4+1 Program

The English 4+1 Program

The 4+1 Program in English allows SUNY Cortland students in English or Professional Writing to complete both their BA and MA in just five years. With just one additional year of coursework, students in the program graduate with a Master’s in English.

How It Works

You apply to the 4+1 program in your third year, or in the semester prior to your final year of coursework. 

Once you have been accepted to the program, you will then take up to 12 credits worth of graduate courses (500-level) in your senior year (or final year of coursework). These credits will be transferred and count toward the MA once you graduate with your undergraduate degree in English or Professional Writing. 

Upon graduating, you will enroll in the English Master’s Program and complete the remaining 19 credits of graduate coursework. You will then graduate with your Master’s in English. 

What Does it Cost?

500-level courses taken in the fourth year will be paid for at the cost of undergraduate tuition. Courses in the fifth year will be paid for at the cost of graduate tuition

Am I Eligible? 

To apply, students must meet the following requirements: 

  • Junior standing or above in the ENG/PWR major at SUNY Cortland
  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 in ENG/PWR major

What is the MA Program like? 

In our program, you will discover new genres of reading, writing, and thinking and become immersed in a range of literary and rhetorical traditions. Students design their own intellectual journey through the program by selecting electives that address a range of topics in English. Our small classes emphasize lively seminar-style discussion. 

As a capstone to the program, you develop an original thesis project under individualized mentorship from faculty experts in literature, rhetoric, and teaching. You will also have opportunities to share your ideas at conferences, roundtables, and other public events. 

View the English MA curriculum.

What Can I Do With an MA in English?

When you complete the MA in English at SUNY Cortland, you will be well prepared to move into a range of exciting careers in writing, publishing, the arts, education, marketing, law, politics, non-profit organizations, and business. You will also be prepared to pursue a Ph.D. in areas such as Literature, Rhetoric, Composition, Technical Communication, American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 

Want to Learn More? 

To learn more about the 4+1 program, contact the Graduate Coordinator, Daniel Radus, or the English Department Chair, Andrea Harbin

To discuss your options for applying and completing the 4+1 program, contact your faculty advisor. 


I’m an AEN major. Can I apply for the 4+1 program?

No, students in the Adolescence English Education (AEN) program may not apply for the five-year program because it is not possible to complete the required BA/MA coursework alongside the required AEN coursework, including student teaching, during the senior year. You are welcome to apply for the traditional two-year English Master’s Program.

Can the 500-level courses count toward my overall credits for graduation? 

Yes, SUNY Cortland will permit you to count 12 credits toward your undergraduate and graduate degree. 

Can the 500-level courses count also toward the requirements for my undergraduate major in ENG or PWR? 

No, 500-level courses taken for the Five-Year Program cannot count toward the ENG or PWR major. You cannot “double dip” program requirements. 

What is an MA thesis? 

In your final year of graduate work, you will select a faculty mentor and design a research project of your choice. Theses may take the form of literary criticism, creative writing, public-facing scholarship, a digital humanities project, or another genre approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate Coordinator. Learn about recent MA thesis projects.

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