Kansas State University
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Exploring literary landscapes: MA programmes in literature at Kansas State University

The English language unlocks worlds, within and beyond us. Without its stories, how else do we find the best words to express love, loss, pain, ambition, and all the other emotions that define what it means to be human? The right word, sentence, and paragraph have power to create change.

At Kansas State University’s (K-State) Department of English, students explore this power and more, becoming well-read, well-connected, and well-prepared graduates. The department offers advanced programmes that delve into language and literature, fostering not only critical thinking but also cultural awareness and the ability to navigate complex ideas.

Just ask Fortune Lavie from Ghana pursuing a Master of Arts in English Programme in Composition and Rhetoric. “Throughout undergraduate education, I have often asked myself, ‘How can I apply my English degree to solving societal issues and contribute to making life less challenging for the human race?’” she says. “The English department at K-State has helped me answer this question and has set me on a path of self-discovery. I would absolutely recommend the English programme at K-State to any international student or friend seeking to further their degree in English.”

Tailored learning for diverse goals

K-State’s two-year English Master’s programme offers a flexible structure that students can tailor to their academic interests and professional goals. The programme features a core literature component alongside specialised tracks in Literature, Children’s Literature, Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, and Composition and Rhetoric. This diverse selection ensures students can complete the degree within four semesters while focusing on their area of passion. Qualified students can benefit from Graduate Teaching Assistantships, which provide teaching experience and financial support.

What distinguishes K-State is that the university offers a carefully structured and personalised programme that promotes creativity, innovative scholarship, and close relationships between students and faculty — qualities often reserved for PhD programmes.

Kansas State University

Small classes led by engaged faculty members cover diverse topics, fostering a dynamic and inclusive learning environment. Source: Kansas State University

Here, the learning environment goes beyond traditional lectures. Classes are kept small to prioritise discussions over lectures, allowing students to dive deeper into assigned readings through active conversation. Faculty mentors provide detailed feedback on writing assignments, further enhancing the learning experience. Weekly office hours and the university’s Writing Center, staffed by the department’s faculty and peer tutors, give additional support to students at all stages of the writing process.

A community of support and growth

It’s hard to miss the Department of English’s strong sense of community and camaraderie. The collaborative atmosphere encourages mutual support and intellectual exchange. Faculty members are approachable and genuinely invested in the academic and personal growth of their students, while fellow students create a supportive and collegial environment.

“’Phenomenal’ is the word I would use to describe the academic support I have received so far,” Lavie says. “Even though no faculty member directly researches the rhetoric of law, all the professors I work with have taken an interest in my field for my sake. They direct me to relevant resources I need for my projects.”

The programme actively encourages students to present and publish their work — be it at academic conferences, peer-reviewed journals, or public-facing digital humanities projects.

“The first project I embarked on during my first semester at K-State delved into the rhetorical construction of criminality in court trials and its profound implications for wrongful convictions,” Lavie says. “Beyond merely enlightening me about the power of language, it also exposed me to a different facet of humanity and the legal system of the US — one that regrettably falls short in preventing the wrongful conviction of innocent individuals.”

Kansas State University

About 30% of their MA alumni teach in education, while others work in diverse fields such as university administration, professional writing, journalism, law, marketing, publishing, medicine, and arts administration. Source: Kansas State University

Preparing for a fulfilling career

Networking is a big part of the MA programme. Students are encouraged to present their work at departmental events and national conferences, with faculty providing guidance every step of the way. Visiting scholars and writers provide more avenues for dialogue and relationship-building. Alumni career events further connect students with experienced professionals, opening doors to many varied opportunities.

Recognising the evolving job landscape, the programme equips graduates for a broad range of career paths, including teaching at the secondary or post-secondary level, university administration, professional writing, journalism, information services, librarianship, law, marketing and public relations, publishing, medicine and health, accountancy, and arts administration. Notably, over 40% of programme graduates have pursued further education, demonstrating the programme’s foundation for lifelong learning.

For Lavie, the programme is a stepping stone to her dream career: becoming a college professor. “The Graduate Teaching Assistantships offer invaluable practical experience that will prepare me for this future role,” she says. “Plus, the department’s career seminars have broadened my perspective on career options for English majors. These sessions have equipped me with the knowledge and resources to navigate the job market effectively.”

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