English is a broad academic field that covers how the language is spoken, written, and interpreted. A versatile degree, students who graduate with a bachelor's in English will leave school prepared for a variety of career opportunities in the fine arts, business, education, and more. According to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), English is one of the most popular undergraduate majors in the United States, and more than 50,000 bachelor's degrees in English were conferred during the 2013-14 academic year.
At some schools, English majors are required to choose a degree specialization. Students with a passion for reading and analysis may pursue a concentration in literature, while those with creative aspirations may pick creative writing or book publishing. Many English majors eventually become teachers in secondary and postsecondary schools, as well.
Today, many students are choosing to earn their bachelor's degree in English online. Distance programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as classroom-based options, and lead to the same number of job opportunities after graduation. The asynchronous (or self-paced) structure of most online English degree programs is also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other commitments that may interfere with full-time on-campus learning.
Read on to learn more about English as an academic discipline, and to discover what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with an English degree.
- WHAT CAN I DO WITH AN ENGLISH DEGREE?
Professionals with a bachelor's in English are prepared for careers as technical writers, authors, journalists, editors, and associate publishers. Read more here..
- WHAT CAN I DO WITH AN ENGLISH DEGREE BESIDES TEACH?
An online bachelor's degree in English also prepares students for careers as technical writers, authors, journalists, and more. Read more here..
- CAN YOU TEACH WITH AN ENGLISH DEGREE?
Yes. Professionals with a bachelor's degree are prepared to teach at the high school level and lower after gaining teacher licensure. Graduates can also teach English to students of other languages around the world. Read more here..
- HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE A BACHELOR'S DEGREE ONLINE IN ENGLISH?
Most bachelor's degrees take about four years to complete, although accelerated options are available, which allow students to earn the degree quicker. For more accurate information, students should contact their prospective schools. Read more here..
- WHAT DEGREE DO I NEED TO TEACH ENGLISH ABROAD?
No degree is needed to teach English abroad. All professionals need to teach English abroad is TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification. Read more here..
Choosing a Program
WILL AN ONLINE ENGLISH DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
Like many liberal arts programs, an English degree won't directly prepare you for many lines of work; you may be able to parlay your writing chops into a career in journalism or as a freelancer, but most graduates don't pursue a literary career. Instead, an English degree will help you build critical skills: you will learn how to read carefully and write effectively, naturally, but you'll also develop strong analytical and critical thinking skills. These abilities lend themselves well to careers in virtually any field. The myth that liberal arts majors can't find jobs after school is just that; a myth!
WILL AN ONLINE ENGLISH DEGREE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?
Online bachelor's in English programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar education. Students will be able to access course readings and lectures, participate in class discussions, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors from home. Current e-learning technology also allows them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other devices with Wi-Fi capabilities.
WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY BACHELOR'S IN ENGLISH?
Again, it really just depends what you want to do. If you want to become an English teacher, you'll need a teaching license. If you want to work in marketing, your analytical and critical thinking skills will surely be an asset in most agencies. If you want to work in SEO, your reading and writing abilities will be more than adequate preparation. And of course, you can pursue traditional careers in publishing, journalism or digital media as well.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ENGLISH PROGRAMS?
Choosing a program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online English programs in the United States. If you want to study English, and you value the opportunity to take classes online, read on to learn more about the top online English programs in the country.
Accredited Online English Degree Programs
University of Central Florida
|Orlando, FL||Cost: $$$$$||
With over 68,000 students, the University of Central Florida is one of the largest universities in the U.S. As a part of the State University System of Florida, the college runs several on-campus and distance learning programs, including an English degree with specializations in literature, creative writing, and technical communication.
The English degree consists of 120 credits. Core course requirements and elective options vary, based on specialization. However, all English majors -- even those concentrating in creative writing and technical communication -- take literature courses as part of their core curriculum. Literature majors take advanced courses on critical theory and global literature; creative writing majors study fiction, scriptwriting, or creative nonfiction; and technical communication majors enroll in courses such as writing for the computer industry.
Students do not need a capstone course to graduate, and they can complete their coursework without on-campus obligations. Technical communication and creative writing students may participate in internships with approval. While the traditional program lasts four years, distance learners may complete the online English degree more quickly, depending on transfer credits.
Only transfer students may apply to UCF's online programs. Candidates must possess at least a 2.0 GPA from previous college courses. They should submit official transcripts, in addition to an SAT or ACT score, if they plan on transferring fewer than 60 credits. Applicants must also submit proof of foreign language or American Sign Language proficiency. UCF holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
|Virginia Beach, VA||Cost: $$$$$||
Based in Virginia Beach, Regent University operates as a private, Christian university educating around 11,000 students. Learners pursuing the online English bachelor's degree take eight-week long courses. Instructors teach through asynchronous methods, which means students do not need to log in for class at specific times.
All students take courses in British and American literature, in addition to a world literature survey course and a senior seminar. Distance learners must complete at least 120 credits. The senior seminar functions as a capstone course, preparing students to defend a major academic project and portfolio. Students graduate with a degree accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Regent offers several concentration options for English majors, including biblical studies, communication, secondary English education, history, and writing. With courses like biblical interpretation and Pauline literature, the biblical studies concentration focuses on reading and analyzing scripture with literary theory. Concentrations in U.S., world, and European history cover literary studies with a historical context. The emphasis in secondary English education prepares students for teacher licensure. Additionally, students can create their own path through a self-designed concentration, which allows them to pick courses based on their own areas of interest.
