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Online Colleges for English

In our high-tech world, the English language continues to evolve right before our eyes. An entire vocabulary of abbreviations and acronyms has sprung up to replace the rich language that used to mark our speech and correspondence. However, don't make the mistake of thinking this makes English degrees irrelevant. On the contrary, as new forms of communication emerge, and as English becomes an ever-more-common global language, employers' need for professionals who can concisely and eloquently share ideas has never been greater. Online English programs can help students develop time-tested skills that may be used across a variety of industries throughout the country and around the world.

Best Online Colleges for English

With so many great options out there, choosing the best school can be difficult; that's one of the reasons rankings are so important for potential college students. Those seeking out the best online colleges for English can begin with this comprehensive list. We reviewed hundreds of online English degree programs at colleges and universities across the country to come up with a "best of" list for students who want to start their college experience out the right way.

The results are in, and these ten colleges came out on top. If you're curious as to how, details on our methodology can be found at the bottom of the page.

1

Citrus College

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$12,320
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
20
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Founded in 1915, Citrus College is the oldest community college in Los Angeles County. The Associate of Arts in Language Arts aims to prepare students to use logical thought, clear expression and critical evaluation in communications. Students who want to strengthen their communication skills even further should consider earning the Writing Competency Certificate as well.

In our comprehensive list of schools, Citrus College ranks second for tuition and third for prominence. Prospective students can look forward to its open admissions policy and a respectable graduation rate. Put it all together and this excellent program deserves its first place rank on our list of the best online colleges for English.

Please note that currently, only students who reside in California or who are members of the military can register for online courses at Citrus College.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Location:

100 W Foothill Blvd
Glendora, CA 91741-1899
Go to School Website 
GO
2

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$12,020
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
25
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Ranked as one of the top Online Bachelor's Programs for 2017 by U.S. News & World Report, the online bachelor's degree in English at University of Massachusetts - Lowell is offered entirely online. Coursework looks at:

  • British and American literary traditions
  • The study of contemporary critical methods
  • In-depth practice of research and writing.

Students who choose to expand their horizons after earning their bachelor's degree can look into the online master's degree in reading and language.

University of Massachusetts - Lowell ranked third on our list for favorable tuition rates, as well as taking the No. 7 spot for graduation rate.

Accreditation:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Location:

1 University Ave
Lowell, MA 01854-5104
Go to School Website 
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3

Louisiana State University - Alexandria

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$13,390
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
31
Accredited
School Type
4-year

LSU of Alexandria's Bachelor of Arts in English can be taken entirely online, preparing students for potential careers in communications, editing, writing or teaching. Courses focus on English principles, composition and literature, as well as poetry, literary history, drama and foreign language. Students who have already earned a substantial amount of college credit will be pleased to learn that this program accepts a large number of transfer credits.

The English department at LSU of Alexandria is sizable, which may be why it awards a sizable enough percentage of English degrees to rank second in prominence on our list. The school is highly competitive; even so, over 65% of students gain admission every year. Since the program is entirely online, the programs have numerous start dates throughout the year, which makes earning a degree easier for those with busy schedules.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

8100 Hwy 71 South
Alexandria, LA 71302-9121
Go to School Website 
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4

Nicholls State University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$11,520
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
17
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Founded in 1948, the degree programs at Nicholls State University are well-established and respected. The Bachelor of Arts in English is available in fully online format and offers three distinctly different areas of concentration: literary studies, professional writing and creative writing. The program begins with two gateway programs, then moves into general education and a wealth of electives tailored to support the student's chosen concentration. The capstone course helps students find their way in a sea of employment possibilities.

Nicholls State University has an impressive admissions rate of over 90 percent. The school ranks at 17 for graduation rate as well as prominence, and ranks in the top half for tuition rates. As an added bonus, their accelerated scheduling format means the possibility of finishing the bachelor's degree in only three years.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

University Station La Hwy 1
Thibodaux, LA 70310
Go to School Website 
GO
5

Southern New Hampshire University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$12,020
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
24
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Founded in 1932, the former New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science has expanded to include numerous educational options, including the online bachelor's degree in English. The Bachelor of Arts in English and Literature provides students with the in-depth research skills and communications savvy they will need to enter the competitive workforce. This private school takes a great deal of pride in affordable tuition rates, expert instruction and a transfer-friendly environment.

