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Best Online Master’s Degrees in English Advanced Options with a Graduate Degree in English

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To earn advanced credentials that can allow for more opportunities professionally and creatively, a graduate degree in English is a compelling choice for many students. Journalism, marketing, digital publishing and teaching can become potential career paths, and a graduate degree makes it possible to attain success at higher levels in each field. Learn why graduate degree holders land more interviews and earn more during the course of their careers.

Best Online Master’s in English 2018-2019

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An online degree in English can help students take the first step towards entering a career that allows them to apply their passion for grammar, literature and other areas of focus within the field. An online learning program also gives students the opportunity to pursue their degree while maintaining other time commitments such as work or family matters. With so many schools offering online English programs, it can be hard to know which school is “best”. To help with this, we’ve ranked schools across the country based on factors such as cost, institutional financial aid, and graduation rates. Discover which schools made the cut below.

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Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 New England College Henniker, New Hampshire$13,56077%99%36%1Yes Yes Yes School website
2 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, Arizona$8,95682%78%54%4No Yes Yes School website
3 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa, Texas$4,31278%81%37%1No Yes Yes School website
4 Heritage University Toppenish, Washington$9,240100%-25%1Yes Yes Yes School website
5 Morehead State University Morehead, Kentucky$10,42267%86%49%1Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Bowling Green State University-Main Campus Bowling Green, Ohio$7,63269%76%56%1Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Ohio University-Main Campus Athens, Ohio$9,51082%75%69%1Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Texas Tech University Lubbock, Texas$5,40043%63%62%2No Yes Yes School website
9 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, Texas$4,89658%69%46%1Yes Yes Yes School website
10 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, Nebraska$5,41870%85%60%1No Yes Yes School website
11 Minnesota State University-Mankato Mankato, Minnesota$6,84921%62%53%1No Yes Yes School website
12 Tarleton State University Stephenville, Texas$3,67250%50%47%1Yes Yes Yes School website
13 Wayland Baptist University Plainview, Texas$10,62087%100%32%1Yes Yes Yes School website
14 National University La Jolla, California$11,2324%-50%2Yes Yes Yes School website
15 University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida$6,91643%50%73%1Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, Louisiana$5,73849%62%40%1Yes Yes Yes School website
17 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, New York$15,15683%78%32%1Yes Yes Yes School website
18 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, Louisiana$6,59375%63%57%1No Yes Yes School website
19 East Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina$4,65642%70%61%1No Yes Yes School website
20 University of Memphis Memphis, Tennessee$8,82044%57%46%1Yes Yes Yes School website
21 Miami University-Oxford Oxford, Ohio$12,89065%65%80%1Yes Yes Yes School website
22 Emporia State University Emporia, Kansas$5,92266%87%42%1No Yes Yes School website
23 University of New Orleans New Orleans, Louisiana$7,23425%60%38%1Yes Yes Yes School website
24 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, Louisiana$6,49062%76%41%1No Yes Yes School website
25 The University of West Florida Pensacola, Florida$7,08864%41%55%1No Yes Yes School website
26 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania$11,59238%69%68%1No Yes Yes School website
27 Murray State University Murray, Kentucky$10,96871%85%53%1Yes Yes Yes School website
28 East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania$11,59210%83%58%1No Yes Yes School website

Timeline of an Online Master’s in English

Getting in: The Application Process

As students prepare to apply to programs for an online master’s degree in English, they should make sure they’ve chosen programs that fit the needs of their schedule, budget, and career path. Competition is high for the best programs, meaning students should submit applications that highlight their achievements and set them apart as outstanding prospective additions to the program. Most programs require the following:

  • GRE scores.

    The Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test taken by many students bound for graduate school, and is often required. If your scores aren’t as high as you’d like them to be, you can retake the test and improve your scores. You should focus on scoring well on the verbal reasoning section, as English graduate programs likely place a heavier weight on it.

  • Transcripts (paper/electronic).

    Request official transcripts from all previously attended colleges to be sent either by mail or electronically to the schools of your choice.

  • Letters of recommendation.

    Carefully consider which professors, employers, or other professionals you’d like to ask for letters of recommendation. A recommendation from someone in the field of English, journalism or literature can tip the scales in your favor.

  • Financial support documents.

    Research your financing options. Programs for master’s degrees in English can vary widely in tuition cost, so it may be wise to meet with a financial adviser to discuss your options.

  • Essays.

