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August 23, 2021

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Earning a bachelor's in English does not limit graduates to one career or field. In fact, this degree helps students develop valuable skills that employers in multiple industries value, including competencies related to written and oral communication, problem-solving, leadership, research, and analytical interpretation.

Prospective students can use this page to identify schools with top-ranked programs and gain a general understanding of what earning a bachelor's in English entails. Covered topics include common courses, admission requirements, career paths, and earning potential.

What Are the Best English Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

#1 Florida International University Miami, FL
#2 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
#3 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
#4 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
#5 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
#6 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
#7 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA
#8 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
#9 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
#10 Clayton State University Morrow, GA
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read more about our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

In addition to transferrable skills, a bachelor's in English program allows students to explore creative professional opportunities. For example, students can become writers for magazines, television stations, or advertising and publishing companies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that these professionals earn an annual median salary of $62,170.

Alternatively, students who enjoy working with adolescents can earn a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in education and become high school English teachers. High school teachers in the U.S. earn annual median salaries of over $60,000.

2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in English Programs

Florida International University View School Profile Miami, FL

Offering a 100% online bachelor's in English, Florida International University provides students with a flexible program emphasizing writing and rhetoric. 120 credits in scope, degree-seekers tackle a rigorous curriculum designed to shape critical reading skills while honing effective writing capabilities.

In addition to general education requirements, students complete upper-division classes such as creative writing, studies in 19th century African American literature, and linguistics and modern English grammar. Learners selecting the writing and rhetoric concentration enroll in additional courses like introduction to writing studies, rhetorical theory and practice, and professional and technical writing.

Prospective students must hold a high school or GED diploma. First-year applicants must supply FIU with a fully completed application and submit official high school transcripts and standardized test scores.

University of Central Florida View School Profile Orlando, FL

Home to many online degree options, the University of Central Florida offers an online bachelor's in English with a literature concentration. Throughout their program, students hone research and writing skills while using literature as a tool to analyze historical and cultural issues.

In addition to a literature concentration, other online English specializations include technical communication and creative writing. Core requirements for degree-seekers include classes in English composition, research and writing about literature, and theories and techniques of literature study.

First-year applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and submit official transcripts. Additionally, prospective learners must submit SAT or ACT scores along with their completed online application. While not required, UCF strongly encourages applicants to submit an application essay.

Arizona State University-Skysong View School Profile Scottsdale, AZ

Covering a variety of English-related skills like linguistics, research, and writing, Arizona State University's online bachelor's in English prepares graduates for various writing, education, and marketing careers. ASU delivers online classes asynchronously through eight-week terms.

Before graduation, English majors complete a total of 120 credits, including at least 45 credits of upper-level courses. Popular course offerings include writing for publication, history of literary criticism, and studies in American literature and culture.

Applicants to this English program must demonstrate high achievement in one of three areas: high school class rank, high school GPA, or standardized test score. Additionally, applicants must complete an online application and submit official transcripts.

University of Illinois at Springfield View School Profile Springfield, IL

Providing students with a solid foundation in the humanities, the University of Illinois at Springfield offers an online bachelor's in English. This flexible English degree utilizes a user-friendly platform where students complete coursework asynchronously while accessing the same academic, career, and personal resources as on-campus learners.

Standard course requirements include critical reading, rhetoric and college writing, and college writing and civic engagement. Additionally, students select from upper-division courses like Asian American women, children's and young adult literature, and creative writing poetry. Before graduation, learners also complete 10 credits within the university's Engaged Citizenship Common Experience — a program designed to promote civic engagement and activism.

In addition to standard application materials, applicants must submit a short essay outlining their interest in the degree and why they prefer an online delivery format.

Southern New Hampshire University View School Profile Manchester, NH

One of the largest providers of online higher education, Southern New Hampshire University supplies degree-seekers with an online bachelor's in English that highlights critical thinking, cultural literacy, and effective communication skills. Students gain experience analyzing various literary styles and constructing cohesive arguments while working within a collaborative online environment.

Standard literature-based coursework covers topics like the Black literary tradition, gender and text, and popular and contemporary fiction. Additionally, learners can choose between four creative writing workshops: playwriting, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writing.

