Earning a bachelor's degree in English can lead to rewarding careers in fields like communications, journalism, and publishing.
Graduates can pursue a variety of jobs, such as editor, author, copywriter, and technical writer. Many of these jobs offer higher-than-average salaries and strong projected job growth. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), technical writers earned a median annual salary of $72,850 in 2019, and the BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 7% between 2019 and 2029.
Earning a bachelor's degree in English online gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities. Additionally, online learning lets students attend top programs throughout the country without relocating.
|#1||Florida International University Miami, FL|
|#2||University of Central Florida Orlando, FL|
|#3||Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH|
|#4||Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA|
|#5||Clayton State University Morrow, GA|
|#6||Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN|
|#7||Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ|
|#8||Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO|
|#9||Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu, HI|
|#10||Louisiana State University-Alexandria Alexandria, LA|
Featured Online Colleges
The Best Online Bachelor's in English Programs
FIU saw the largest opening enrollment in U.S. history when it served 5,667 students in its inaugural year in 1972. Today, nearly 54,000 students attend FIU annually.
FIU's fully online bachelor of arts in English writing and rhetoric track requires 120 credits for completion at a cost of under $350 per credit for out-of-state students. Admission requirements include official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores for spring, fall, and summer term applications.
UCF was founded in 1963 and currently serves almost 72,000 students annually. Current higher education offerings include more than 230 degree programs across 13 colleges.
The College of Arts and Humanities offers a completely online bachelor of English and literature degree. The program requires 120 credits for completion at a low in-state tuition of under $180 per credit. Admission requirements include a completed Self-Provided Academic Record for Knights (SPARK) form, high school transcript or GED, and SAT or ACT scores. An application essay is strongly encouraged.
SNHU achieved the authority to grant degrees in 1963 following a state-provided charter. In 1968, the board of trustees approved a shift to a nonprofit institution.
The completely online bachelor of arts in English language and literature degree requires 120 credits for completion at a cost of $320 per credit. Students can transfer up to 90 credits into the program and do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission. Students face a wide range of career opportunities following program completion, including advertising, marketing, human resources, and management.
Founded in 1948, Nicholls State University currently serves around 6,500 students annually. The higher education institution offers 107 bachelor's and master's degree programs.
Nicholls' completely online bachelor of arts in English degree requires 120 credits for completion at a cost of under $280 per credit for full-time students. Admission requirements include completion of the Regents' Core Four Curriculum and a minimum 21 ACT score, 1060 SAT score, or 2.35 GPA. Additional requirements exist for out-of-state students.
Founded in 1969 as Clayton Junior College, Clayton State University now offers almost 50 degree programs across four colleges. Over 7,000 students attend CSU annually.
The completely online bachelor of arts in English degree requires 120 credits for completion at a cost of under $170 per credit. Admission requirements include specific high school courses and a freshman index of at least 1940 (calculated using a combination of GPA and national test scores). Students must achieve a C or higher in all English classes for program completion.
Founded in 1846 as an all-girls Catholic institution, Indiana's oldest Catholic college expanded to an all-inclusive institution in 2015. Today, the school offers more than 25 majors both on campus and online.
The Woods Online provides a bachelor of arts in English degree, which requires 43 credits for completion (in addition to SMWC core curriculum) at a cost of under $500 per credit. Admission requires only high school transcripts or GED, although SMWC highly encourages students to submit national test scores, as well. Extracurricular activities in high school carry additional weight.
Nearly 30 years prior to Arizona achieving statehood, Arizona State University opened its doors in 1886 as the Territorial Normal School, the first institution of higher learning in the state of Arizona. The school advanced to university status in 1958.
The online bachelor of arts in English degree through ASU encompasses 120 credits. Tuition rates run on a sliding scale based on the number of credits. Admission requirements include a high school diploma, minimum course requirements, and one of the following: graduate in the top 25% of the class, achieve a 3.0 GPA in competency courses, or have a minimum score of 22 on the ACT or 1120 on the SAT.
Founded in 1872, Maryville University currently serves almost 11,000 students annually. The private institution offers over 90 degree programs, more than 30 of which are available online.
Maryville's online bachelor in English degree encompasses 128 credits at a cost of $500 per credit. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED, a minimum GPA of 2.5, and high school transcripts. The school does not require standardized testing, and students may transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions.
Founded in 1955, Chaminade remains the sole Catholic university in Hawaii. Today, the institution offers more than 50 majors and minor programs to its almost 1,100 students.
The School of Humanities, Arts, and Design offers a completely online bachelor of arts in English degree. The program consists of concentrations in writing, literature and criticism, and teaching, encompassing 120 credits at a base cost of under $560 per credit (online courses are assessed a technology fee of $93 per course). Prospective students must submit official transcripts and an application.
Founded in 1959, LSUA has grown to support more than 50 degree programs and concentrations. Over 3,100 students attend annually, and the school has awarded nearly 5,000 degrees date.
The completely online bachelor of arts in English program requires 120 credits for completion at a cost of under $300 per credit. Admission requirements include an online application and official transcripts. Recommended high school courses include four units of English, math, natural science, and social science, two units of foreign language, and one unit of fine art.