To apply to Regent University's online program, prospective students should submit transcripts from high school and any previous college coursework, and they must fill out an admissions questionnaire. Transfer students may bring in up to 90 credits. The school accepts transfer credits through non-school "prior learning" experiences, including military service, licenses and certifications, and community activities.
University of Illinois at Springfield
|Springfield, IL||Cost: $$$$$||
Located in the state's capital city, the University of Illinois at Springfield began in 1969 as Sangamon State University. Now a part of the public University of Illinois system, the institution educates about 5,000 online and on-campus students. All 52 programs hold accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
The university offers one of the best online English bachelor's degrees, intentionally preparing students for the workplace. All English majors work with an academic adviser who helps them create individualized plans of study. The major itself consists of 68-71 credits, including literature and writing courses. Classes such as digital technologies in English studies equip students with skills they need to apply their writing and communication abilities to digital publishing and humanities. In the capstone course, learners research how their academic interests align with their professional interests.
UIS also allows distance learning students to join the English honors program. Candidates can only enlist in the honors program when they earn 72 credits. They should possess a 3.5 overall GPA and a 3.6 GPA in their English courses.
Applicants who wish to study online should hold 30 previously earned college credits, although UIS prefers candidates with at least 60 credits or an associate degree. Prospective students should submit their transcripts with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They should also include an application letter that explains why they want to pursue an English degree at UIS. In addition, the university accepts upper-level transfer credits, typically on a case-by-case basis.
Arizona State University-Skysong
|Scottsdale, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||
Arizona State University Online offers several online programs that match its on-campus curriculum. The 7.5-week online courses allow distance learning students to fast-track their degrees and finish in three years. Additionally, the bachelor's degree in English online allows students to transfer in up to 90 credits.
The English curriculum includes many courses that prepare students to write in professional settings. For instance, distance learners can take persuasive writing or business writing. ASU also offers many literature-centered electives, such as Victorian literature, Jane Austen, and modern Israeli literature in translation. Students might find the course on career development for English majors especially useful in preparing for life after graduation.
Students need to take 39 classes, or 120 credits to graduate. Distance learners can plan how to schedule their courses with the help of an online orientation and an academic adviser. They must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA throughout the program. Once students finish the program, they graduate with a degree accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Prospective first-year students should submit ACT or SAT scores and their high school transcripts. Applicants must meet one of the following conditions: graduate in the top 25% of their class, earn at least a 3.0 GPA, or receive a minimum 22 ACT score or 1120 SAT score. ASU considers candidates with at least 12 credits transfer students. Arizona resident transfer applicants should apply with at least a 2.0 GPA, while nonresident transfer applicants must possess a minimum 2.5 GPA.
The Baptist College of Florida
|Graceville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||
The Baptist College of Florida began in 1943, when pastors began holding classes in a Sunday school room for people who wanted seminary training but didn't hold college degrees. Now based in Richland, the private school has since grown, educating over 600 students. BCF holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The online English degree at BCF follows the same curriculum plan as the on-campus program. Courses mainly focus on analyzing texts from British and American literature. Select classes teach students about grammar and the craft of writing. The English department at BCF also integrates the school's biblical mission into the curriculum, with courses like survey of Christian literature, writing about spiritual experiences, and Oxford Christian writers. Students must complete 120 credits to graduate, with 36 credits counting toward the student's major and 18 credits of electives. The senior seminar, which functions as a capstone experience, assesses students' cumulative learning from the program.
The online program includes lectures, reading assignments, online forum participation, and exams. Most instructors teach courses asynchronously, so distance learners can approach their study plans with flexible scheduling; some professors might schedule a few synchronous components. Students who do not meet computer proficiency standards must take 1-3 introductory online courses to master distance learning skills.
The application process involves submitting high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Each prospective student should also present a church and pastor recommendation form in addition to a personal recommendation form, which serve as endorsements of the applicant's character.
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
|Lowell, MA||Cost: $$$$$||
The public University of Massachusetts system educates over 74,000 undergraduate and graduate students on five campuses. With about 18,000 enrolled students, Lowell operates as the second-largest campus in the UMass system. Distance learners at UMass Lowell can choose from over 50 online certificates and programs, including the bachelor's degree in English online.
This degree focuses on teaching clear writing and critical thinking -- skills that graduates can use in many different industries -- along with literary analysis. Distance learners take 12-18 English major courses, in addition to six elective courses. UMass Lowell allows students to choose from specialized courses instead of survey classes. Students may focus on literature, with classes like Arthurian literature and American women novelists or they can concentrate their electives in writing, enrolling in courses like mystery writing or introduction to journalism. Seniors also take a 4000-level capstone course.
Additionally, the English degree includes foreign language learning. Students can fulfill this requirement by taking four consecutive courses in either Spanish or French. Alternatively, students can take two foreign language courses and two courses on world culture, literature, or history.
UMass Lowell's online branch does not require prospective students to submit their applications by a certain deadline. Anyone with a high school transcript or GED may apply. Candidates do not need to meet a minimum GPA requirement for admission, but they should submit SAT or ACT scores if they possess fewer than 12 college credits and have not turned 21. UMass Lowell receives regional accreditation from the New England Commission on Higher Education.