The favorable graduation rate for the English program at SNHU boosted its ranking on our list, as did the admissions rate of over 91 percent. The school really shines on our prominence metrics, coming in at number one. Students who have a great experience with the online English program might want to consider going further with the online Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing.

Accreditation:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Location:

2500 North River Road
Manchester, NH 03106-1045
Go to School Website 
GO
6

Chaminade University of Honolulu

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$10,180
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
15
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Founded in 1955, Chaminade University is the only Catholic university in Hawaii. Students who opt for the Bachelor of Arts in English online can choose from one of two concentrations: writing or literature and criticism. Either way, a curriculum that focuses on helping student become adept at a range of writing formats, such as nonfiction, fiction, poetry, drama and more, endeavors to prepare students for different kinds of work environments. Students complete work through the Office of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE), which offers accelerated courses and four start terms per year.

Chaminade University came in at number 12 on our list for graduation rate, and offers a solid admissions rate of over 82 percent. The school also awarded quite a few English degrees in 2014-2015, enough to come in at an admirable number six ranking in our prominence metrics.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Location:

3140 Waialae Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816-1578
Go to School Website 
GO
7

University of Illinois at Springfield

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$15,192
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
45
Accredited
School Type
4-year

At the Springfield campus of University of Illinois, students can earn an online bachelor's degree in English through the Department of English and Modern Languages after earning their associate degree or completing the required general education courses. Once accepted, students will pursue the Bachelor of Arts in English, where they can choose to explore the Literary Studies concentration. Admission is quite competitive, so aspiring students are encouraged to submit their application as early as possible.

Our analysis of the English program at University of Illinois at Springfield led to a few impressive rankings: The school ranked 10th on graduation rate and 11th on our prominence metrics. Out of 56 rankings, that's no mean feat!

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Location:

One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
Go to School Website 
GO
8

University of Memphis

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$4,170
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
25
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Those seeking to earn the University of Memphis' Bachelor of Arts in English can do so through UofM Global, a system that provides advisory assistance and seasoned faculty. Offered entirely online, students can choose from two concentrations: Professional Writing, which focuses strongly on communication skills, and African American Literature, which focuses on analytical reading and critical thinking.

University of Memphis looks great on our metrics, coming in 5th in prominence and 15th in graduation rates. The school has a very selective admissions process, one that ensures only the most-qualified students enter the program. Accessibility of online options is improved by the fact that University of Memphis charges a special "eRate" for online students, rather than the more expensive out-of-state tuition.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Location:

Southern Avenue
Memphis, TN 38152
Go to School Website 
GO
9

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$6,838
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
6
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Clarion University, a Pennsylvania school serving students since 1867, goes out of its way to foster analytical writing, critical thinking and creative thinking skills through the study of literature and the nuances of the English language. Students who prefer to earn a degree in Liberal Studies but still want to have a strong background in English could opt for the B.S. in Literal Studies: English Concentration, which is also offered fully online.

Clarion University has a high admissions rate -- over 96 percent -- but it also has a great graduation rate, ranking at number nine on our list. Prospective students will be happy to learn that the university has numerous programs dedicated to English and the art of writing, which generally indicates a strong department, plenty of advisory help and learned faculty.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Location:

840 Wood St
Clarion, PA 16214
Go to School Website 
GO
10

National University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$12,320
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
30
Accredited
School Type
4-year

Students have been fulfilling their educational goals at National University since 1971. The Bachelor of Arts in English, offered as a hybrid program, allows students the flexibility they need to earn their degree - a factor that can be very helpful to working adults or those who have family responsibilities. The rigorous program focuses on literature, language and linguistics, communication studies and composition to provide a well-rounded preparation. Those more interested in the creative fields can choose the Creative Writing concentration.

National University has a large English department and offers numerous degree options, which boosts it to 13th on our prominence metric. With an open admissions policy, education at National University is available to anyone; however, hard work is required to earn a place among graduates.