Founded in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention, CBU currently serves over 11,300 students and offers more than 80 majors and 50 minors. The university now boasts a 100% Christian faculty and staff in support of its mission to unite spiritual and academic development for its students.
CBU's completely online bachelor of arts in English degree requires 49 core curriculum units at a cost of about $610 per unit. Degree completion typically occurs within 16 months. Admission requirements include a 2.0 minimum GPA, official transcripts, and a high school diploma or equivalent. For transfer students, CBU prefers a minimum of 24 transferable units.
Established in 1969 as Sangamon State University, the campus became part of the University of Illinois in 1995. Today, UIS serves over 4,200 students annually in 30 bachelor's and 20 master's programs, along with one doctoral program.
UIS' online bachelor of arts in English program requires 68-71 credits for completion at a cost of about $360 per credit for non-Illinois residents. Admission requirements include an application letter; cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher; completion of two English composition classes, two literature courses, and one writing or rhetoric grammar course with a C or higher; and at least 30 completed hours at a lower division.
Founded in 1978, Regent consists of seven schools and two colleges. The university now awards over 2,200 degrees annually.
The completely online bachelor of arts in English degree requires 120 or more credits at a cost of $395 per credit for full-time students. Admission requirements include transcripts and a personal statement. Although not required, Regent encourages students to submit SAT or ACT scores. Career opportunities for English majors include corporate communications, journalism and public relations, ministry, and teaching.
Founded in 1929 as a teacher's college, EOU currently serves almost 3,000 students annually. The institution offers over 22 programs completely online.
EOU provides two paths for online bachelor's degrees in English: bachelor of science in English and writing and bachelor of arts in English and writing. Degrees require 180 credits for completion at a cost of under $270 per credit. Admission requirements include GED scores or high school diploma, official transcripts for all institutions attended, and a 2.75 high school GPA or 2.25 collegiate GPA.
Founded in 1867 as King College, this Presbyterian-affiliated Christian university offers more than 40 distinct programs and majors, 15 of which are fully online. Six colleges currently operate under King University, which offers unique study abroad opportunities around the world.
King offers the bachelor of arts in English program both in person and fully online. The online program consists of a required 48 major credits, 38 elective credits, and 38 general education credits at a cost of about $300 per credit. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED with a minimum of 16 specified academic units, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a self-assessment form.
Founded in 1894 as the Lowell Normal School, the university became part of the University of Massachusetts system in 1991. UMass Lowell offers more than 120 undergraduate programs, 40 master's programs, and 30 doctoral programs.
The entirely online bachelor of arts in English degree offered by UMass Lowell requires 120 credits for completion at a cost of $380 per credit. Admission requirements include unopened, official transcripts delivered directly to UMass Lowell and application forms. Students with fewer than 12 credits from a college or university may also have to submit SAT or ACT scores.
Founded in 1912, UofM currently serves more than 21,000 students annually. The major research institution offers more than 300 areas of study across 13 colleges and schools.
The online-specific University of Memphis Global offers a bachelor of arts in English degree, which requires 120 credits for completion at a cost of about $410 per credit. An additional online assessment fee of $50 per credit for online courses also applies. Admission requirements include official transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and an application packet.
Founded in 1947 as the College of Special and Continuation Studies, UMGC became the first university to send faculty overseas to educate active-duty military personnel in Europe. Today, the institution offers more than 30 undergraduate studies programs.
The completely online bachelor of arts in English degree requires 120 credits for completion and accepts up to 90 transfer credits. Cost for out-of-state students comes in below $500 per credit. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED and official transcripts. Students unable to maintain a 2.0 GPA or currently in high school can apply under provisional status for a maximum of seven credits per term.
Offering online classes for more than 20 years, NU provides over 75 programs with flexible four-week schedules designed to fit into busy lives. Since its founding in 1971, NU has served over 175,000 alumni worldwide.
The completely online bachelor of arts in English program requires 180 quarter units for completion at a cost of $370 per quarter unit. Admission requirements include an ACCUPLACER examination, a high school diploma with a minimum 2.0 GPA, and official transcripts. Applicants with a GPA below 2.0 may be admitted under provisional status.
Founded in 1950, Mercy College now encompasses five total colleges and offers more than 100 degree programs. More than 9,500 students attend Mercy annually.
The 120-credit, fully online bachelor of arts in English program through Mercy typically requires four years for completion at a cost of under $840 per credit. Of note, baccalaureate degrees through Mercy require 18 credits of in-person residency. Admission requirements include official high school transcripts and official standardized test scores (Mercy College has a test-optional policy, but will consider all standardized test scores submitted).
Online Bachelor's in English Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, awards, rankings, and reputation.
The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:
The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- “Freshness” of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
- Pedagogy style: asynchronous, synchronous, or both (depending on the degree)
- Extent and quality of the online, community learning environment, including options for communication, interactivity, and collaboration between students and also between students and instructors
- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
Because students tend to review a variety of information when choosing a school, the weight a student gives any one criterion will vary. For instance, it’s not enough to offer a carefully constructed ranking of great schools if many are too expensive or too difficult to get into.