Southern New Hampshire University
|Manchester, NH||Cost: $$$$$||
With over 200 online programs, the private, nonprofit Southern New Hampshire University enrolls more than 90,000 distance learning students. Like all of SNHU's online programs, the online BA in English language and literature operates asynchronously, so students do not need to log on at specific times and instead study at their own pace.
The online English degree focuses on literary analysis, analytical writing, cultural literacy, and critical and creative thinking. Students take core courses like literary theory and Shakespeare, but they can also take electives like world mythology, popular and contemporary fiction, screenwriting, and American realism and naturalism. The time it takes to complete the degree depends on transfer credits, courseload, and the pace at which students work. SNHU offers eight-week courses over six terms, and students can transfer up to 90 credits.
SNHU, which operates primarily online, offers many services specific to digital learners, including a writing center, career services, tutoring services, and an online library. Plus, students get access to an academic adviser who can help them navigate the English curriculum. Students can even join online clubs and learning communities, which can help them meet peers through digital means. All of SNHU's online programs hold accreditation from the New England Commission on Higher Education.
Interested individuals can apply by filling out the online application and submitting transcripts. The admissions department does not ask for a minimum GPA, nor for SAT or ACT scores. Prospective students can apply on a rolling basis.
|Richmond, IN||Cost: $$$$$||
Based in Richmond, Indiana University East allows students to return to school with several online degree completion programs. As one of the smallest campuses of Indiana University, IU East enrolls over 3,000 students. All programs, including the degree completion pathways, receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
IU East offers an online bachelor's in English, technical, and professional writing. The program curriculum plan at IU East consists of 60 credits. Each student works with an academic adviser for an individualized plan of study, and distance learners usually finish their degrees in two years.
Students must take both literature and writing courses. Required courses include British literature, American literature, modern literature, and world/cultural literature. Actual courses may vary based on student interest and course availability. Students are required to take technical editing along with advanced technical writing and digital writing. They also complete six electives and a senior seminar. Elective options sometimes change, depending on the semester; frequent elective offerings include cross-cultural communication, children's literature, and propaganda and persuasion. The courses in this program equip graduates with skills needed to gain technical writing jobs in industries like advertising, public relations, and social services.
Applicants need either an associate degree or 60 transferable college credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA. They do not need to submit standardized test scores.
California Baptist University
|Riverside, CA||Cost: $$$$$||
As its name suggests, Riverside-based California Baptist University is affiliated with the Baptist church. The school began operation in 1950, now enrolls over 10,000 students, and holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Students can complete the online BA English degree at CBU in 16 months after finishing their general education requirements. Distance learners may begin new courses every 8 weeks, and can study year-round to accelerate their degrees. CBU requires undergraduate students to complete 40-43 general education credits, and 48 English major credits.
The English curriculum includes courses in theory, literature, and composition. In addition to British and American survey literature courses, distance learners also take classes like children's literature, and language structure and acquisition. Students also need to take core courses that fall into the school's religious mission, including an overview of the Bible and foundations for Christian thought. A capstone project ends the curriculum plan.
CBU Online offers distance learning several benefits, like the ability to transfer up to 100 credits. A student service adviser helps students plan their schedules and curriculum, and the academic success center runs online tutoring services. Professors host digital office hours, so students do not feel isolated or helpless. Plus, an online career services tool offers a job portal and guidance for resume writing and job interviewing skills.
The admissions department prefers transfer applicants with at least 24 transfer credits, but it considers first-time college students with high school diplomas as well. Candidates should have a 2.0 minimum GPA.
Thomas Edison State University
|Trenton, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||
Founded in 1972, Thomas Edison State University started with the mission of catering specifically to adults and nontraditional students entering higher education. Based in Trenton, New Jersey, the public school now accomplishes that goal by offering several distance learning programs for adults with obligations outside of school. About 17,200 students attend TESU, the average student age is 35.
The online English degree at TESU consists of 120 credits. Learners can take courses on different literary themes -- like Elizabethan drama or comic and satiric tradition -- or they can enroll in writing courses, such as advanced persuasive writing or playwriting. Students finish their degree with a liberal arts capstone course. Graduates earn a degree accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Courses typically last 12 weeks, and distance learners study through an asynchronous format. They do not need to log on at specific times for lectures, although they should still meet assignment deadlines. Students may bring in up to 80 credits if they studied at an accredited community college, or up to 117 if they studied at an accredited four-year institution. They can also bring in credits from past non-academic experiences, such as work, training programs, volunteer experience, community organizations, or military training.
Since the university operates as an institution for adults, the admissions department only accepts applications from people older than 20; only service members may apply from the ages of 18-20. Prospective students must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
|Ottawa, KS||Cost: $$$$$||
Based in Kansas, Ottawa University began in 1865, when Baptist missionaries set up a school for children of the Ottawa Tribe. The school became a university years later and began OU Online in 2008. Still affiliated with the Baptist church, today Ottawa educates more than 4,000 students.
The school's online BA English degree focuses on analyzing literature, writing, the English language, and literature as a tool for self-discovery. Learners need 124 credits to graduate. Students can transfer up to 80 credits, which allows them to graduate in less than four years. Online courses function asynchronously, so students can log on anytime. Distance learners do not need to participate in any extra or on-campus requirements.
Students must complete two seminars in British and American literature. They also take theme-based courses like environmental literature or protest literature that consider major literary themes. Before graduation, students also take a capstone course called integrative seminar in criticism. Capstone students must demonstrate their knowledge by building a project that incorporates literary criticism and texts across periods and genres.
