Best Online Master’s in English Programs of 2022

| Staff Writers

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Online master's programs in English prepare graduates for positions that require precise, creative use of the English language. Whether graduates hope to become poets or technical writers, professors or editors, they can benefit from an online master's in English.

Prospective students who wonder what these degrees entail, what to look for in a top program, and where to find support along the way can find answers to all these questions in the following guide. Read on to learn more about the best online master's in English programs for 2021.

2022 Best Accredited Online Master's in English Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

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How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1

University of Louisiana at Monroe

School Information
Location Monroe, Louisiana
Admission Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 47%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $500
Out of State | $500

Credits to Graduate
33

The University of Louisiana at Monroe features a master's in English degree with specializations in creative writing or literary studies. 

The literary studies specialty track requires a bibliography and literary research course. The creative writing concentration requires nine credits in workshops. All learners can study American prose or American poetry and English literature before 1800, or English literature from 1800 to present. They may pursue either a thesis or a non-thesis track.

Working professionals can earn credits from taking the CLEP or DSST exams. ULM also offers skills exams and portfolio reviews.

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#2

Tarleton State University

School Information
Location Stephenville, Texas
Admission Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 49%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $509
Out of State | $775

Credits to Graduate
36

Tarleton State University offers a master's in English with concentrations in literature or technical communication and rhetoric. The degree takes 18 months to complete. Students can choose between a thesis track and a non-thesis track. 

The concentration in literature, with an integrated Tarleton model for accelerated teacher education certification, prepares students to teach high school. The concentration in technical communication and rhetoric prepares graduates for technical writing careers or to pursue a doctoral degree. 

Applicants need a bachelor's in English with 12 foreign language credits. They also need a minimum 2.75 GPA, a 10- to 15-page writing sample, and three letters of recommendation.  

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#3

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

School Information
Location Natchitoches, Louisiana
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $475
Out of State | $475

Credits to Graduate
30

The Northwestern State University of Louisiana features a master's in English with concentrations in writing and linguistics, literature, folklife and Southern culture, and teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Courses take eight weeks to complete during the spring and fall. Summer courses take 4-8 weeks. Students end the program with a thesis or with two research papers and an elective course.

Applicants can apply on a rolling basis by submitting an online application, college transcripts with a minimum 3.0 GPA, two letters of recommendations, a statement of purpose, and a 15-page writing sample. 

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#4

University of Nebraska at Kearney

School Information
Location Kearney, Nebraska
Admission Rate 85%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $315
Out of State | $504

Credits to Graduate
36

The University of Nebraska at Kearney, with more than 50 online programs, features a master's in English degree that focuses on literature, creative writing, childhood and youth studies, and composition, rhetoric, and language.

Students take core courses in U.S. literature, British literature, narrative and poetic strategies, critical approaches to children's literature and culture, and theory of rhetoric and composition. Degree-seekers also take 12 credits in their specialty area. The degree lets students choose either a thesis or an examination option.

The program requires incoming students to have a bachelor's degree with at least 18 English credits.

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#5

Southern New Hampshire University

School Information
Location Manchester, New Hampshire
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $627
Out of State | $627

Credits to Graduate
36

Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University features a master's in English, which students can complete in 15-18 months. 

The program covers British, American, and global literature. Learners study periods in literature such as 20th century, American renaissance, Romantic, Renaissance and restoration, and 18th century literature. Online students complete a capstone to close the program. The degree includes a teaching course to prepare degree-seekers to teach college or high school.

SNHU offers a rolling admissions process with five start dates. Prospective students must complete an online application and submit undergraduate transcripts. 

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#6

Minnesota State University-Mankato

School Information
Location Mankato, Minnesota
Admission Rate 63%
Graduation Rate 50%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $472
Out of State | $472

Credits to Graduate
32

Minnesota State University-Mankato offers a master's in English that prepares graduates to work as teachers in high school and college or to pursue doctoral degrees.

