Pursue an Online English Degree

What is an Online English Degree?

An online English degree is a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) program. It often studies U.S., British and world literature in depth. There's also a strong focus on the English language, grammar and composition.

Some programs help educators learn the English language from the inside out. As such they’ll touch on lesson planning and teaching tactics. Others focus on clear writing, research and critical methods for skillful communication.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English with a Concentration in Creative Writing

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in English as a Second Language (TESOL)

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English

Programs offers a solid base in Christian principles, U.S., British and world literature. At the same time, it gets into writing skills for different uses. These span business, media, web, fiction and creative writing.

May ready teacher candidates to pursue an ESL endorsement in the state of Arizona, as well as their elementary teacher license. Courses focus on preparing students to teach English Language Learners in a K–8 classroom.

This program focuses on reading, writing and critical thinking. It exposes students to theory, linguistics, and composition, in addition to surveys of literature.

  • Screenwriting
  • Writing for Animation
  • Literature of the Western World
  • Literacy Skills and Phonetics
  • Linguistics
  • Child and Adolescent Development
  • Elements of Journalism
  • American Literature
  • Business and Professional Writing

Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Regionally accredited and approved by the Arizona State Board of Education, VA approved

Regionally accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

English Degree Online Programs

Most online English degree programs are 120 credits. Of these, over half may be general education courses. The others are set up around your major and electives. Take a look at 7 sample topics below.

  1. Intro to Literature
  2. American Literature
  3. Literary Theory
  4. Creative Writing
  5. Business and Professional Writing
  6. Meaning in Language
  7. Composition

To cap your studies, you may need to hand in a final project. Or put in some hours inside a classroom to practice teaching English - if that was your focus.

Many programs have book lists which may expose you to the basic elements of fiction, poetry, and drama. Common themes include the literary works of British and American authors.

Apart from reading English literature, you'll often study the art of perception. You'll usually look at literature within a context like gender, race, and religion. Then, apply these ideas to understand the author's style, message, and techniques.

While you learn to read with a critical eye, you'll likely also learn to write an effective narrative. Courses in this vein usually help you learn to persuade readers. This often means learning how to follow a line of thinking and edit your writing, so it is clear and concise.

If you're very interested in writing, your study plan may allow you some choice in this area. This may be to develop skills for science writing or learn how to tell a story. A class (or 2) in English composition may help you in this area.

It’s usually about how to analyze, develop and organize your thoughts. Or adapt your style to different audiences. At the end of your studies, you may be able to use library resources to support your ideas.

Writing classes may ask you to take part in workshops with instructors and peers. They often help you learn the ins and outs of giving and receiving feedback.

Other English courses may deal with the language itself. These classes may cover form and function. Some topics may cover the theories of how we form language skills. Others may touch on the uses of language in a specific context like law, politics or propaganda.

What Will I Study?

There are several kinds of online English programs to look for. The one you choose should reflect your goals.

  • Do you want to teach English to young children?
  • Are you hoping to teach at the university level?
  • Would you like to prepare to teach English as a Second Language (ESL)?
  • Are you an aspiring author, journalist or editor?

We’ll walk you through 3 classes common to English programs as well as popular types of English programs. This may be useful as you frame your interests and objectives.

English Composition - This class looks at the skills that go into planning, writing and editing an essay. Some of the topics look at sentence structure and grammar. Others touch on how to back up your ideas with clear statements and conclusions

Intro to the English Language – This class studies the structure and history of the English language. Some topics may get into linguistic and comparative grammar. Others may look at how we use language in society.

Creative Writing - This class may help you stretch your wings as an author. You’ll often study and practice writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. At the same time, you’ll often join workshops where you’ll learn how to critique creative works.

Bachelor of Arts in English - Writing- This type of program mixes literature with writing courses. It may help you focus your gift on a specific genre. Among them - professional, technical or creative writing. In any of these areas, you may learn to plan out various styles of communication. You’ll likely also study proper grammar, punctuation, and tone.

Bachelor of Arts in English for Secondary Education- Often for teacher candidates. Some classes discuss the finer points of planning lessons. Others may look at teaching methods for middle and secondary classrooms. There’s usually a practicum and the student teaching experience too. This mix may ready you to pursue initial teacher licensure.

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) - Secondary English (Online)- MAT courses may help you learn the theories, concepts, and skills to teach K-12 students. This program often melds classes with field-based teaching experiences. As such, it may ready you to seek a preliminary teaching credential.

How Long Does it Take to Earn an Online English Degree?