To apply, students should send in transcripts from previous high school and college institutions. Thanks to Ottawa's tribal heritage, Native American students can earn special tuition assistance or scholarships. Service members also receive a military discount. Ottawa holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
|Denver, CO||Cost: $$$$$||
The University of Colorado at Denver grants a unique bachelor's degree, English writing, rhetoric, and technology, offered both through on-campus and online courses. Students can also pursue this degree as a hybrid program, taking both in-person and distance learning courses. This degree prepares graduates to go into technical writing positions or to find jobs writing for digital companies or publications.
The major demands 36 credits, but students must complete 120 credits to graduate. Distance learners can take courses like business writing, magazine writing, or argumentation and logic. They also learn how to write for the sciences and how to write proposals and grants. The program culminates with a senior writing project, which includes a manuscript of 30 pages. Students with at least 60 credits may participate in an internship. The university lets learners choose minors in literature, writing, creative writing, and film studies, although these credits do not count toward the writing major.
Online classes typically offer asynchronous formats, although professors may sometimes require synchronous meetings. Distance learning students gain access to an online writing center, where they can participate in 50-minute consultations. UC Denver receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
First-time college students should apply by sending in their high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. The university considers applicants with at least a 2.0 GPA, and candidates who took high school equivalency exams like the GED may apply as well. The admissions department allows prospective students with over 12 college credits to apply as transfer students. Transfer applicants must submit their official transcripts with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
University of Maryland-University College
|Adelphi, MD||Cost: $$$$$||
Focused on online education, the University of Maryland-University College is headquartered in Adelphi, Maryland. Serving more than 90,000 students around the world, UMUC boasts a 100% acceptance rate for undergraduate programs, offering 120 program options in online and instructor-led classes. Students can pursue bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs at UMUC. The university functions as a member of the University System of Maryland and features accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Among its prestigious online bachelor's programs, UMUC delivers an online English degree.
In the online English program, students gain the critical, communication, and analytical skills needed to succeed in graduate study or in-demand careers. Similar to other liberal arts degrees, the program offers a strong base of critical thinking, allowing students to build upon advanced education or their careers. Focusing on the study of literature and language, the program is also available to students as a minor. Students study both writing and literature and improve their cultural literacy along with their ability to appreciate and recognize great works of literature.
Following a critical approach to studying literature, students learn to articulate their unique ideas with clarity as they conduct original research to convey intricate, complex information with accessible and logical language. Coursework explores topics such as critical approaches to literature, standard English grammar, modern American literature, and Renaissance literature. Ideally, students pursuing this degree have strong presentation and communication skills, entering into the program to pursue jobs in publishing, journalism, education, public relations, and other related fields.
|Bristol, TN||Cost: $$$$$||
Founded in 1867, King University is located in Bristol, Tennessee. Functioning as an independently governed institution with covenant affiliations to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church. The online English degree at King University dedicates itself to cultivating students' understanding of literature and language. Students in the program explore the relationship between culture and faith as they consider their vocations. The program emphasizes the significance of the written word, cultivating students' understanding of the power words hold to entertain, transform, and inform readers. Since the program emphasizes analysis, writing, research, and problem-solving, students learn to communicate more effectively and relate to others all while engaging the world on a deeper level. The program can stand alone or prepare students to pursue licensure in secondary education.
English students must submit a portfolio containing all of their best work at the end of their programs. Portfolios include three papers to represent the development and breadth of students' literary studies along with a document explaining why they made the choices they did. Students complete courses across a variety of topics including religion and literature, Shakespeare, modern and contemporary American literature, and Appalachian literature. To earn a bachelor's degree from King, students must complete a total of 124 semester hours, 48 hours of which comprise the English major. Depending on how much previous work they have completed, students can finish the program in as little as 16 months.
King University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). The university also belongs to associations including the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the Appalachian College Association.
|La Jolla, CA||Cost: $$$$$||
Offering more than 130 on-campus and online bachelor's and graduate degrees, National University serves as one of the leaders for online and on-campus education in the United States. The university highlights four-week classes, allowing students to focus on one subject at a time, one month at a time, earning their degrees faster. Functioning as San Diego's largest nonprofit, private university, National University was founded by a retired U.S. Navy captain named David Chigos in 1971. Since its founding, the university boasts 150,000 alumni worldwide. Among its varied online programs, the university features one of the best online English bachelor degree options in the country.
In the online English program, students develop critical thinking and communication skills that help them stand out to employers after graduation. Graduates can pursue careers in publishing, advertising, and broadcast arts. Many graduates choose to further their educations, pursuing graduate programs in law, English, or education. The program features a writing-intensive focus that explores diversity, literary analysis, and critical thinking about major works and writers, movements, and periods of British and American literary traditions. Students interested in creative writing can explore the creative writing concentration offered in the program.
Throughout their coursework, students learn how to evaluate the relationship of oppositional or marginalized voices related to literary traditions and histories. They also learn to analyze literary works within cultural and historical contexts and analyze the effects and use of rhetorical features within literary texts.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
|Waxahachie, TX||Cost: $$$$$||
A private, Christian seminary and university in Waxahachie, Texas, Southwestern Assemblies of God University boasts regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, endorsed officially by the Assemblies of God USA. SAGU holds the spot as the only Assemblies of God University in Texas offering associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs in Bible and Church ministry and liberal arts. Students interested in writing and literature can pursue an online English degree at SAGU.
