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English Master’s Degree Program

Deepen your understanding of fiction, poetry, and drama while learning to analyze and interpret literary texts.

  • Online Courses

    11 out of 12 total courses

  • On-Campus Experience

    2 weekends or one 3-week course

  • Tuition

    $3,220 per course

Program Overview

Through the master’s degree in the field of English you build:

  • The ability to identify topics and develop questions that lead to meaningful scholarly inquiry.
  • An enhanced knowledge of the philosophical, historical, and cultural forces that shape literary works.
  • A deeper understanding of the work that literary scholars do.
  • The skills required for communicating your ideas and entering a critical conversation.

Program Benefits

  • Map with a flag.

    Customizable course curriculum

  • Teacher speaking to class.

    Expert instructors, including faculty from Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences

  • Two people talking at a table.

    Personalized academic & career advising

  • Notebook and pencil.

    A faculty-supported thesis or applied research project

  • Texbook.

    Paid research opportunities

  • Graduation cap and diploma.

    Harvard Alumni Association membership upon graduation

Customizable Course Curriculum

Our curriculum is flexible in pace and customizable by design. You’ll experience the convenience of online learning and the immersive benefits of learning in person.

With a wide array of courses to choose from, you can tailor your experience to meet your unique learning goals. To further personalize your experience, you choose between a thesis or capstone track. You may choose to earn a graduate certificate in American literature and culture along the way.

11 Online Courses

  • Primarily synchronous
  • Fall, spring, January, and summer options

On-Campus Experience

You’ll complete 1 on-campus course, Engaging in Scholarly Conversation, at an accelerated or standard pace:

  • 2 weekends (1 in fall and 1 in spring)
  • A 3-week summer session

Capstone or Thesis Track

  • Thesis: features a 9-month independent research project with a thesis advisor
  • Capstone: includes exploring classic novels and completing a project in a classroom community


The path to your degree begins before you apply to the program.

First, you’ll register for and complete 3 required courses, earning at least a B in each. These foundational courses are investments in your studies and count toward your degree, helping ensure success in the program.

Getting Started

We invite you to explore degree requirements, confirm your initial eligibility, and learn more about our unique “earn your way in” admissions process.

Our Community at a Glance

Your peers from the field of English work in a variety of writing, research, and communication-intensive industries, such as fundraising, publishing, advertising/marketing, and education (secondary and higher education).

Upon successful completion of the required curriculum, you will earn the Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: English.

Download: English Master's Degree Fact Sheet

  • 42

    Average Age

  • 1

    Average Courses Taken Each Semester

  • 68%

    Work Full Time

  • 97%

    Would Recommend the Program

  • 56%

    Professional Experience in the Field

  • Most

    Pursued for Personal Enrichment

Students and librarians chat

Tuition & Financial Aid

Affordability is core to our mission. When compared to our continuing education peers, it’s a fraction of the cost.

Our Tuition (2023–24 rate) $3,220 per course
Average Tuition of Peer Institutions $4,330 per course
Average Total Cost $38,640

After admission, you may qualify for financial aid. Typically, eligible students receive grant funds to cover a portion of tuition costs each term, in addition to federal financial aid options.

Coffee Chat: All About Liberal Arts Programs at HES

Are you interested in learning more about liberal arts graduate degree programs at Harvard Extension School? Attendees joined us for an informational webinar where they had the opportunity to connect with program directors, academic advisors, and alumni.

Watch the Webinar