SNHU accepts applications on a rolling basis with six start dates per year. SNHU also waives application fees and does not require SAT or ACT scores. As of fall 2021, all online students pay a tuition rate of $320 per credit.

California Baptist University View School Profile Riverside, CA

Located about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, Riverside's California Baptist University is a Christian institution that oversees an online English program. Offering a foundational liberal arts education, CBU's online BA in English prepares learners for diverse careers and further academic studies.

The program features 49 credits of major-related coursework. Students tackle upper-division courses such as multicultural literature, literary theory and criticism, and research and writing in literature and language. As a Baptist institution, CBU also requires learners to complete six credits of biblical and theological coursework.

In addition to a completed online application, prospective students must submit official transcripts and have a minimum GPA of 2.0. As of fall 2021, online students at CBU pay a tuition rate of $613 per credit.

University of Massachusetts-Lowell View School Profile Lowell, MA

Through its online bachelor's in English, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell helps students build a strong liberal arts foundation. Degree-seekers develop vital research, writing, and critical thinking skills. Online graduates from UMass-Lowell complete coursework taught by the same instructors as on-campus learners.

Students enrolled in this online English degree complete required courses like English studies in a digital environment, British literary traditions, and history of the English language. Before graduation, degree-seekers must tackle a 4000-level English course as a capstone requirement.

Prospective students must complete an online application and submit official transcripts. For applicants under the age of 21 transferring fewer than 12 college credits, the school does require SAT or ACT scores. The tuition rate for undergraduate online courses is $380 per credit, as of fall 2021.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College View School Profile Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

Founded in 1840, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a Catholic institution that offers an entirely online English degree. Alongside standard coursework, SMWC prioritizes practical experience — students can gain hands-on experience in technical writing, develop social media strategies, and create written content for various organizations.

In addition to general education classes, students complete 43 credits of English major coursework. Upper-division courses cover topics such as modern world literature, advanced studies in fiction, and women writers. Before graduation, degree-seekers also complete a senior thesis capstone project.

Prospective online learners complete a free online application and submit official high school and college transcripts (if applicable). When reviewing applications, SMWC considers academic performance alongside an applicant's participation in extracurricular activities. In addition to associated fees, the online tuition rate is $496 per credit (as of fall 2021).

Maryville University of Saint Louis View School Profile Saint Louis, MO

Maryville University offers a flexible bachelor's in English that students can complete entirely online. This online English program promotes student creativity while highlighting marketable skills rooted in critical thinking, effective communication, and writing for various professional audiences. Online English majors must complete 128 credits before graduation.

Standard English classes include writing about literature, history of literary criticism, and multicultural voices in American literature. In addition to traditional online classes, Maryville requires students to complete an internship as part of a degree-culminating experience.

Prospective students must complete an online application and submit official high school transcripts. While not requiring standardized test scores, applicants should have a high school GPA of at least 2.5.

Clayton State University View School Profile Morrow, GA

Georgia's Clayton State University is home to an online bachelor's in English where students can choose a writing or literature concentration. Online students complete coursework asynchronously through the school's BrightSpace platform. They can access various online student resources, including tech support, academic advising, and a writing center.

Students complete 120 credits before graduation, including 42 credits within the BA in English program. Upper-division core English requirements include intro to literary studies, intro to writing studies, and critical theory. Additionally, degree-seekers tackle a senior capstone research project before completing their degree.

Interested learners should complete an online application and submit official transcripts along with official SAT or ACT scores.

Online Bachelor's in English Program Overview

A bachelor's in English program may allow students to tailor their interests to a specific subfield, like linguistics, rhetoric, or a literary genre. Programs also provide writing-intensive courses for aspiring authors.

The curriculum requires general education coursework in science, history, mathematics, and English. While programs vary by emphasis, common topics include British literature, American literature, poetry, nonfiction literature, and world literature. Other topics may include rhetoric and theory, contemporary literature, cultural commentary, and research.

Graduates who earn an online bachelor's in English may qualify for jobs related to writing, editing, research, and teaching. Additionally, students often go on to earn an advanced degree to gain a competitive advantage in the field.

Common Bachelor's in English Degree Courses

Introduction to Creative Writing

Students in this class develop their own short stories and spend time critiquing fellow classmates' work. This course often requires a culminating essay or a final portfolio, in which students rewrite their best pieces.