Students in the English program at SAGU explore well-known literary works, technical writing, and original student writing, encouraging thoughtful expression and allowing students to develop critical thinking skills. English graduates enjoy exposure to versatile fields, focusing on diverse concentrations like creative writing and pop culture. Students also develop the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in industries including magazine journalism, advertising copywriting, newspaper journalism, and writing. Students enjoy access to on-campus resources and support, taking advantage of the career center for job assistance and training, the counseling center, and the wellness center for fitness facilities.
SAGU boasts small class sizes and promotes individualized attention. Learners benefit from 20% less debt than graduates of other private universities, equipped with a financial aid team that works toward securing scholarships, grants, and other financial resources. Everything at SAGU stems from a Christian worldview and promotes an environment to strengthen students' minds and faith while integrating faith and learning.
University of Memphis
|Memphis, TN||Cost: $$$$$||
Commonly known as UofM, the University of Memphis operates as a public research university in Memphis, Tennessee. UofM was founded in 1912 and features an enrollment of more than 21,000 students. The university highlights the Center for Earthquake Research and Information and a variety of colleges focused on specific areas of study. UofM offers several online programs including an online English degree.
UofM's Department of English features a variety of online courses and two concentrations under the bachelor's program that students can complete online. Students may pursue an online concentration in professional writing or African American literature. English students complete a rigorous curriculum covering topics like literary heritage, children's literature, modern English grammar, and professional editing.
Online students access Smart Start, an assessment program that allows students to prepare themselves for online learning. They also review the university's online courses website to learn how to access and register for classes. Students can take advantage of all campus resources and attend events on campus, opening them up to riveting learning and networking opportunities. Many graduates pursue advanced education, continue their studies in English, or obtain licensure for secondary education.
East Tennessee State University
|Johnson City, TN||Cost: $$$$$||
Located in Johnson City, Tennessee, East Tennessee State University functions as a public university, governed by an institutional Board of Trustees. The university belongs to the State University and Community College System of Tennessee. Since May 2017, the university has held the spot as the fourth-largest university in Tennessee and features off-campus centers in Elizabethton and Kingsport. ETSU boasts a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including a prestigious, mostly online bachelor of arts in English literature.
Online English students at ETSU graduate prepared to take on a variety of jobs. They incorporate their strong interpretative and communication skills to pursue careers in medicine, publishing, journalism, law, editing, marketing, creative and technical writing, education, and social work. The program delivers most coursework in an online format but does require students to participate in a limited number of on-campus meetings or courses. Course availability and scheduling changes each semester, so students must review the current online course list during enrollment every semester.
ETSU highlights a non teaching English major along with a teaching English major. Coursework in these programs covers diverse topics, including literary heritage, world literature, British literature, poetry, drama, fiction, and literary nonfiction. Out-of-state students at ETSU enrolled exclusively in online programs and courses can receive reduced tuition rates through the eRate feature, representing an approximate 50% savings.
Chaminade University of Honolulu
|Honolulu, HI||Cost: $$$$$||
A private Marianist university located in Honolulu, Hawai'i, Chaminade University of Honolulu was founded in 1955 by a Roman Catholic religious order, the Society of Mary, also known as the Marianists. Offering bachelor's degrees in 23 areas and five master's degree options, the university rests in the historic Kaimuki district of Honolulu, right at the base of St. Louis Heights. Known for specializing in business, biology, education, criminal justice, forensic sciences, nursing, religious studies, and interior design, Chaminade boasts accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Students interested in literature and the English language can pursue their bachelor's degree online at Chaminade.
English students studying online at Chaminade embrace their interests in editing, writing, reading, and literary analysis. The program emphasizes creativity, critical thinking, and analysis. Students receive the tools they need to pursue professional or graduate careers that require strong writing skills and effective critical thinking skills. English students enjoy the opportunity to tailor their degrees to their personal interests and career goals by choosing a concentration. The teaching concentration prepares students for careers in English education at both the middle and high school levels, while the writing concentration focuses on the study and practice of diverse forms of written expression. Students can also pursue the literature and criticism concentration that emphasizes interpretation and western literary history.
Students must take an American literature course, British literature course, three elective courses, and a senior seminar or capstone course. Students complete the capstone after they finish 15 credits in the major and achieve senior status. Each concentration holds its own additional requirements, and writing students focus on topics including fiction and poetry, while literature and criticism students study Shakespeare and multicultural literature. The teaching concentration explores topics such as women's literature and modern Pacific literature.
Louisiana State University-Alexandria
|Alexandria, LA||Cost: $$$$$||
Offering undergraduate degrees in a variety of disciplines, Louisiana State University of Alexandria is part of the LSU System. As Louisiana's only state-supported undergraduate university, LSUA provides students with affordable undergraduate degrees in an academic environment that challenges them to excel. Students can explore a variety of online options at LSUA including an online English degree.
The online Bachelor of Arts in English program offers students an affordable degree delivered entirely online. The program prepares students to pursue careers in teaching, editing, communication, law, or writing. Students receive a comprehensive education and a thorough understanding of English grammar, literature, and composition. Online students can become part of the on-campus community by participating in LSUA Scholar Day and initiation into the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta.
