Best Online Bachelor's in English Programs of 2022 | BestColleges

Earning a bachelor's in English can lead to a variety of careers. Use this guide to find top-ranked online English programs.

Earning a bachelor's in English does not limit graduates to one career or field. In fact, this degree helps students develop valuable skills that employers in multiple industries value, including competencies related to written and oral communication, problem-solving, leadership, research, and analytical interpretation.

Prospective students can use this page to identify schools with top-ranked programs and gain a general understanding of what earning a bachelor's in English entails. Covered topics include common courses, admission requirements, career paths, and earning potential.

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Online Bachelor's in English Program Overview

A bachelor's in English program may allow students to tailor their interests to a specific subfield, like linguistics, rhetoric, or a literary genre. Programs also provide writing-intensive courses for aspiring authors.

The curriculum requires general education coursework in science, history, mathematics, and English. While programs vary by emphasis, common topics include British literature, American literature, poetry, nonfiction literature, and world literature. Other topics may include rhetoric and theory, contemporary literature, cultural commentary, and research.

Graduates who earn an online bachelor's in English may qualify for jobs related to writing, editing, research, and teaching. Additionally, students often go on to earn an advanced degree to gain a competitive advantage in the field.

Common Bachelor's in English Degree Courses

Introduction to Creative Writing

Students in this class develop their own short stories and spend time critiquing fellow classmates' work. This course often requires a culminating essay or a final portfolio, in which students rewrite their best pieces.

Literary Criticism and Theory

Students survey 20th- and 21st-century literary theory and criticism. Topics include post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, ethnicity and race studies, and cultural studies. Students also explore the ways criticism and theory help shape literature. Course objectives include understanding important texts and identifying practical value in literature.

Introduction to Poetry

A bachelor's in English program typically includes an introductory poetry course. Students analyze multiple forms of poetry through class discussions and group critiques. Course outcomes include demonstrating knowledge of pertinent literary terms, identifying connections between historical contexts and literature, and evaluating elements within poems.

Shakespeare

Students in this class examine Shakespeare's sonnets and major plays. Other topics may include the playwright's emphasis on language and use of social contexts.

History and Theories of Rhetoric

Students learn basic methods of rhetorical analysis and criticism. Topics include rhetorical roots in Western civilization, rhetoric in multiple cultural and disciplinary contexts, and forms of delivery. Learning outcomes include understanding common rhetorical theory methods, demonstrating critical thinking when evaluating arguments, and conducting research on topics related to rhetoric.

Online Bachelor's in English Admission Requirements

High School Diploma or GED Certificate

Students pursuing a bachelor's in English need a high school diploma or GED certificate to apply. Colleges and universities require these documents to verify that applicants have completed fundamental coursework required to pass entry-level college courses. Applicants with a low GPA may need to take non-credit courses or a placement test.

Official Transcripts

Transfer students and associate degree-holders seeking to enroll in a bachelor's in English degree completion program should submit official transcripts from accredited postsecondary schools. Students should note that schools may not accept all credits from other institutions. First-year students must submit their high school transcripts.

Minimum GPA

Colleges and universities often require a minimum GPA; this requirement helps schools ensure they attract candidates who can successfully complete college-level coursework. Students with insufficient GPAs may contact admissions offices to ask about conditional or probationary admission.

Letters of Recommendation

Schools often require up to three letters of recommendation. Colleges and universities rely on these letters to learn more about applicants from professionals who can speak to a student's work ethic, adaptability, and potential to succeed. High school students can ask guidance counselors and teachers for recommendations, while students with prior college experience may ask professors.

Statement of Purpose

Schools often require a statement of purpose. Students may choose to explain why they want to enroll, how they can contribute to the field, and/or what their professional future presumably holds. While this document provides information about students, it also helps schools assess an applicant's writing abilities.

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In addition to transferrable skills, a bachelor's in English program allows students to explore creative professional opportunities. For example, students can become writers for magazines, television stations, or advertising and publishing companies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that these professionals earn an annual median salary of $62,170.

Alternatively, students who enjoy working with adolescents can earn a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in education and become high school English teachers. High school teachers in the U.S. earn annual median salaries of over $60,000.

2022 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in English Programs

Online Bachelor's in English Career Paths

Earning a bachelor's degree in English can lead to entry-level opportunities in multiple fields. Graduates may pursue in-demand careers as journalists, grant writers, secondary English teachers, and technical writers. For example, BLS data project an 8% increase in job outlook for technical writers from 2018-2028. Employers for these roles usually require or prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree.

Educational requirements for these roles vary. For instance, journalists, grant writers, and technical writers may not need to pursue a graduate degree to find success; they can qualify for more advanced positions by gaining years of experience on the job. Contrastingly, K-12 schools may require secondary English teachers to acquire a master's degree within an allotted time frame.

Careers for English Majors

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with a bachelor's degree in English?

Many industries require employees who can assist organizations in effectively communicating messages. In the private sector, professionals who hold a degree in English can work in marketing departments. Additionally, nonprofit organizations need writers to acquire funding and schools need educators to teach English to adolescents.

Is a degree in English a BA or a BS?

Students can earn a bachelor of arts in English or a bachelor of science in English. While both routes include similar coursework, they possess different learning outcomes. A bachelor of arts offers broader exposure to the field. Contrastingly, a BS pathway may emphasize more professional writing courses. Students should consider their career goals when choosing between the two.

What kind of jobs can you get with an English degree?

Professionals who hold a bachelor's in English can follow many career paths. Students should consider what fields appeal to them and then identify in-demand roles. For instance, graduates often become copywriters, editors, grant writers, technical writers, journalists, authors, and teachers. Professionals may also go on to earn an advanced degree in fields such as law.

Do English majors make good money?

Earning potential varies in this field based on a worker's geographic location and experience. Students should consider the salary they wish to earn, the roles that appeal to them most, and where they plan to work. These factors can help students figure out an approximate annual salary.

Are English majors in demand?

Professionals who hold a bachelor's in English can find work in many areas. To determine the extent of this demand, students should make a list of jobs that appeal to them and then conduct research. For instance, the BLS projects 4% growth in the number of high school teacher positions between 2018 and 2028, while it projects 8% growth for technical writers over that same time period.

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