25 Best Online English Degrees [2021 Guide]

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If you’re looking for a degree that can help you become academically well-rounded with career versatility, than you may consider pursuing an online English degree.

Online English Degrees

Majoring in English can help you develop a better command of the English language. You’ll learn how to communicate with other people, how to share your ideas, and how to help others see the world from your point of view.

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Your learned communication and writing skills may help you stand out to potential employers. Being an English major may help you prepare for a career in many different fields, including education, publishing, television, and business.

Online English Degrees

Technical Writer working on his laptop

When earning your bachelor’s degree in English online, you may start by taking classes about grammar and the foundations of the English language.

You’ll also learn about literary theories that can help you critically read texts, including plays, poems, stories, and nonfiction pieces. The literature classes may focus heavily on American and British works, but you might read selections from around the world as well.

There will also be plenty of opportunities to develop your writing skills. You’ll learn how to conduct research, develop arguments, and entertain audiences. There may be workshop classes available in which you can hone particular writing styles.

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Getting an English major could prepare you for a career in writing, editing, or news reporting. Although additional training may be necessary, you may also be able to work in a school or a library.

Your communication skills might also come in handy if you decide to pursue a career in the business world. Career ideas include working as a public relations specialist or a sales representative. An accredited online English degree can also serve as good preparation for a variety of graduate programs.

English majors often go on to study journalism, education, library science, literature, or media. Because this liberal arts degree is so versatile, it may also help you get into law, business, or medical school.

Careers for English Majors

Careers for English Majors

Studying English can teach you to think critically and communicate effectively. You may also learn to craft strong arguments and persuade others. Nearly any line of work that relies on communication or persuasion could benefit from your training.

Many English majors choose to become writers. You might want to pen novels, screenplays, poems, or plays. For those who are scientifically or technologically minded, technical writing is a line of work that pays well.

You could also polish others’ writings as an editor. Both fiction and nonfiction writers need editors. Television shows and movies need script editors as well. Some editors work for magazines or newspapers to prepare publications for print.

In fact, news media in general can benefit from the expertise of English majors. You may go to work as a print journalist, an on-air reporter, or a news analyst.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in media and communications pay an average annual salary of $61,310. Jobs in this sector are growing at a 4% rate through the next decade.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Technical Writers $74,650
Writers and Authors $67,120
Editors $63,400
High School Teachers $62,870
Public Relations Specialists $62,810
Middle School Teachers $60,810
Advertising Sales Agents $54,940
Interpreters and Translators $52,330
Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts $49,300
Library Technicians $37,010

Some English majors want to pass their love of language on to students. Language arts teachers are needed at the junior high and high school levels. For this career path, you would need teacher training in addition to English studies.

Your love for books might inspire you to work in a library. Becoming a librarian requires a traditional or online master’s degree in English, but you could be an assistant with your bachelors in English online. Some positions may require additional training. Assistant and technician roles could serve as good preparation for future librarianship.

English is a very versatile degree, so your communication and persuasion skills may set you up for success in a variety of other fields. These include public relations, sales, advertising, and translating.

Bachelor’s in English Curriculum & Courses

A bachelor’s degree often requires about 120 credit hours. Many of those hours will come from courses that are closely related to your major.

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The below courses are examples of the classes you may take as an English major.

  • American Literature: This course may introduce you to texts from historical or modern American writers and discuss how events in politics or culture have influenced the artistic expression of various time periods.
  • British Literature: In classes on British literature, you’ll read and analyze the works of famous Brits while also learning about the periods in which those writings were created.
  • English Grammar: To ensure that improper form doesn’t obscure your messages, you’ll have a course centered around the correct use of the English language.
  • Fiction Writing: In one or more writing workshops, you’ll have opportunities to craft stories, plays, or poems and receive feedback from peers and professors.
  • Historical Roots of the English Language: You’ll explore how the English language came to be and discuss how the language continues to grow and develop.
  • Literary Criticism: This class will cover literary theories and give you the opportunity to apply those concepts as you read and evaluate various works.
  • Nonfiction Writing: In addition to teaching you how to relay information or persuade audiences, your time in this class will cover practices for research and documentation.
  • Teaching Methods: If you intend to use your English degree to become a junior high or high school teacher, you may take classes to prepare you for life in the classroom.
  • Western Poetry: You may read and analyze poetic works from American and British writers.
  • Shakespearean Works: William Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays have had such a profound influence on literature and culture that you may have an entire class dedicated to studying his writings.