The 120-credit curriculum allows students to study British, American, and world literature. Coursework includes poetry, drama, literature, creative writing, and literary history. Students can transfer credits from accredited institutions, allowing them to pick up where they left off and complete their degrees without delay.
Graduates of the online program strengthen skills in copywriting, critical thinking, creative writing, written communication, and time management. Students must complete 39 credits of general education courses, 39 credits of major requirements, six credits of foreign language, and 36 credits of electives. Approved transfer credits can expedite the degree. For information please contact Dr. Ginger Jones, Coordinator, Online English.
Central Washington University
|Ellensburg, WA||Cost: $$$$$||
A public university located in Ellensburg, Washington, Central Washington University was founded in 1891. The university features four divisions: Operations, Business and Financial Affairs, the President's Division, and Academic and Student Life. CWU boasts four colleges including the College of Business, the College of the Sciences, the College of Arts and Humanities, and the College of Education and Professional Studies. Considered an emerging Hispanic-serving institution, CWU highlights 15% Hispanic students. Students can pursue a variety of online options at CWU including an online English degree.
English students at CWU build upon their writing skills to prepare themselves for professional success after graduation. Students focus their creative writing on a variety of disciplines including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, and playwriting. They also focus on practical elements of editing, technical writing, and professional writing. Students enjoy the interdisciplinary range in the program since it allows them to mold their majors with courses that best fit their goals and interests.
Students must complete a 74-credit curriculum, combining a liberal arts background in literature with writing courses in all aspects of creative writing, scientific and technical writing, professional writing, business writing, editing, and publishing. The online English program features a specialization in professional and creative writing.
Clayton State University
|Morrow, GA||Cost: $$$$$||
Functioning as a selective Senior Unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University serves the metro Atlanta area. Boasting a 192-acre campus, CSU features a park-like atmosphere with five lakes. Emphasizing internships, practical classes, and real-world experiences, CSU boasts a diverse student body with students from 34 states and 32 countries. The university promotes small class sizes, personalized attention for every student, outstanding faculty, vibrant campus life, and affordable career preparation. Students enjoy a variety of online program options including an online bachelor's degree in English.
English students at CSU can pursue one of three tracks: secondary English education, literature, or writing. After they graduate, students can move on to careers in editing, journalism, public relations, business communications, teaching, and technical or professional writing. The degree often leads to teaching; however, students pursuing writing or literature tracks enhance their critical thinking skills by participating in an intensive, detailed analyses of research materials and texts. The program prepares students to pursue graduate study, careers, and professional school opportunities.
During their first semester, students complete 15 credits of coursework, taking introductory courses such as English composition and critical thinking. In their second semester, students finish 18 credits of coursework on topics including introduction to film and investigating critical/contemporary issues. The following four semesters also require students to complete 18 credits of coursework in topics like methods in teaching writing. The first semester of senior year comprises 15 credits of coursework, while the final semester requires students to complete a seminar and an internship worth nine credits combined.
Valley City State University
|Valley City, ND||Cost: $$$$$||
Located in Valley City, North Dakota, Valley City State University belongs to the North Dakota University System. Founded in 1890, the university began as a two-year teachers' college, expanding its program offerings after World War II. VCSU delivers more than 80 undergraduate programs encompassing fine arts, business, communication arts, information technology, math, science, health, psychology, education, and physical education. Since 1996, the university has been considered a "laptop" campus, issuing laptops to all full-time students, including the cost in the university's technology fee. The university highlights a variety of online programs, including an online bachelor's degree in English.
Online English students at VCSU can earn their degrees anywhere and pay the same affordable tuition rates as North Dakota residents. Students also pursue special interests and improve their backgrounds by obtaining credentials like library media and information science and teaching English language learners.
Students complete all coursework online including their interactions with their instructors, turning assignments in via Blackboard, discussing peer work, and submitting exams and papers online. Students can finish their coursework at a time most convenient for them unless they enroll in specific individual courses with synchronous formats. Faculty members also work with students to arrange student teaching assignments and practicums at secondary schools in their areas, as needed.
Nicholls State University
|Thibodaux, LA||Cost: $$$$$||
Nicholls State University is a public university in Thibodaux, Louisiana. Founded in 1948, the university is part of the University of Louisiana System of Universities. The university boasts a 287-acre campus and was once a part of Acadia Plantation, approximately 50 miles southwest of New Orleans. The university rests in the geographical bounds of the Mississippi River Delta, close to the Mississippi River and its distributaries, the Gulf of Mexico, and Louisiana's wetlands. Students enjoy many program options at Nicholls, including several online options such as an online bachelor's degree in English.
English students who study online at Nicholls can explore opportunities to tailor their degrees to their career goals and personal interests. They can pursue concentrations in the following areas: writing and rhetoric, creative writing, film studies, and literary studies. Students can choose from electives like fiction, nonfiction, poetry, film, American literature, British literature, and world literature. Throughout their studies, students encounter themes addressing global issues.
Students must register for a capstone at the end of their programs in which they reflect on what they learned throughout their time as an English major, discussing their career options and completing any materials needed to enter the next career phase.
|Dobbs Ferry, NY||Cost: $$$$$||
A private liberal arts college featuring a main campus on 66 acres in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Mercy College highlights additional locations in Yorktown Heights, Bronx, and Manhattan. Founded in 1950 by the Sisters of Mercy, the university continues to cultivate the legacy that began upon its creation. The college boasts five schools focusing on education, health and natural sciences, business, social and behavioral sciences, and liberal arts. Offering more than 90 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, Mercy features several online options including an online English degree.