    Because you’re entering a program that values the written word, it’s important that your essay be clear and engaging. Prioritize this portion of your application, and give yourself sufficient time to compose, edit and submit your essay by the school’s deadline. Some schools may also require additional samples of written work that are relevant to the emphasis of the student’s choice.

Year 1

During the first year of an online master’s program in English, students cover fundamentals such as American Literature, British Literature and Composition. In the latter part of the year, students start planning for their program emphasis—such as literature, linguistics or teaching—and may begin taking some concentration courses. Students should work closely with an academic adviser to ensure all classes are completed in the proper order and by graduation deadlines.

Year 2

The second year of the program shifts to an intense focus on the student’s chosen concentration, such as linguistics or creative writing. Students will complete the required courses and do a graduate project or thesis that is presented to a thesis committee or other panel of professionals. Now is also the time to apply for jobs, internships and student teaching positions. Although most online master’s in English programs last for two years, many students, particularly those who work, will find that completion takes slightly longer. Some schools offer accelerated programs that allow the student to graduate in as little as one year.

Testing & Graduation Requirements

Upon completion of coursework, students should be prepared to showcase the knowledge and skills they gained through the online master’s program. Most schools require at least one, and sometimes more, of the following in order to graduate:

  • Master’s Thesis.

    This research project in the student’s area of concentration will be presented at the end of the second year.

  • Comprehensive Examination.

    Students completing online master’s programs in English will have to take a comprehensive examination which demonstrates their analytical and interpretive skills. The examination may take the form of a written essay or an oral presentation given to a panel of professionals, and will be exhaustive of the student’s learning career in English.

  • Foreign Language Proficiency.

    Most English master’s degree programs require students to demonstrate proficiency in reading and writing at least one foreign language. In many programs, students will have to complete at least two years of college-level foreign language classes, and may be required to take an exam, pass the classes with a grade of “C” or higher, or otherwise prove proficiency to a graduate studies committee.

Master’s in English Career & Salary Paths

The online master’s English program opens doors in many sectors. By choosing a concentration during their master’s education, students can specialize their skills and knowledge and become priority prospects in their fields. Here are some of the most common concentrations in the English master’s program, as well as a few of the career paths graduates can take after achieving their degrees:

Concentrations

Literature

The study of literature is perhaps the most common—and the most broad—of all English concentrations. From American and British Literature to more narrowed studies of poetry, screenwriting and playwriting, or literature in other languages, students will develop reading, writing and critical thinking skills on a professional level. They will also learn discipline-specific research methods.

Career:
Postsecondary/High School Teacher
Postsecondary/High School Teacher

Plans lessons and teaches students principles of English through reading literature, engaging in creative writing, and studying linguistics.

Publisher
Publisher

Oversees the preparation of books, journals, and other published works as they move through the various stages, including conceptualization, editing, design, production, and sales.

Education Policymaker
Education Policymaker

Creates policies and programs for school districts or higher education institutions.

Editor
Editor

Plans and revises content published in magazines, newspapers, books and other publications, as well as on websites. Editors check copy for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and suggest improvements to improve readability and overall content.

Linguistics

Linguistics is the scientific study of the language and its structure, including topics like phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, discourse analysis, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics. By studying linguistics on a broad spectrum, programs prepare students for careers in teaching, publishing, public service, translating, and more.

Career:
Postsecondary/High School Teacher
Postsecondary/High School Teacher

Plans lessons and teaches students principles of English through reading literature, engaging in creative writing, and studying linguistics.

Publisher
Publisher

Oversees the preparation of books, journals, and other published works as they move through the various stages, including conceptualization, editing, design, production, and sales.

Technical Writer
Technical Writer

Prepares instruction manuals, journal articles, web content, and other documents to communicate technical information effectively. They also develop, gather and distribute technical content among customers, designers and manufacturers.

Speech Pathologist
Speech Pathologist

Assesses, diagnoses, treats and prevents speech-related disorders. These specialists help children and adults who have speech rhythm or fluency problems, or who cannot produce certain sounds.

Interpreter/Translator
Interpreter/Translator

Converts information from one language to another. Interpreters work in spoken or sign language; translators work with written documents.

English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor/Foreign Language Teacher
English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor/Foreign Language Teacher

Teaches languages to non-native speakers, covering both everyday and academic language skills. Work environments include public, private, and postsecondary institutions.

Editor
Editor

Plans and revises content published in magazines, newspapers, books and other publications, as well as on websites. Editors check copy for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and suggest improvements to improve readability and overall content.