Online learners complete common core courses in graduate research methods, British and American literary history, and electives. The program's electives explore specific genres and periods such as multicultural American literature and Shakespeare. Students must write a research paper for their capstone to graduate. 

Many courses offer live discussions. Students also complete asynchronous work. Degree-seekers can attend courses online or at the Mankato, Minnesota, campus. 

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#7

Ohio Dominican University

School Information
Location Columbus, Ohio
Admission Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $600
Out of State | $600

Credits to Graduate
33

Ohio Dominican University confers a master's in English degree which takes 18-24 months to complete. Current ODU students can complete the program in one year by taking graduate-level courses during their senior year.

Students choose 500-level courses with options to study medieval and renaissance literature, British literature, short stories, poetry, and drama. Graduates who hold a master's in education qualify for the teacher leader endorsement. Degree-seekers finish the program by completing a thesis or capstone project.

Admitted students need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates for the online master's in English degree must also submit three letters of recommendation, an autobiographical essay, and official transcripts.

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#8

Morehead State University

School Information
Location Morehead, Kentucky
Admission Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $379
Out of State | $570

Credits to Graduate
30

Morehead State University boasts a master's in English degree with open enrollment and no application deadlines.

MSU's English courses run on a two- to three-year rotation, with some "on demand" depending on student requests. Course offerings include American fiction, Romantic Period, and American renaissance. Students can also take courses devoted to Toni Morrison, John Milton, or Geoffrey Chaucer. Online learners complete a research exam, an embedded course document, or a three-hour exit exam. 

Applicants need a bachelor's in English degree or an English minor with a minimum 3.0 GPA and passing GRE scores. Admissions prefers candidates with 12 upper-division credits in English and American literature.

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#9

The University of West Florida

School Information
Location Pensacola, Florida
Admission Rate 31%
Graduation Rate 46%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online or Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $384
Out of State | $1,044

Credits to Graduate
33-36

The University of West Florida prepares students to earn a master's in English and specialize in literature or creative writing in 24 months.

All students take introduction to advanced literary study and history of literary theory. Courses have a maximum student capacity of 20, take 16 weeks to complete, and include live online lectures held in the evenings. Many online learners become active with UWF's journal Troubador or the national Panhandler Magazine.

UWF's Department of English offers grants for about $1,000. Students can also get paid assistantships. Qualified applicants need a bachelor's degree, at least 20 undergraduate credits in English, and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

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#10

South Dakota State University

School Information
Location Brookings, South Dakota
Admission Rate 90%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 38% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

 100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $470
Out of State | $470

Credits to Graduate
30-36

The South Dakota State University's master's in English degree allows students to focus on literature or writing and rhetoric.

Degree-seekers choose from three degree options that require students to complete either a thesis, a research paper, or an oral exam. Every online learner takes core requirements that include introduction to graduate studies and the seminar in teaching composition. 

Prospective students need at least 24 undergraduate credits in English with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants also must submit a one-page statement, an eight- to 10-page writing sample, and two letters of recommendations. SDSU offers assistantships that come with a stipend, an office, and a tuition waiver. 

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What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in English Program?

Online master's in English programs provide the literary training needed to work in roles focused on correct language and linguistics. Students who enjoy these programs value precise language and enjoy analyzing texts to better understand their meaning. In contrast to an MFA in writing, which focuses on building creative writing skills, a master's in English is more academic in nature.

Most of these programs take 2-3 years to complete and require 32-48 credits. In addition to covering core topics, such as literary research and criticism, American literature study, and composition theory and practice, many schools also offer concentrations in areas like literature, writing, and creative writing.

In contrast to an MFA in writing, which focuses on building creative writing skills, a master's in English is more academic in nature.

After completing required coursework, students write a master's thesis that examines a unique question or topic within the field using both primary and secondary research. Students who plan to teach or work as an editor may also be able to participate in an internship or practicum before they graduate.

