Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

BA/MA Program

Five-year Masters Program

The English Department offers a five-year combined BA/MA degree (which, in some circumstances, can be completed in 4 ½ years). The combined degree will allow promising and talented undergraduates to move quickly through the MA degree. 

The new program offers our best undergraduates access to the considerable strengths of our strong and highly-regarded graduate programs. It will give these English majors a significant opportunity to test their skills and develop professional insights, leading to stronger applications to PhD programs, post-secondary teaching positions, or other careers related to writing, critical analysis, or education administration. While completing the equivalent of the requirements for the BA in English, students in the five-year program will receive significantly more training in research skills and methods than their counterparts who complete only the BA, by virtue of their graduate courses in general and of the Introduction to Graduate Studies (ENGL 400) in particular. They may also fulfill the requirement for the undergraduate capstone course (ENGL 390) with a graduate seminar. 

Students in the BA/MA program have two electives at the graduate level, which may be used to take courses in another department or an interdisciplinary program that offers a graduate degree, such as History, Philosophy, or Women’s Studies and Gender Studies. The new MA in Digital Humanities also provides opportunities for students in the BA/MA program to take courses in textual scholarship. 

Admission Requirements and Application Procedures 

To apply to the BA/MA program, a student must be (1) a declared undergraduate English major; (2) be a junior at Loyola University Chicago based on credit hours earned; (3) have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 for course work at Loyola; and (4) have earned a 3.7 GPA in at least five completed English courses at Loyola, three of which must be at the 300 level. 

A student should apply for admission to this program by March 15th of their junior year through Loyola’s online graduate application. Transfer students may apply at the end of their second semester as a junior, or once they have met criterion #4 above. The application requires a writing sample, a one-page statement of purpose, and the names of three Loyola English faculty members who can provide a recommendation via e-mail to the directors of the Graduate and Undergraduate Programs in English. (Transcripts will already be available through LOCUS, so applicants do not need to provide those. Nor do applicants need to take the GRE exams.) 

Students accepted into the five-year program will remain undergraduate students through their senior year, even though they will be taking graduate-level courses. They will be officially admitted to the graduate program in the summer following receipt of their BA degree, or the next fall if they do not enroll in summer courses. As undergraduates, students may take up to 9 credit hours of graduate work, which will count toward their undergraduate degree as well. 

Admission to the program is highly competitive and will depend upon a positive review of credentials by the department's Graduate Program Committee. The Graduate Program Director will coordinate this program, working with the Director of Undergraduate Programs to advise students on their applications and to assure there is no significant overlap between courses completed at the undergraduate and those at the graduate levels. 

Curriculum Requirements 

Students in the five-year program must take 30 hours past the BA level. Four of their remaining undergraduate seminars should be fulfilled by 400-level courses; in special circumstances, an additional 390 or 395 could be substituted for a 400-level course.  

The following courses are required to complete the BA/MA degree: 

  • ENGL 400 
  • 400-level course in literature before 1800 
  • 400-level course in literature after 1800 
  • 400-level course in Textual Studies/Digital Humanities 
  • 400-level course in Theory & Criticism 
  • 400-level literature elective 
  • 400-level literature elective 
  • 400-level elective (open) 
  • 400-level elective (open) 
  • 400-level elective (open)