English majors often have the opportunity to enroll in various elective courses as well.

Admissions Requirements

English major student studying in library

Stand-out college applications may help you get into the school of your choice. Your application packets may introduce you to admissions committees with the following materials.

  • Essay question: In a short paper, you may share your experiences, goals, or ideas.
  • Extracurriculars: Listing clubs or volunteer work can help show that you’re a well-rounded applicant.
  • Test scores: Some colleges look at ACT or SAT results, but this is becoming a less common requirement.
  • Transcripts: You may need to request official transcripts from your high school and any colleges you’ve attended.

Admissions requirements vary greatly among schools, so you may want to read all instructions thoroughly.

Accreditation

Online English Degrees Accreditation

If you decide to get an English major online, you may want to consider schools that hold regional accreditation. The degree you earn is more likely to be respected if it comes from an accredited school. This is the case whether it’s a bachelor’s, master’s, or even a PhD in English online.

If you ever decide to transfer elsewhere or to get a master’s or doctoral degree, other colleges usually only accept credits from regionally accredited schools.

Accreditation may make a difference during a job hunt too. Employers often put more stock in degrees from accredited institutions. This is because a school’s accreditation status proves whether they meet educational standards.

The US Department of Education maintains a list of accredited schools on their website. This can be a useful tool if you’re searching for institutions or needing to verify the accreditation status of a particular school.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Online English Degrees Financial Aid

If your goal is to earn an affordable online English degree, you may want to apply for financial assistance.

For starters, you can always submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can do this online, and the results will determine what government aid you are eligible for. Your state may ask for your FAFSA results as well.

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Government assistance is usually in the form of low-interest loans. Some students may also receive grants, which don’t have to be paid back. Private organizations might offer tuition help too, often in the form of scholarships. To receive scholarships, you would have to qualify, apply, and be selected out of the applicants.

Scholarships may be offered by clubs, businesses, religious groups, colleges, and professional organizations. If you’re working, you may also check with your employer. There may be programs to help employees pay for college.

What Can You Do with an English Degree?

Advertising Sales Agent talking to a customer

English majors aren’t locked into any one career path. If you decide to earn an English degree, you may be able to apply your studies in business, journalism, education, writing, editing, and other fields.

A bachelor’s degree in English could help you become a published writer. You may also be a book, newspaper, or website editor. Some writers or editors use their talents in the film and television industry.

Communication is the primary focus of an English degree. With this skill, you may become a public relations specialist, an interpreter, or a salesperson. English majors may also work in schools and libraries with additional training.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s Degree in English?

Bachelor's Degree in English student studying online

Most bachelors degrees require students to earn about 120 credit hours. If you attend a college that uses the traditional 16 week semester, it may take about 4 years to complete the required credits and graduate with an English degree.

By enrolling in a school with 8 week terms instead, you may earn the necessary credits in less time. Colleges that use accelerated calendars usually run terms back to back throughout the year. With fewer breaks, you may be able to graduate sooner.

What Jobs Can You Get with an English Degree?

Writers working together

There are many career paths for you to choose from, depending on your particular interests and skills.

You may become a writer. You could submit articles to magazines, pen newspaper reports, author children’s books, compose screenplays, or write technical manuals. You may apply your English skills as an editor, revising others’ work or preparing publications for print.

You may pursue teaching licensure so you can work in a classroom. You may also become a tutor or work in a library. Many English majors branch out beyond these traditional roles. You may even find jobs in sales, advertising, public relations, and other disciplines that value communication skills.

What’s the Difference Between a Literature Major vs. English Major?

writer working in a cafe

There is a good deal of overlap between literature studies and English studies, but these two degrees are not directly interchangeable.

Literature is a more focused degree program. Most of the coursework for a literature major will entail reading works from various genres, cultures, or time periods and analyzing them critically.

English is a broader program. In addition to literary studies, you may also explore linguistics, grammar, and composition. Effective communication might be an overarching theme of the classes.