Literary Criticism and Theory

Students survey 20th- and 21st-century literary theory and criticism. Topics include post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, ethnicity and race studies, and cultural studies. Students also explore the ways criticism and theory help shape literature. Course objectives include understanding important texts and identifying practical value in literature.

Introduction to Poetry

A bachelor's in English program typically includes an introductory poetry course. Students analyze multiple forms of poetry through class discussions and group critiques. Course outcomes include demonstrating knowledge of pertinent literary terms, identifying connections between historical contexts and literature, and evaluating elements within poems.


Students in this class examine Shakespeare's sonnets and major plays. Other topics may include the playwright's emphasis on language and use of social contexts.

History and Theories of Rhetoric

Students learn basic methods of rhetorical analysis and criticism. Topics include rhetorical roots in Western civilization, rhetoric in multiple cultural and disciplinary contexts, and forms of delivery. Learning outcomes include understanding common rhetorical theory methods, demonstrating critical thinking when evaluating arguments, and conducting research on topics related to rhetoric.

Online Bachelor's in English Admission Requirements

Students pursuing a bachelor's in English need a high school diploma or GED certificate to apply. Colleges and universities require these documents to verify that applicants have completed fundamental coursework required to pass entry-level college courses. Applicants with a low GPA may need to take non-credit courses or a placement test.

Transfer students and associate degree-holders seeking to enroll in a bachelor's in English degree completion program should submit official transcripts from accredited postsecondary schools. Students should note that schools may not accept all credits from other institutions. First-year students must submit their high school transcripts.

Colleges and universities often require a minimum GPA; this requirement helps schools ensure they attract candidates who can successfully complete college-level coursework. Students with insufficient GPAs may contact admissions offices to ask about conditional or probationary admission.

Schools often require up to three letters of recommendation. Colleges and universities rely on these letters to learn more about applicants from professionals who can speak to a student's work ethic, adaptability, and potential to succeed. High school students can ask guidance counselors and teachers for recommendations, while students with prior college experience may ask professors.

Schools often require a statement of purpose. Students may choose to explain why they want to enroll, how they can contribute to the field, and/or what their professional future presumably holds. While this document provides information about students, it also helps schools assess an applicant's writing abilities.

Online Bachelor's in English Career Paths

Earning a bachelor's degree in English can lead to entry-level opportunities in multiple fields. Graduates may pursue in-demand careers as journalists, grant writers, secondary English teachers, and technical writers. For example, BLS data project an 8% increase in job outlook for technical writers from 2018-2028. Employers for these roles usually require or prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree.

Educational requirements for these roles vary. For instance, journalists, grant writers, and technical writers may not need to pursue a graduate degree to find success; they can qualify for more advanced positions by gaining years of experience on the job. Contrastingly, K-12 schools may require secondary English teachers to acquire a master's degree within an allotted time frame.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with a bachelor's degree in English?

Many industries require employees who can assist organizations in effectively communicating messages. In the private sector, professionals who hold a degree in English can work in marketing departments. Additionally, nonprofit organizations need writers to acquire funding and schools need educators to teach English to adolescents.

Is a degree in English a BA or a BS?

Students can earn a bachelor of arts in English or a bachelor of science in English. While both routes include similar coursework, they possess different learning outcomes. A bachelor of arts offers broader exposure to the field. Contrastingly, a BS pathway may emphasize more professional writing courses. Students should consider their career goals when choosing between the two.

What kind of jobs can you get with an English degree?

Professionals who hold a bachelor's in English can follow many career paths. Students should consider what fields appeal to them and then identify in-demand roles. For instance, graduates often become copywriters, editors, grant writers, technical writers, journalists, authors, and teachers. Professionals may also go on to earn an advanced degree in fields such as law.

Do English majors make good money?

Earning potential varies in this field based on a worker's geographic location and experience. Students should consider the salary they wish to earn, the roles that appeal to them most, and where they plan to work. These factors can help students figure out an approximate annual salary.

Are English majors in demand?

Professionals who hold a bachelor's in English can find work in many areas. To determine the extent of this demand, students should make a list of jobs that appeal to them and then conduct research. For instance, the BLS projects 4% growth in the number of high school teacher positions between 2018 and 2028, while it projects 8% growth for technical writers over that same time period.

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