Online English students at Mercy focus on the universal themes in great literature that teach individuals what it means to be human. Students learn to communicate effectively, think and read critically, write correctly, and speak with purpose. Students can transfer in up to 75 credits from a two-year institution and up to 90 from a four-year institution. Students begin their programs with foundation courses and learn about poetics and English literature. Additionally, students can complete courses in the following areas: history, genre, classical, and social and cultural.
Students interested in becoming a teacher explore the five-year B.S./M.S. teacher education program and can earn both their bachelor's and master's degrees in an accelerated format. Students who pursue undergraduate education in English can receive certification in secondary education, early childhood education, or childhood education.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online English Degree Program?
Earning an online degree in English provides a solid education in the liberal arts. Students learn the skills of analysis and composition that will be helpful in a wide variety of careers. Since English literature is such a broad subject, a student's course of study will vary depending on the program and concentrations chosen.
CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ENGLISH
|Concentration||Description||Careers This Concentration Prepares For|
|Creative Writing||Learn the art of writing creative fiction and nonfiction. Understand the fundamentals of creative writing, including plot, pacing, character development, and atmosphere. This concentration often focuses on several kinds of creative writing, like short stories, screenwriting, and journalism.||Writer, playwright, journalist|
|Film Studies||Apply literary theories to the realm of film. Learn how to critique a director's use of certain filmic elements, like pacing, music, light, and shadow, to develop a deeper understanding of a film's message. This concentration may also include some direction in filmmaking.||Director, screenwriter|
|Literary Theory||Study great English works from different theory lenses, like marxism, cultural relativism, feminism, and more. A concentration in literary theory provides the opportunity to study philosophy and English literature.||English professor, high school English teacher|
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ENGLISH
The courses you take in an online english degree accredited program will vary depending on the school and program you enroll in. Below you'll find sample curriculum commonly found in many online English degrees:
- British Literature: This survey course provides students the opportunity to read and critique the greatest works of English-language literature produced in Britain. This course covers “the greats,” like Shakespeare, Chaucer, Milton, and more. The course often includes an overview of British history as well, so students understand what major events British writers were reacting to in their texts.
- Poetry: Learn how to interpret poetry, whether it's a limerick, sonnet, haiku, or free verse. In addition to understanding the different formats and rhyme schemes poems can use, you'll also examine the literary techniques found in poems, like alliteration, onomatopoeia, similes, and metaphors.
- Drama and theater arts: Immerse yourself in the greatest works of drama written and acted in the English language. In addition to critiquing the text of plays, you'll also examine stage elements, like lighting, set design, and blocking (the positioning of actors on a stage), that can affect the interpretation of a play. This course often requires students to attend productions put on by the school or in the area.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ENGLISH?
Earning an online English degree typically takes two years if students are enrolled full time. It may take you longer to graduate with an online bachelor's degree in English literature if you must balance your studies with job or family responsibilities.
Another factor influencing the length it takes to earn an online BA english degree is how a program is designed. If your online english degree program follows a cohort model, that means you and your peers must start the program at the same time and work through the program together at a set pace. While the cohort model provides a sense of camaraderie and community with your fellow students, it doesn't provide a great deal of flexibility. Many online courses can be worked through at your own pace, allowing you to complete courses more quickly and take more than one course at a time.
Accreditation for Online English Degrees
As you explore your options for earning an online english degree, be sure to narrow your list down to schools that are accredited. Accreditation indicates that a school has met certain standards and delivers a quality education. The schools you consider will either be nationally accredited or regionally accredited. National accreditation is usually reserved for institutions of higher learning that focus on a specific type of education, like distance learning or vocational training. Regional accreditation is given to an institution that has met the standards of a regionally accredited association; there are six regional accreditation associations throughout the U.S. covering different regions. A degree from a regionally accredited institution is valid in any state. Schools offering you the opportunity to earn a bachelor's in english online are more likely to be regionally accredited.
Accreditation associations work in tandem with other organizations to establish the standards that institutions of higher learning must meet. The Department of Education (DOE) approves accreditors deemed reliable by the Secretary of Education. The DOE can only provide financial aid to students who attend accredited institutions. Another organization related to accreditation is the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The CHEA advocates for self-regulation among accredited institutions of higher learning to maintain high standards. Over 3,000 colleges and universities are members of the CHEA. To learn whether a school offering an online english degree program is accredited, you can check the list of accredited schools on the websites of the DOE and CHEA.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in English
Traditionally, college graduates with English degrees have endured higher-than-average unemployment rates. A 2014 survey by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that, from 2009 to 2012, the unemployment rate for experienced college graduates with an English degree ranged between 6.2% and 6.5%. A recent report from the NCES suggests that this trend for English degree-holders subsists, though employment prospects have improved slightly for this population; college graduates with an English degree between the ages of 25 and 29 now face a 5.9% unemployment rate.