Literature majors often become writers and editors. English majors may also become writers or editors, or they may pursue work in journalism, business, or other fields.

Is an English Degree Worth It?

writer working at home

Yes, an English degree is worth it for many professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 4% job growth in media and communication occupations for the next 10 years, faster than the average for all occupations.

Common English degree careers in this field include author, technical writer, PR specialist, teacher, and editor. An English major is considered a liberal arts program. Your studies may equip you with knowledge and skills that are widely applicable. You may develop your critical thinking skills and learn to write more clearly.

By the time you graduate, you may be more skilled at relating to people and persuading audiences. Also, earning a masters in English worth it

Universities Offering Online Bachelor’s in English Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s Bachelor of Arts in English program puts equal emphasis on reading, writing, and research. The curriculum includes multiple composition classes, literature classes in multiple subjects, and various electives chosen by students. The school offers an additional fast track plan that allows students to finish in 3 years.

Arizona State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

California Baptist University

California Baptist University

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in English program at California Baptist University will develop efficient critical thinking and writing skills.

The curriculum seeks to provide them with a well-rounded, comprehensive knowledge of evaluating literature, conducting research, and writing critical response papers. Self-reflection and leadership abilities are also cultivated.

California Baptist University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior  College and University Commission.

Central Washington University

Central Washington University

Central Washington University’s English bachelors program puts a significant emphasis on both professional and creative writing.

It’s a 74 credit program, and its curriculum includes liberal arts courses and numerous different writing courses. These writing courses include fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and screenwriting as well as technical, scientific, professional, and business writing.

Central Washington University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Clarion University

Clarion University

Students at Clarion University have several options when it comes to studying English. The school offers two English degrees—a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies with an English focus—as well as a BS in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Writing.

Clarion University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Columbia College

Columbia College

The English bachelors program at Columbia College provides a good foundation for students interested in English, writing, media, or editing careers. It’s also a suitable degree for students pursuing graduate or law degrees. Emphasis is put on liberal arts courses and courses meant to expand critical thinking and communication skills.

Columbia College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Eastern Oregon University

Eastern Oregon University

Eastern Oregon University offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in English and Writing. Many of the core and elective courses are the same in both programs. The BA degree requires foreign language courses, though, while the BS degree requires 12 additional science-related credits.

Eastern Oregon University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

King University

King University

The Bachelor of Arts in English program at King University is a 124 semester hours program that includes 48 core credit semester hours and 38 semester hours each in general education and electives.

Common courses include composition and rhetoric, Shakespeare, grammar and style, and adolescent, world, religious, and Appalachian literature.

King University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Mary Baldwin University

Mary Baldwin University

Students enrolled in Mary Baldwin University’s English bachelors program have the option to fast track their degrees by transferring up to five courses, or 15 credits, through direct course equivalents. The curriculum includes a heavy writing component, and students can even select creative writing as the minor for their English degrees.

MBU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

Maryville University

Maryville University

Maryville University’s 128 credit Bachelor of Arts in English program helps students learn to communicate effectively, become exciting storytellers, think critically, and develop creative solutions to real-world problems.

In addition to numerous different literature courses, the curriculum also includes courses such as fable to film, minority voices, and creative writing.

The Maryville University of Saint Louis is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Mercy College

Mercy College

Mercy College’s Bachelor of Arts in English program is a good choice for students who want to learn to speak effectively, think critically, and write correctly and with purpose. The school also allows English undergraduates to transfer into an optional “fifth year” masters program that provides them with teaching licensures.

Mercy College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

National University

National University

The Bachelor of Arts in English program at National University features a number of courses that are 4 weeks long as well as 100% online courses.

Key goals of the program include improving students’ oral and written communication skills, teaching them about diversity and multicultural inclusion, and exposing them to literary analysis, linguistics, art, and language.

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Nicholls State University

Nicholls State University

Students in Nicholls State University’s Bachelor of Arts in English program can choose from the following concentrations: Writing and Rhetoric, Film Studies, Literary Studies, Children’s and Young Adult Literature, or Creative Writing. The curriculum is diverse, and a final capstone project is required before students can officially earn their degrees.