Please note that of the 180 quarter units required for the B.A. in English, 45 of them must be completed in residence at National University.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Location:

11255 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037-1011
Go to School Website 
GO

Degree Overview: English

Online colleges for English are designed to give students an understanding of literature and writing mechanics that can be used in a number of careers. This section of this page discusses the skills students may focus on during an English program's diverse coursework, as well as what that coursework might entail.

Online English Courses

English classes can concentrate on many different aspects of English literature. Different genres, authors, time periods, critical theories or even specific texts can all provide the focal point for a course in this field of study. Below are examples of coursework that may be found in these programs.

  • Shakespeare: The breadth and depth of Shakespeare's writing gives students the opportunity to learn about different aspects of his work. A course on this famous author may cover Shakespeare's sonnets, tragedies, comedies, histories or romances. More generally, such a class may focus on the substantial influence Shakespeare has had on the stage, literature, film and/or visual art.
  • Poetry: Whether students want to appreciate the work of renowned poets or learn the mechanics of writing poetry, classes in poetry focus on imparting a deeper understanding of the genre. Students may participate in poetry writing workshops; learn about the different styles of poetry; or focus on specific poets such as Blake, Eliot, Frost, Hughes, Poe, Dickinson and Whitman.
  • Literary criticism: Students in this course examine the critical thinking skills needed to evaluate a piece of writing. Class content may include topics such as psychoanalytic perspectives on literature, rhetorical methods used in different kinds of writing, and structuralism and post-structuralism theories.
  • British literature: A class in British literature may cover British literature during different points in history and the characteristics of the writing in each period. In addition, students might also learn about specific British writers, including Dickens, Austen, Lawrence and Woolf.
  • Women in literature: Courses that cover women in literature explore how the female experience is documented in different pieces of writing. The class may discuss specific female writers, feminist literary criticism and changing gender roles, to name just a few of the subject's many topics.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

As students complete an English degree, they are given multiple opportunities to cultivate skills that will help them in their careers after graduation. This section explores some of the skills online education for English may provide.

  • Writing: No matter what career graduates choose, strong writing skills are imperative in order to be successful. English programs give students many opportunities to express ideas in writing, whether they are creating original fiction, explaining the main ideas of a literary work in an essay, or writing a biography or thesis. Through these projects, students can learn how to formulate a hypothesis and systematically explain it from beginning to end.
  • Editing: No piece of writing is going to be perfect after just one draft. Employers are looking for workers who can communicate well in writing, and part of that includes the editing process, where text is not only checked for grammatical and spelling errors, but also revised to ensure it is consistent, complete and factually correct.
  • Organizational: Being able to successfully juggle many tasks is a skill employers at any organization value. English majors are expected to regularly read texts and write papers, usually for multiple courses at the same time, so often they become accustomed to organizing their time to meet multiple deadlines.
  • Critical thinking: Through analyzing different kinds of literature, English students can become adept at reviewing a piece of writing with a critical eye to identify its strengths and weaknesses. While this skill has obvious uses for a career in writing or editing, some English graduates can turn that critical eye to other kinds of projects as well, learning to catch hard-to-find errors in lines of programming code, design blueprints for machinery, or even broad-concept ideas for marketing, science or medicine.

English Career Outlook

With new and larger generations going to school and baby boomers in education considering retirement, an English major can feel secure in their prospects for a job in teaching. Other English-related jobs can be harder to break into, but can still be well worth looking into.

High School English Teachers
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$61,420
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
284,000
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
5.8
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree

Are you passionate about great literature, either classic greats like Charles Dickens or modern geniuses like Toni Morrison? Eliciting critical thinking about these books in students is the job of the high school English teacher, as is teaching correct usage of grammar, building student vocabulary and helping students to formulate stellar essays.

While high school teachers generally specialize in one particular subject, i.e. English or math, they are still required to teach multiple areas within that subject. An English teacher may be asked to teach classes in literature, creative writing, poetry and more throughout their day, to multiple different grade levels of students. A bachelor's degree in English and a teaching license are necessary for the position, but a master's degree could lead to increased pay or act as leverage for better instructional opportunities.

