?


Beyond studying in one of the nation’s most distinctive master’s in literature programs, you’ll work with faculty dedicated to your development as a scholar and professional.

Working with texts from major American writers across genres, you’ll hone your critical reading, thinking, and writing skills while cultivating expertise in such areas as African American studies, women and gender studies, multicultural literature, and teaching. Our unique M.A. in English and African American literature helps you build the solid foundation you need to pursue your Ph.D. — and numerous other opportunities.

At N.C. A&T, you’ll benefit from:

Funding and assistantship opportunities. Apply for a renewable assistantship in the University Writing Center, under a faculty member, or even within a different department.

In-depth studies, both conventional and unconventional. Get hands-on training as writing tutor, an editor at the campus newspaper, or as a graduate assistant in departments like Biology. In our M.A. in English literature program, you won’t just study diversity — you’ll contribute to it.

No GRE or B.A. in English requirement. Learn English and African American literature affordably and accessibly. Apply with just 24 credit hours in undergraduate English and with or without GRE scores.

Partnership with Wayne State University. Conduct research with Wayne State University faculty and present it at Wayne State’s annual HBCU Research Symposium. Later, you’ll have the opportunity to pursue placement in Wayne State’s English Ph.D. program following graduation.

An HBCU setting. Learn in a proud, inclusive community with a long history of producing successful English and African American literature scholars. Our master’s in literature program was founded in 1976 with the aim of championing disciplinarity in an environment that centers black voices.

Dream. Careers in African American literature


As a graduate of the M.A. in English and African American literature program, you’ll be equipped to pursue both academic and non-academic careers. Go on to conduct further graduate study, work in secondary or post-secondary education, or enter a host of other professions. May of our alums hold positions as:

  • College professors
  • Lawyers
  • Judges
  • Publishing writers
  • Secondary teachers
  • Curriculum content managers

Succeed. What N.C. A&T’s master’s in literature program graduates have to say


“Much of my growth and accomplishments are a direct result of the training that I received in the M.A. program at North Carolina A&T. This program and the graduate assistantship that I was awarded while I was there not only taught me to research and analyze but provided me early leadership and classroom management and instruction experience that I was able to take with me to my first career opportunity upon graduation. This program provided the foundation for which I still stand today.

– Tiffany Overby, ’09, M.A. In English and African American Literature, English Professor, Guilford Technical and Community College


“The English department’s culture of care was what really stuck with me as I was finishing the M.A. program requirements. At my master’s thesis defense, there were about 12 faculty members who had mentored and taught me during my graduate studies in attendance. All of the faculty who attended provided me with invaluable feedback on my master’s thesis, which to this day inspires me to do more meaningful research in the areas of black popular music and social activist rhetoric.”

– Zeba Khan-Thomas, ’13, M.A. in English and African American Literature, Assistant Professor of English, Tennessee State University

Connect. English and African American Literature faculty


At N.C. A&T, you’ll learn under and collaborate with faculty holding a wide variety of expertise. Our M.A. in English literature faculty specialize in black storytelling and narrative discourse analysis; Critical Race Theory; health communication studies with social justice and black maternal health emphases; folk cultural studies and African American folklore; hip-hop feminism; womanism; intersectional pedagogies; diasporic literature; and other scholarship crucial to discourse in English and African American literature.

Our faculty are committed to mentorship and helping you develop expertise you can apply to academic and non-academic contexts. Whether you’re interested in higher education, government, business or another career pathway, our faculty will help you prepare to meet your goals. 

African American literature courses and curriculum


In our unique master’s in literature program, you’ll not only gain expertise in English and African American literature. You’ll also cover both language and literature, combining textual studies and literary theory with rhetoric, grammar, and linguistics — which is uncommon among master’s in literature programs. Some of the English and African American literature courses you’ll take include:

  • Language Variations in American English
  • Introduction to Folklore
  • American Multi-Cultural Literature
  • Postcolonial Novel and Theory
  • Contemporary Practices in Grammar & Rhetoric
  • Teaching of Freshman Writing
Browse all English and African American literature courses.
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Explore. Explore. Assistantships and financial aid for M.A. in English literature students

At N.C. A&T, we believe you should be able to pursue your graduate study as affordably as possible. We offer several ways to fund your M.A. in English literature, including a renewable assistantship of $5,000 per semester and the Satterfield White scholarship. Contact Hope Jackson, program director, at jacksonw@ncat.edu for more information, or explore other financial aid opportunities for graduate students.

Discover. Programs related to the M.A. in English and African American literature

The master’s in literature program prepares you for further graduate study and roles in teaching. If you’re interested in teaching-specific degrees, you may also find these programs relevant:


Apply today