To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
- Public or private status
- Acceptance rate
- Retention rate
- Graduation rate
- ACT/SAT requirements
- Cost in-state / out of state
- Undergrad, grad, or both offered
Get the best rankings here AND get them to suit your personal needs. That’s TheBestSchools.org advantage!
If you have any questions about our ranking methodology, please contact us.
Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
Choosing an Online Bachelor's in English Program
An online bachelor's degree in English may include concentrations in areas like literature, communications, and technical writing. Some programs may focus on the technical aspects of the English language, preparing graduates to work as editors or technical writers, while others may emphasize creative writing, training students to work as authors or screenwriters. Most English programs require significant reading, writing, and discussion to encourage critical thinking.
What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor's in English Program?
The curricula for bachelor's in English degrees varies by program, but most programs focus on building a foundation in English and American literature through interdisciplinary studies. Students may explore written composition, different types of literature, and literary criticism. The following list outlines common courses found in online English programs.
This course examines how to properly use the English language in written communication, covering conventions like grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Coursework trains students to write fluently, accurately, and effectively in English.
Linguistics courses explore the structure and meaning of language, studying how language is used by native speakers through phonetics, semantics, and syntax. These courses teach students to understand and describe how people use language to communicate.
Often split into various periods throughout history, such as pre- and post-19th-century, the typical BA in English includes a broad survey of English literature, emphasizing quintessential authors like Shakespeare. Most BAs also cover American literature from influential historical periods.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in English Degrees
When researching prospective schools, students should always look for a school's accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to faculty qualifications, student learning outcomes, and academic rigor. Schools may hold regional or national accreditation. National accreditation typically applies to for-profit vocational and technical schools, while regional accreditation applies to nonprofit, degree-granting institutions. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two.
Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For instance, only students at accredited institutions qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only recognize degrees and credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many employers require or prefer candidates to hold an accredited degree. Students can verify a school's accreditation status through the Department of Education's database.
Online Bachelor's in English Careers
Graduates with a bachelor's in English can work in a variety of industries, such as communications, publishing, and journalism. They can also work as educators, interpreters, and translators. The following list outlines several common careers and potential salaries for graduates.
High school teachers educate students in secondary schools. All states require public high school teachers to hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in one or more content areas, and to earn state licensure or certification. Private schools often don't require teachers to hold the same state-issued credentials.
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College professors teach students in postsecondary schools. They may also conduct their own research and publish it in scholarly journals. Most four-year universities require professors to hold a doctoral degree, though many community colleges only require a master's degree. Postsecondary teachers are among the top earners in the field of education.
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A bachelor's degree in English is common among writers and authors, though it is not a requirement for most positions. Many writers and authors specialize in a particular genre -- like science fiction -- or a type of writing, such as screenwriting. Aspiring writers can gain valuable experience through an internship or mentorship, traditionally offered through organizations like newspapers, magazines, and publishing companies.
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Many editors hold a bachelor's degree in English or a related field. They typically work in a particular industry, such as publishing, advertising, broadcast journalism, or internet publishing. Many editors get their start working for high school or college newspapers or radio stations as intern-reporters or editorial assistants.
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English Professional Organizations
Students and professionals alike can benefit from joining professional organizations. Many organizations offer professional development, networking, and continuing education opportunities. They may also offer discounts on professional events and services and financial aid options. We cover several organizations for English students and professionals below.
Tailored to students, teachers, and scholars who specialize in the study of English rhetoric, the Rhetoric Society of America hosts a biennial conference and circulates a quarterly publication for members. It also recognizes exceptional rhetoricians with a yearly book and dissertation award.
ACA serves communications scholars and practitioners, emphasizing communication technology. Members can access an online listserv as well as networking and professional development opportunities. The organization does not require a membership fee.
NCTE is the nation's oldest organization for literacy educators. Members have access to online and print databases, professional development opportunities, and conferences.
The nation's only labor union for writers, the National Writers Union represents freelance writers in all mediums, formats, and genres. Members have access to press passes, career development services, and assistance with health insurance and contracts.
ACES is an international organization for editors working in all facets of print and digital media. Members can access the ACES freelancer directory, the ACES quarterly journal, and discounts on both webinars and the ACES national conference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Graduates with an English degree can work as writers, authors, editors, interpreters and translators, and public relations or communications professionals. They can also work as social media specialists, copywriters, or technical writers.
Graduates can pursue most entry-level writing and editing positions. They can also further their education with a graduate degree, expanding career opportunities.
The typical bachelor's degree in English takes four years of full-time study to complete; however, many online English degrees offer accelerated schedules, which may allow students to graduate in 2-3 years.
Schools may offer a BA or a BS in English. The BS emphasizes technical coursework, while the BA incorporates more liberal arts requirements.
English degrees may also be called English lit, literature, or creative writing degrees.
While salaries vary by location, job, and experience, technical writers earn some of the highest average wages among graduates with a bachelor's degree in English. In 2018, they earned a median salary of $71,850.
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