Nicholls State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Ohio Christian University

Ohio Christian University

Ohio Christian University’s English bachelors program teaches students to explore literature with a curious but critical nature.

The program’s goals are for students to “uncover absolute truth,” better understand readings, and cultivate a biblical worldview. The degree prepares students for graduate school or careers in the ministry or the professional workplace.

Ohio Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Regent University

Regent University

The Bachelor of Arts in English program from Regent University provides students with strong, solid foundations in Christianity, first and foremost, as well as in professional writing, literature, and composition. Graduates of the program often go on to obtain jobs as teachers or in the media, business, or ministry fields.

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Saint Mary of the Woods College

Students at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s Bachelor of Arts in English program will have the option to study abroad at Regent’s College in London for one semester.

The curriculum includes 43 major-specific credits and 21 minor-specific credits. Courses include British literature, American literature, advanced poetry studies, women writers, and pop fiction.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Although Southern New Hampshire University’s Bachelor of Arts in English program is a 120 credit program, students can transfer up to 90 previously earned credits into it. There’s no application fee to be considered, and ACT and SAT scores are not required for admission. The curriculum is hands-on, collaborative, and research-based.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s English bachelors program is affordable, flexible, and accredited.

Class sizes are small, and one-on-one interactions between students and faculty are a common occurrence. It’s a Christian-oriented program that focuses on understanding literature. It’s good for students interested in becoming copywriters, editorial assistants, journalists, or writers.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Troy University

Troy University

In addition to pedagogy, composition, and literature, students in Troy University’s English bachelors program will also take courses in communication, arts, and the other humanities.

Students learn to find answers through dedicated, open-minded research and thinking things through logically and critically. Clarity in written and oral communication is also taught.

Troy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida offers several different English degree options.

Students can select either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with English concentrations, or they can choose one of the school’s three Bachelor of Arts in English degrees with concentrations in Literature, Technical Communication, or Creative Writing.

The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Colorado – Denver

University of Colorado - Denver

University of Colorado’s Bachelor of Arts in English Writing, Rhetoric, and Technology program is a 120 credit degree that takes 4 years to complete. At its core, it’s a generalized writing degree. It teaches students about writing research and theory and includes courses in creative, magazine, professional, and academic writing.

The University of Colorado – Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Illinois – Springfield

University of Illinois Springfield

Students in University of Illinois – Springfield’s English bachelors program will learn a lot about the power of language and linguistics. They learn to cultivate their cultural, critical thinking, communication, and creative skills. The program prepares them for careers in a variety of fields, including law, business, education, and entertainment.

The University of Illinois Springfield is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global Campus’s English bachelors program prepares students for work in a variety of industries or for further education in graduate school. The curriculum features 11 required courses, including history of the English language, American and Renaissance literature, standard English grammar, and intro to fiction, poetry, and drama.

University of Maryland Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Massachusetts – Lowell

University of Massachusetts Lowell

The Bachelor of Arts in English program at University of Massachusetts – Lowell can be completed entirely online. Students can transfer in up to 90 previously earned credits, and financial aid is available for qualifying students. Students will take classes specifically in Chaucer and Shakespeare as well as multiple literature and composition courses.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell is an accredited member of the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Memphis

University of Memphis

University of Memphis’s Bachelor of Arts in English program can be completed entirely online and offers students the choice between two concentrations: African American Literature or Professional Writing. Required core courses in both concentrations are largely the same, but the electives will be different for each concentration.

The University of Memphis is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Western New Mexico University

Western New Mexico University

Western New Mexico University allows students to earn Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees in English. Both degrees offer concentrations in Literature or Writing. The BS degree is helpful for students hoping to move immediately into the workforce. The BA degree better prepares students for graduate school.

Western New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your English Degree Online

English Degree student studying online

Earning a bachelors degree in English can help set you up for success in many different fields. In addition to becoming a writer or editor, you may also find success in public relations, news reporting, sales, and more. Some English majors even go on to get graduate degrees in law, medicine, or journalism.

If you have a passion for language and are looking for a flexible degree program that can lead to a variety of jobs, then earning an English degree online may be a good fit for you. You may want to start exploring accredited programs and universities if you are interested in learning more about what a degree in English has to offer.

Ready to start your journey?
Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.