The table below compares unemployment rates for experienced English degree recipients against majors in other related fields.
|Bachelor's Degree Field of Study||Unemployment Rate for 25- to 29-Year-Old Degree Recipients|
|English Language and Literature||5.9%|
|Marketing and Marketing Research||5.0%|
|Commercial Art and Graphic Design||5.6%|
|Liberal Arts and Humanities||5.7%|
As the table indicates, the unemployment rate for English language and literature majors is comparable to the unemployment rates for other liberal arts fields of study. The survey's average unemployment rate for all degree fields is 4.8% and the national unemployment rate for all occupations is currently 4.9%
Earning a Living
The NCES survey also found that English language and literature degree-holders between the ages of 25 and 29 earn an average annual salary of $39,510. However, due to the variety of career pathways you can take with an English degree, it's important to remember that your salary expectations stem in part from your degree specialization. Using data from the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, the table below features median annual earnings for different English majors at two key career benchmarks.
|Bachelor's Degree Field of Study||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career|
|Professional and Technical Writing||$42,700||$72,400|
|English Language and Literature||$40,400||$68,200|
|Secondary English Teacher Education||$37,800||$63,700|
|English Teacher Education||$35,900||$58,000|
Of the seven degree fields listed in the table, English literature majors have the highest rate of career growth during their first 10 years on the job, with an 80.8% salary increase between the entry-level and mid-career stages. Most other specializations saw a salary increase of about 70%.
Your major is just one indicator for your future career prospects, however. Salaries will also vary depending on your specific job title, as well as other factors like your location, and the size of your company. The next table highlights the career salary growth projections for five of the most common career pathways for English majors.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career||Median Annual Salary for Experienced||Median Annual Salary for Late-Career|
Associate publishers had the highest rate of career salary growth, with a 102% increase between the entry-level and late-career stages. Journalists ranked second with a 74.9% earnings increase after 20 years in the workforce. The other three careers recorded healthy salary growth, as well, with writers and authors at 67.4%, technical writers at 51.1%, and editors at 47.3%.
Career and Further Education Opportunities
College students who leave school with a bachelor's degree in English will be qualified for dozens of entry-level positions in a variety of industries. Below, we covered four careers that many English majors pursue after they leave school.
Writers and Authors: Writers and authors develop, compose, and edit content for various media platforms, such as books, magazines, movie and television scripts, songs, and online publications. Their work often includes extensive background research through reading, interviews, and site visits. Many of these professionals work on company writing staffs, while others are employed as freelancers.
Technical Writers: Technical writers compose content used in manuals, brochures, guides, and other materials that explain complex information. They study and evaluate various products and services before producing descriptive copy, and they use consumer feedback to modify their future output.
Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers: These professionals oversee product launches, marketing campaigns, and other promotional activities designed to boost public interest in various goods and services. Their job includes meticulous research into consumer demographics and trends, market activity, and other factors that affect the way products are bought, sold, and advertised.
Interpreters and Translators: These professionals use their bilingual skills to translate written or spoken words from one language into another. Many interpreters and translators working in the U.S. specialize in one commonly spoken second language, such as Spanish, French, Chinese, or Japanese. Jobs in this industry are expected to soar in the coming years; the BLS projects that these positions will grow by 29% between 2014 and 2024.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career|
|Writers and Authors||$60,250||2% (+3,100 jobs)|
|Technical Writers||$70,240||10% (+5,300 jobs)|
|Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Managers||$124,850||9% (+19,700 jobs)|
|Interpreters and Translators||$44,190||29% (+17,500 jobs)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Making connections and learning all you can about your industry of choice is critical to your professional development. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for professionals with a background in English. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.
- Society of Professional Journalists: Founded in 1909, the SPJ today represents roughly 7,500 members nationwide. The organization's flagship magazine is published 10 times per year, and the website features jobs leads, professional development courses, and an extensive resource library.
- Association of Writers and Writing Programs: The AWP offers membership, career resources, and advocacy to writing professionals across the country. The organization represents more than 550 college writing programs and 150 national writers conferences.
- Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators: This organization offers training, grant support, and advocacy for writers and illustrators that produce work for young audiences. The SCBWI maintains more than 80 local chapters across the globe.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in English Program
Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about your financial aid options.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
- Best Online Bachelor's in English of 2018
Rank School Location 1 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL 2 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL 3 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ 4 Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, AZ 5 California Baptist University Riverside, CA 6 The Baptist College of Florida Graceville, FL 7 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO 8 Ottawa University-Online Ottawa, KS 9 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA 10 National University La Jolla, CA 11 University of Memphis Memphis, TN 12 Indiana University-East Richmond, IN 13 Texas State University San Marcos, TX 14 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX 15 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 16 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA 17 Clayton State University Morrow, GA 18 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD 19 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA 20 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY 21 Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu, HI 22 Louisiana State University-Alexandria Alexandria, LA 23 King University Bristol, TN 24 Columbia College Columbia, MO 25 Robert Morris University Township, PA
- Best Online Bachelor's in English Programs for 2017
Rank School Location 1 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL 2 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL 3 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA 4 University of Colorado Denver Denver, CO 5 The Baptist College of Florida Graceville, FL 6 University of Memphis Memphis, TN 7 University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, TX 8 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 9 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN 10 National University La Jolla, CA 11 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD 12 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY 13 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA 14 Indiana University-East Richmond, IN 15 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX 16 California Baptist University Riverside, CA 17 Eastern Oregon University La Grande, OR 18 Granite State College Concord, NH 19 Columbia College Columbia, MO 20 Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu, HI 21 University of Houston-Downtown Houston, TX 22 University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle, ME 23 Ottawa University-Ottawa Ottawa, KS 24 Judson College Marion, AL 25 Adams State University Alamosa, CO