Mária Palla majored in English and Russian studies at Kossuth Lajos University, Debrecen, whose five-year MA program she graduated from with a teacher's degree. She completed her doctoral studies in the Modern English Literature Program of the Doctoral School of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, where she defended her PhD thesis "Summa Cum Laude". In her dissertation, she explored the issue of identity within the South Asian diaspora as reflected in the fictional works produced by members of that community and published in England and Canada during the 1980s and 1990s.
Following two decades of teaching experience obtained in institutions of higher education in Canada and Hungary, she started to work, first as a part-time instructor, at PPCU in 2014 to become a full-time member of the faculty of the Institute of English and American Studies in 2019. She was appointed senior lecturer in the spring of 2020. Her courses include the development of language skills, Canadian Studies, the English novel as well as topics in 20th century and more recent literature in English.
From the start, her research has focussed on contemporary literature in English, to which she applies, mainly but not exclusively, the tools of postcolonial criticism. At the same time, a number of her publications examine the social context and the literary output of the Hungarian diaspora living in Canada.
As the recipient of various grants, she has been able to participate, on several occasions, in the annual conference of Canadianists in the German-speaking countries held in Grainau, Bavaria, and she has also taught courses in Poland and Spain in the framework of Erasmus staff mobility. She has been a long-time member of the Central European Association for Canadian Studies, at whose conferences she is a regular presenter.