A Bachelor’s Degree in English will help you sink your teeth into the intricacies of Shakespeare and beyond. From eighteenth-century great British literature to ground-breaking twentieth-century American literary stars, an online English degree will make sure you are a literature expert. Learn to develop top-notch analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills while developing your writing skills.
There’s a long-standing joke that you can’t do anything with a degree in English, but that’s just not true. English degrees are so versatile that degree-holders can go on to work in a wide variety of fields. There is way more to majoring in English than a career in teaching or publishing.
You might go into journalism, communications, marketing, or anything else that requires strong critical thinking skills. It is also an excellent choice for students who want to pursue creative career paths in fiction writing, poetry, and film or television writing.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in English Program Overview
An online Bachelor’s Degree in English is not much different from an in-person Bachelor’s Degree in English. Most programs are 120-credit hours, which students usually complete in four years of full-time study. Students may also take more or less time working on the program, depending on their other responsibilities and time commitments.
Most online programs involve a mix of synchronous classes (a live-streamed class that takes place at a specific time) and asynchronous classes (pre-recorded class lectures that students can tune into on their own time). These mixed-format programs allow students to get the best of both worlds: the flexibility of asynchronous online classes and the engaging quality of synchronous classroom discussions.
If you are worried about online learning, remember that an online English degree still requires a huge chunk of off-screen work. The reading-intensive programs require students to spend many hours per week wedged in the pages of a book. Then, students can engage in virtual discussions with their classmates about their readings and how they interpreted them.
Why Major in English Online?
You might be asking yourself why you should consider studying English. It might be a subject that you enjoyed in high school, but is it worth investing in? Luckily, online degrees make getting a Bachelor’s Degree in English so much more accessible for all students.
The cost of online programs is often significantly lower than that of traditional classroom programs. This versatile degree also opens up a wealth of career possibilities for English majors that go well beyond the subject of English itself. Plus, you don’t have to get into a prestigious liberal arts college to major in English–you can major in English online and learn the same valuable literary skills.
Online Bachelor’s Degree in English Coursework
English degree programs include a rich and diverse set of courses to prepare students to read, write, and analyze texts like professionals. Programs vary, but most enable students to tailor their coursework to their interests, including literary criticism, poetry, linguistics, and rhetoric.
English degrees require students who have a big appetite for books, considering that coursework requires extensive reading. Students will study many different literary genres, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and more. They will also take more technical courses that focus on writing composition, exposition, and literary criticism.
Here is a sampling of English coursework you might see in an online Bachelor’s Degree in English:
- Creative Writing
- English Composition
- Business English
- Reading to Write
- British Literature
- Twentieth-Century American Literature
- Theory of Rhetoric
- Aesthetic Literature
- Literary Criticism and Theory
A Bachelor’s Degree in English also requires students to take liberal arts courses. These courses are general education requirements in core subject areas like social science, natural science, math, and humanities.
English is a highly interdisciplinary subject, so these liberal arts courses are relevant. Students can choose general education courses that fit well with their interest in English. For example, if a student is interested in British literature, they might fulfill their social science credit by taking a British or European history course.
Things to Consider Before Applying to an Online Bachelor’s Degree in English Program
There is a lot to consider when applying to any degree program. When thinking about a Bachelor’s Degree in English, you should do your school and program research. Ultimately, you want to choose a program that works well for you in all areas: cost, flexibility, and subject areas. You also want to be clear on each program’s admissions requirements.
You wouldn’t want to enroll in the most affordable program if they don’t offer the literature courses that you’re the most interested in. The same goes for choosing a program that offers everything that you’re interested in but that is beyond your financial means. Let’s go over some of these major considerations.
Some online bachelor’s degree programs in English only require you to have a high school diploma or GED. Other programs are intended for students who already have an associate degree from another institution.
An associate degree, which is typically a two-year program that requires 60 credits, often works as a stepping stone to bachelor’s degrees. Students without an associate degree but who have completed coursework elsewhere can often still put their transfer credits toward completing their Bachelor’s Degree in English online.
Though every school and program is slightly different, they all require at least high school credentials and an application. Some will require SAT or ACT standardized test scores and letters of recommendation.