Composition and Rhetoric

This concentration focuses heavily on rhetorical history, theory, criticism, and pedagogy, studying the stylistic and argumentative aspects of written works. Students will research and practice composition, theoretical and practical writing tools, and the integration of reading and writing.

Career:
Postsecondary/High School Teacher
Postsecondary/High School Teacher

Plans lessons and teaches students principles of English through reading literature, engaging in creative writing, and studying linguistics.

Publisher
Publisher

Oversees the preparation of books, journals, and other published works as they move through the various stages, including conceptualization, editing, design, production, and sales.

Technical Writer
Technical Writer

Prepares instruction manuals, journal articles, web content, and other documents to communicate technical information effectively. They also develop, gather and distribute technical content among customers, designers and manufacturers.

Editor
Editor

Plans and revises content published in magazines, newspapers, books and other publications, as well as on websites. Editors check copy for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and suggest improvements to improve readability and overall content.

Creative Writing

Coursework in this concentration allow students to explore different genres of writing from poetry to fiction to essays, and learn effective ways to compose and edit various pieces. Students also receive graduate-level training in literature and literary criticism.

Career:
Postsecondary/High School Teacher
Postsecondary/High School Teacher

Plans lessons and teaches students principles of English through reading literature, engaging in creative writing, and studying linguistics.

Publisher
Publisher

Oversees the preparation of books, journals, and other published works as they move through the various stages, including conceptualization, editing, design, production, and sales.

Editor
Editor

Plans and revises content published in magazines, newspapers, books and other publications, as well as on websites. Editors check copy for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and suggest improvements to improve readability and overall content.

Creative Writer
Creative Writer

Writes books, articles, marketing materials, and more. Creative writers can work in many different fields such as public relations, corporate communications and academia, either on staff or as freelancers.

Technical Writer
Technical Writer

Prepares instruction manuals, journal articles, web content, and other documents to communicate technical information effectively. They also develop, gather and distribute technical content among customers, designers and manufacturers.

Professional and Media Writing

In the professional and media writing concentration, students learn the more technical and professional methods for writing. Some programs offer courses that teach students field-specific skills and methods in areas such as research writing, copywriting, speechwriting, legal and business writing, and more.

Career:
Creative Writer
Creative Writer

Writes books, articles, marketing materials, and more. Creative writers can work in many different fields such as public relations, corporate communications and academia, either on staff or as freelancers.

Publisher
Publisher

Oversees the preparation of books, journals, and other published works as they move through the various stages, including conceptualization, editing, design, production, and sales.

Technical Writer
Technical Writer

Prepares instruction manuals, journal articles, web content, and other documents to communicate technical information effectively. They also develop, gather and distribute technical content among customers, designers and manufacturers.

Education Policymaker
Education Policymaker

Creates policies and programs for school districts or higher education institutions.

Instructional Coordinator
Instructional Coordinator

Develops educational programs and materials for schools, companies and organizations. They work directly with teachers, principals and clients to help implement and assess the curriculum.

Editor
Editor

Plans and revises content published in magazines, newspapers, books and other publications, as well as on websites. Editors check copy for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and suggest improvements to improve readability and overall content.

Potential Salary Increases with a Master’s Degree

Students often pursue a graduate degree in English because the credential opens up more career opportunities, such as the chance to teach at the postsecondary level (see the figures below). Statistics also show that those who hold a master’s command somewhat higher salaries compared to graduates with a bachelor’s degree, with an advanced degree translating into some $6,000 more per year. According to PayScale

Growth potential 12%
Average salary $60,160

Additional Resources & Links

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

    Speech pathologists can find field-related conference and event dates, career opportunities and articles about the industry.

  • Association of American Publishers

    Members can browse this professional site for job openings, learn about the publishing industry, and find information on programs and events.

  • Association of Writers & Writing Programs

    Writers, teachers, students, editors and publishers can network, find job openings, enter contests, find conference and event dates, and read field news on this site.

  • National Council of Teachers of English

    As a professional organization of educators in English studies, literacy, and language arts, NCTE provides a forum for group networking, subscriptions to publications, and educational news regarding elementary, middle, secondary and college institutions.

  • Society for Technical Communication

    This professional association is dedicated to the advancement of technical communication. Members can search archives for published articles, connect with other members, search for jobs, and find event information.

  • Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc

    As one of the world’s largest organizations for teaching English to non-native speakers, TESOL offers books and journals related to the industry, as well as information about events and career development.

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