MA in English with Literature and the Teaching of Reading Specialization

Group of students in front of the Memorial Union




This 30-credit master of arts program is designed for licensed teachers who wish to advance their study of literature as they work toward a reading endorsement. Students take graduate courses in British, American, and other areas of literature while also completing three reading courses in Iowa State’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education.

Many graduate English courses are taught in the late afternoon, evening, or online to accommodate teachers. In these courses, faculty regularly offer options for papers and other assessments that emphasize pedagogy. Additionally, in their 3-credit culminating project, students with this specialization can opt to produce a pedagogy-specific Creative Component. This program is especially valuable to teachers in the upper elementary, middle school, and high school levels, including teachers of dual-enrollment courses.

The MA in English (Specialization in Literature and the Teaching of Reading) major requires a total of 30 credits of coursework.



Enter the online application system.

Deadline: January 5, for full admission and assistantship consideration (for beginning study in the fall term)


  • GRE General Test Official Scores (required only if you are seeking an assistantship)
  • Scanned Official Transcripts and degree statements
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Analytical writing sample (5-20 pages): This writing sample allows you to display your command of scholarly research and accepted grammatical rules for written English. Applicants usually submit a scholarly research essay written for an undergraduate class in English that demonstrates critical and research skills.
  • Statement of Purpose & Personal Goals—2-3 double-spaced pages maximum uploaded as a supplemental document

Tips for Preparing Your Statement of Purpose:

  • Describe your interests in literary works and research (e.g. particular authors, social issues, historical periods, critical theories) as well as, if relevant, your academic, volunteer, professional, and personal experiences that support or expand these interests.
  • Explain how an MA in Literature or Literature and the Teaching of Reading suits your interests and goals, mentioning specific faculty whose research interests intersect with your own.
  • If you are seeking a teaching assistantship, please include any teacher-training you have had, as well as any previous teaching, tutoring, and/or mentoring experience. Please also address your interest in teaching in our Speech Communication program (SpComm 212) and/or our ISUComm Foundation Communication program (