Accreditation and Financial Aid
Without accreditation, schools or employers won’t recognize or validate your program. This means that an unaccredited program is essentially worthless. For this reason, researching accreditation before committing to any educational degree is very important. Remember that schools and programs may have regional accreditation, national accreditation, or both.
Tuition rates for bachelor’s degrees online vary but are definitely on the lower side of the spectrum, especially when compared to traditional programs. Find out each program’s cost per course or per credit hour to calculate how much your program will ultimately cost. Also remember that you can apply for financial aid through the federal application program, FAFSA, and/or through the school itself. The school may have additional grants and scholarships available to help students finance their education.
What Are the Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in English?
There are many programs to choose from when it comes to online bachelor’s degrees in English. Check out our list of some top accredited online programs.
Arizona State University has one of the largest and strongest online bachelor’s degree programs in the country. Because they offer many bachelor’s degrees online, they have online course delivery down to a science.
The program is flexible and intended to give students space to focus on an area of specific interest. Students with associate degrees or with previous college credit are encouraged to apply. Anyone with less than 12 transferable credits should apply for the program as a freshman applicant.
As one of Florida’s largest state universities, UCF also has a large catalog of strong online course offerings. The Orlando-based university’s online Bachelor of Arts in English is a 120-credit program that requires students to start with transferable credits from another institution. All students must choose one of three areas of emphasis: creative writing, literature, and technical communications.
This top southern university offers over 60 different online degree programs, including a Bachelor of Arts in English. All students are required to take courses in English grammar, linguistics, and literature. Students can choose an optional concentration in either African American Literature or Professional Writing. Students who do well in the program and have at least a 3.25 GPA by their senior year can apply to an accelerated BA/MA program to graduate with both a BA and an MA in English in five years.
This online Bachelor of Arts in English is a 120-credit degree. Students must start as transfer students with at least 30 transferable credits from another institution. Students focus on three major areas: literature, communication and media, and creative writing. A required capstone project during the final year allows students to apply what they have learned to a project that focuses on their professional interests.
This online program from one of Massachusetts state institutions is a 120-credit Bachelor of Arts in English. It focuses on British Literature, American Literature, and Creative Writing. All seniors are required to finish the program with an intensive seminar that focuses on the art of teaching writing.
Career Prospects: What Can I do With a Degree in English?
As mentioned, you don’t have to become an English professor after you earn a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Though if that is something you are interested in, the bachelor’s degree would put you right on track. Here are just a few of the career paths you could take with a Bachelor’s Degree in English.
Molding young minds through literature is an important job. As an English teacher, either at the middle school or high school level, you could do just that. All public schools require that teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree.
This degree could be in any subject, but teachers also need to have teaching licensure and a credential in their chosen subject area. Aspiring teachers with bachelor’s degrees in English have extra subject-area specific knowledge that might make them more attractive to schools.
Private schools have different licensure requirements than public schools, and may even let you start teaching before you complete your teaching licensure. You can apply your literary knowledge from an online Bachelor’s Degree in English toward teaching at a private school while you pursue a teaching degree or licensure online.
A Bachelor’s Degree in English can help you pursue the additional education you need if you want to ultimately become an English Professor and teach at the college level. Colleges and universities require the majority of their professors to have PhD degrees in their subject of expertise. A Bachelor’s Degree in English is a stepping stone to additional studies in English.
Communications Professional: Journalist, Editor, or Public Relations Specialist
Communications is an expansive field that requires professionals to have strong writing skills. Journalists and editors are investigators and interviewers but first and foremost, they are excellent writers. Many journalists and editors of educational backgrounds in academic subjects like English. A Bachelor’s Degree in English online can help you develop the strong writing and critical thinking skills you need to excel in any of these communication fields.
Many students of English literature are interested in making some of that literature themselves. This is why a Bachelor’s Degree in English is extremely common among published authors and writers.
As a student of English, you learn from the masters and file away literary techniques to try out yourself. English degrees also often include creative writing courses. If you are interested in becoming a writer, you could get your Bachelor’s Degree in English and then consider pursuing your Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Fiction, or Poetry.
English is a language but it is also a rich and diverse academic field. Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in English online can open up many different career paths. It is a great option if you know that you love reading and writing and are still exploring how you can translate these passions into a career.