Admission Requirements for Online Master's in English Programs

Many online master's in English programs prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree in English or a related field. Prospective students without a relevant bachelor's degree may need to complete certain prerequisite courses before starting the program.

Additional requirements include official transcripts, a personal statement, writing samples, and letters of recommendation. Students can learn more about this process by checking out our graduate admissions guide.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in English Program?

Teaching Writing

Designed for students who want to learn the ins and outs of teaching English at the secondary or postsecondary level, this course emphasizes pedagogy and measurable results. Degree-seekers delve into composition studies, teaching grammar and argument, writing across academic disciplines, and understanding cultural and linguistic differences in writing.

Writing and Technology

Over the past three decades, the invention of the internet and digital media has substantially shifted how readers ingest writings, how they share it, and how it is remembered. In this course, students consider the importance of media awareness and look at new and emerging practices for conveying thoughts and ideas across new media.

20th Century Language Theories

This course introduces degree-seekers to various ways of reading and analyzing texts. Learners examine models like new criticism, formalism, structuralism, and phenomenology to better understand earlier literary criticism and findings.

Life Writing

This course teaches students to write from personal experience through autobiography, short stories, literary essays, and poetry. Learners read examples of life writing before completing several assignments designed to both mimic earlier styles and help them find their voices.

Victorian Writers and Writings

Typically offered as an elective, this course looks at overarching themes in both American and English Victorian writing. Themes of class hierarchies, moral and sexual behaviors, despair and death, and urban vs. rural life receive special attention, as does the role of modernization and social change in the evolution of this writing period.

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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in English Degree?

The liberal arts often get a bad rap for job outcomes in a rapidly digitized world, but many online-based positions require professionals who know how to write well and clearly convey messages. Schools and universities also need educated academics who can teach the next generation of writers.

While jobs for writers are projected to decline slightly between 2019 and 2029, public relations positions should continue to grow and thrive.

See where a master's in English degree can take you. Learn more about English careers.

Education

Whether working in a K-12 or postsecondary education, English teachers and professors help students learn the ins and outs of the English language. They also teach students to analyze texts and write well. Many great writers credit their teachers for instilling an early love of language.

Technical Writing

Whether writing a dishwasher manual or editing a complex scientific journal, technical writers boast clear writing skills and the ability to translate complex topics into accessible prose. Technical writers can pursue in-house roles at academic journals or work as freelancers.

Editing

Editors play an important role in many industries, ensuring costly or embarrassing grammatical mistakes get fixed before going to print. Editors must possess a deep and nuanced understanding of grammar, syntax, and language to be effective in their roles.

Public Relations

Public relations professionals craft and manage the public personas of individuals and companies. Much of their work involves conveying the ideas and accomplishments of their clients, both orally and verbally. A strong grasp of the English language is key for these positions.

Publishing

Even if students do not aspire to publish their own work, those hoping to work in publishing must understand the mechanics of language. When reviewing drafts and pitches, publishing executives must ascertain whether the material will appeal to their audience.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in English Programs

Is a master's in English worth it?

Graduates with a master's in English can pursue meaningful roles in both academic and business settings. Whether graduates aim to work as community college professors or content managers, this degree can help them achieve their goals.

What can I do with a master's in English?

A master's degree in English leads to opportunities in myriad fields in positions that require clear language. Graduates can find work as speechwriters, editors, and postsecondary instructors.

Are English majors in high demand?

It depends on the job. Traditional writers may have trouble finding work. Nevertheless, between 2019 and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 9% job growth for postsecondary teachers and 7% job growth for technical writers.

How much money can I make with a master's in English?

According to the BLS, writers and authors earn a median annual salary of $67,120, while technical writers make a median annual salary of $74,620.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in English?

Postsecondary teachers earn a median annual salary of $80,790. The top 10% of earners brought home more than $180,360 per year. Keep in mind that university professors usually need a doctorate to teach. A master's degree is sufficient for most community college teaching positions.

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