MA-MFA English

Our Lady of the Lake University's brand new combined Master of Arts-Master of Fine Arts (MA-MFA) in Literature, Creative Writing and Social Justice prepares students to become critically engaged and socially aware scholars, writers, educators and professionals.

This unique program is designed to attract and foster the growth of individuals who wish to combine creativity with practical skills and critical knowledge, all while keeping in mind the pursuit of social justice in their own work, their communities and their professional practice.

The 48-hour program can be completed in less than three years if a student takes courses in the fall, spring and summer semesters. For those who choose not to take courses in the summer, the program can still be completed (including thesis and comprehensive exams) in three years.

For students who wish not to pursue the combined MA-MFA program, a traditional 36-hour MA option is still available. A Master of Arts in Literature, Creative Writing and Social Justice is also available.

With small classes, a distinguished faculty and a flexible program schedule, OLLU stands apart as a smart choice for earning your master's degree in English.

Admission Requirements

  • Official transcripts from all regionally accredited institutions previously attended.
  • A grade point average of 3.0 in the major field of study and a 2.5 overall average. If the applicant has not majored in English or communication arts, a GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work is required.
  • Two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's potential for success in the program.
  • Submission of official satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) taken within the last five years.
  • At least 18 hours of advanced course work in English and/or communication arts. Students who earn a minor in English at OLLU and earn a 3.0 GPA or above in at least 12 advanced hours are also eligible. Applicants without the required advanced hours in English may do leveling coursework or may have this requirement waived on a case-by-case basis.
  • Samples of both creative and scholarly writing (25 pages total).
  • A cover letter detailing the applicant's reasons for pursuing the combined MA/MFA.

Literary Festival

The English department hosts a Literary Festival each year. For almost 20 years, OLLU has brought in authors, poets and performers to share their talent with the OLLU community as well as the public. OLLU students have the opportunity to meet with these guests in and out of the classroom and get feedback on some of their own work.

Student Publication: The Thing Itself

"The Thing Itself" is a literary journal that is published annually by the English department. Students, faculty and staff, as well as national and international writers and artists, can submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction and art for publication consideration int he journal. The journal's student editorial board and appointed faculty evaluate all entries for inclusion in the journal and professionals outside the University community select the winners of cash awards for best entries.


Students in the English program have the opportunity to learn from world-renowned authors. Nan Cuba, author and professor of  English, serves as OLLU's official writer-in-residence, which means she lends her time, talent and energy to help students perfect their craft. Internationally acclaimed author Sandra Cisneros served as the previous writer-in-residence.

Visiting Writer Program

OLLU has welcomed well-known authors to campus to take part in the Visiting Writer Program. Under the program, an author visits OLLU for a semester to work with students and give a public reading. Learn more about the Visiting Writer Program

Contact Us

Leah Larson, PhD
Professor of English
210-434-6711, ext. 2260