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English Lit MA - unrelated field



Hi all,

I am considering applying for Texas State's MA Lit program. Literature has alwaysss been my passion, I'm sure some of you can identify with that. However, I don't have a very in-depth English background from undergrad. My undergrad GPA isn't the best, but when I got my first Master's degree (school counseling), I got a 3.96.

My question is - will having a Master's degree with a good GPA, even in an unrelated field, help me at all when it comes to admissions?

I am totally willing to do the work to take more undergrad English classes if that's what it takes to get in, but I was wondering if a good GPA in an unrelated field would help or hurt me. 

Thanks in advance for your help!

Edited by arya.stark
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Hi! A good GPA is always good, no matter what field you're in, since so much of it demonstrates strong work ethic and ability to meet demands. 

You say literature has always been your passion (that's a good thing! certainly an important first checkbox), but you may want to ask yourself more questions, as you're doing, about your familiarity with Literature as a discipline. (In History, for example, there are tons of people who are self-proclaimed history buffs, love antiquing, watching documentaries, or tracing family genealogy... but those passions, interests, and hobbies paint a much different idea of "history" than what it is as an academic discipline: historiography, methodology, primary source research, etc.)

Another thing you may need to be thinking about is how your undergraduate degree and your MA in school counseling contribute to whatever end goal you have for pursuing Literature. The main question here, is: Why? 

  • Why are you going into Lit? Do you want to work in secondary ed? Teach at community college? Go on to do a PhD?
  • And secondly,Why now? Regardless of your reasons for pursuing Lit (which, from an admissions standpoint, will most likely HAVE to be more concrete/tangible/developed/quantifiable than simply having a passion for the subject), you will need to be thinking about how your previous educational background has given you the skills for an MA in Lit, why you're pursuing Lit now, and how you see Lit+You as a dream team for whatever future goals you have. (All of this, eventually, will also have to be meshed into your specific reasons for applying to the school.)

I'm obviously not qualified to speak about the Lit field itself. Taking some undergrad classes may be one approach. Another idea is to reach out to some of the Lit professors at your former undergrad or the grad schools you're interested in and ask what kind of training is recommended for applying. Some programs might welcome a diverse background history, some might not be interested, and others might have you take specific/extra courses to "catch-up" on the basics. The only way to find out is to ask.

The beauty of MAs is that there are often many different undergraduate degrees that can be applied to the MA level as an educational background. 
In the end, GPA matters, but I think it matters less than the questions, motivations, and goals that drive your studies. 

All the best, hope this helps! ?

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