Writers and Authors
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$71,920
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
26,100
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2.3
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree

Whether it's penning a book or writing for a daily "rag" as a journalist, writers and author careers can be challenging and pressure-packed, but highly rewarding. Not every person gets to piece together plots; develop unique characters and societies; present their views through the lives of individuals real or imaginary; or fly to Europe or China just to do research for context and credibility.

You can break into the world of writing as an untrained individual of fifteen or fifty, but a degree in English, journalism or communications can help polish your skills, or lend extra legitimacy to your first book. A love of learning, a healthy curiosity and a constant desire to improve are all valuable skills for the job. Writers also need to be able to make deadlines and have a thick skin (or at least a close relationship with their editor) when it comes to revisions and edits.

Editors
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$66,080
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
42,500
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2014-2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
-5.3
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree

Is it "who" or "whom," or "lay" or "lie?" Editors are the people who spot grammar confusion in articles, books and stories, as well as ensure that ideas flow, paragraph structures are correct, and words are not missing or accidentally added in. An eye for detail is just one not-to-be-overlooked quality of those interested in editor careers. A love of words, a passion for accuracy, and a knack for management and tact are also valuable in the field.

Editors can work online, should become familiar with software and editing programs, and are often close friends with their dictionary and thesaurus. Skilled editors can oversee different sections of a newspaper or a magazine or become the executive editor of a publication or a publishing house.

Sources and Methodologies

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer at least one degree or certificate in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on six criteria, using the weights specified:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 20%
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 10%
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 10%
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded by the school in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 30%
  5.  Related subjects, based on the number of similar programs that the school offers at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 15%
  6. Variety of degree levels, based on the number of degree and certificate levels out of a possible nine that the school offers in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 15%

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources

  1. http://www.citruscollege.edu/academics/onlinedegrees/Pages/default.aspx
  2. https://continuinged.uml.edu/degrees/undergrad/online-bachelors-english-degree.cfm
  3. http://online.lsua.edu/programs/bachelor-of-arts-in-english.aspx
  4. https://www.nicholls.edu/online/degrees/bachelor-arts-english/
  5. http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/ba-in-english-language-and-literature
  6. http://www.chaminade.edu/online
  7. http://www.uis.edu/englishmodernlanguages/
  8. http://www.memphis.edu/uofmglobal/degrees/undergraduate/english.php
  9. http://clarion.edu/academics/degrees-programs/emod/english/index.html#b.a.-english
  10. http://www.nu.edu/OurPrograms/CollegeOfLettersAndSciences/ArtsAndHumanities/Programs/Bachelor-Arts-English.html
  11. Editors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed April 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/editors.htm#tab-4
  12. High School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed April 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
  13. Writer and Authors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accessed April 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm
  14. Online Bachelor's Degree BA in English Language & Literature, Southern New Hampshire University, Accessed June 2017, http://www.snhu.edu/online-degrees/bachelors/ba-in-english-language-and-literature
  15. Online English Bachelor's Degree, University of Maryland University College, Accessed June 2017, http://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/bachelors-degrees/english-major.cfm
  16. Bachelor's Degree in English, Regent University, Accessed June 2017, http://www.regent.edu/acad/undergrad/academics/degree/english/
  17. Course Descriptions - The Department of English at UTSA, The University of Texas at San Antonio, Accessed June 2017, http://colfa.utsa.edu/english/courses.html
  18. English Degree Requirements, Hendrix College, Accessed June 2017, https://www.hendrix.edu/english/english.aspx?id=71409
  19. A.A. English, Cosumnes River College, Accessed June 2017, https://www.crc.losrios.edu/catalog/areas/eng/degree
  20. Careers for English Majors, University of Washington, Accessed June 2017, https://english.washington.edu/careers-english-majors
  21. What You Actually Learn As An English Major, Business Insider, Accessed June 2017, http://www.businessinsider.com/what-you-actually-learn-as-an-english-major-2013-10
  22. What can I do with an English degree?, Prospects.ac.uk, Accessed June 2017, https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/english
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Sources and Methodologies