If you're a full-time student, pursuing an English degree online may take about 4 years. This is about the time it takes to complete a 120-credit bachelor’s degree.

Want to earn your English degree in less time? Find out whether your school accepts transfer credits. Many allow eligible students to transfer up to 90 credits which means you'll need less time.

Graduate programs may take about 1 to 2 years (Master's) and 4 to 6 years (Ph.D.).

English Degree Programs That Could be Completed in 4 Years or Less


# of Credits Required

Start Dates

Minimum Months to Complete

Regent University


March 18,2019 + others

4 years or less

Ashford University


45+ starts/year

4 years or less

Grand Canyon University



4 years or less

Average English Degree Cost

Reports show an average in-state cost for pursuing an English degree at a public institution is $6,991. The average out of state cost at a private institution is $32,540.

Since these are norms, you’ll find programs that are more expensive, and ones that may cost less. Also, if you are able to transfer credits into your program, you’ll have fewer to pay for.

The table below shows the cost per credit of several schools where you might pursue an English degree online.


# of Credits Required

Cost Per Credit

Total Tuition Cost

University of Massachusetts Online (UMass)

BA in English




Regent University

BA in English – History




Liberty University

BS Teaching English as a Second Language




Top English Degree Programs by State

Last check, the largest share of institutions that offer General English Language & Literature degrees are Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above institutions. From those schools, there were 61,715 degrees awarded to students. The majority (78.6%) of these programs were bachelor’s degrees.


2017 Grads total/degrees awarded

Tuition (Out of State)

Southern New Hampshire University



Chattahoochee Technical College



Florida State University



University of Minnesota – Twin Cities



University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh



George Mason University



Texas State University



University of California - Berkeley


$ 34,098

Columbia University, NY



The Importance of an Accredited English Degree Program

As you decide on where to earn an online degree in English, it may be to your benefit to look at accredited schools. Accreditation is one way of saying ‘quality control.’ It shows that a college or university meets standards.

Attending an accredited school means you’ll be able to apply for financial aid. You’ll also be able to apply to grad school. These universities will check where you earned any prior degree(s).

Most schools with English degree programs are regionally accredited. There are six regional agencies in the U.S. each covering a specific region. They are in turn, given the ability to accredit schools by an agency. Two to know are the:

  • DOE U.S. Department of Education
  • CHEA Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Once accredited, a school must maintain its status. To do so, it must submit every few years (E.g. 7 to 10) to a peer review. It is simple to verify the status of a school offering an online English degree program. All you do is check the list of accredited schools on agency websites.

Do you plan to pursue any extra credentials, like a teaching certificate? If so, you'll want to check that you enroll in a state-approved teacher education program.

What Jobs can you get with an English Degree?

The number of English graduates in the workforce is 1.45 Million and growing by 3.48%. Not surprising given the potential versatility of the degree.

The majority (225,850) work for Elementary and Secondary Schools. There are also high numbers of English grads in the following industries:

  • Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools including Junior Colleges (163, 627)
  • Legal Services (66,416)
  • Hospitals (42,449)
  • Insurance Carriers and Related Activities (39,107)

Most people in the workforce are 43.6 years old and have a Bachelor's degree. They're also more likely to be women.

Top Salaries by State for English Degree Holders

The visual below shows the states where salaries for Technical Writers are highest.



Annual Mean Wage







District of Columbia



New Jersey






Is an Online English Degree PROGRAM FOR YOU?

Do you have a passion for reading? Are you interested in learning how language shapes the world? Then an Online English Degree may be right for you! The skills you'll learn in an Online English Degree program could transfer well to graduate training and careers in journalism, broadcasting, and other humanities.  Moreover, these skills with language and analysis are highly desired as a complementary skill in business and many other professions. 


Your salary as an English professional is largely decided by your specific job title, your level of education, your experience and your skill. Consider the following careers, with statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2016

Writers and Authors (i)

Writers and authors develop written content for various types of media, including advertisements; books; magazines; movie, play, and television scripts; and blogs.

  • Median Salary: $61,820 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 8%  (As fast as average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's Degree

Public Relations Specialists (ii)

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They craft media releases and develop social media programs to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals.

  • Median Salary: $59,300 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 9%  (As fast as average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's Degree

Technical Writers (iii)

Technical writers, also called technical communicators, prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. They also develop, gather, and disseminate technical information through an organization’s communications channels.

  • Median Salary: $70,930 per year 
  • Job growth through 2026: 11%  (Faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level education: Bachelor's degree

(i) bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm | (ii) bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm | (iii) bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/technical-writers.htm