Most Affordable Online English Degrees 2021

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The complex, interdisciplinary discipline of English can include studies in rhetoric, literature, communications, and creative writing. To major in English, undergraduate students usually need a minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA, success in relevant coursework, and strong recommendation letters.

Online English degree curricula often vary according to enrollees’ career goals and chosen concentrations. Learners interested in writing careers often study composition and rhetoric, journalism, or creative writing. Aspiring English teachers usually use their bachelor’s degree to qualify for graduate school.

Earning an English degree online can support careers in communications, editing, marketing, or education. English programs cultivate advanced reading, analysis, and writing skills useful in many contexts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates a median annual salary of $61,370 for editors and $63,200 for writers. The BLS projects job decline for both of these professions between 2019-2029, but technical writers enjoy 7% job growth projections and $72,850 median annual salaries.

Why Get an English Degree?

Online English degrees offer many benefits, including advanced skills in reading, writing, and analysis. Enrollees can make useful professional connections in these programs. See below for descriptions of some key English degree advantages.

Communication Skills
Most English courses require enrollees to write papers, and most English professors offer expert-level writing feedback. Some English programs also feature courses or curriculum tracks cultivating professional communications career skills.
Preparation for Graduate School
English bachelor’s students develop and demonstrate strong analytical reading, writing, and speaking skills. An English degree offers great preparation for graduate school, particularly in humanities, social sciences, arts, and legal disciplines.
Analytical Skills
Many English programs focus heavily on literary analysis, teaching participants to read closely, think critically, and explore various theoretical lenses. These skills prove useful in careers with considerable reading or writing responsibilities.
Interdisciplinary Insights
Most literature offers powerful insights into human nature, cultures, and societies. By studying literature, English students also learn about history, philosophy, critical theory, and psychology.
Professional Connections
Many bachelor’s programs encourage enrollees to complete internships. These hands-on experiences build skills and support connections with potential employers and colleagues.

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

    Many English majors become writers or pursue additional schooling to become teachers. However, graduates with relevant internships or professional experience also obtain jobs in marketing, communications, or public relations.

  • What's the difference between an English degree and communications degree?

    Communications degrees usually provide better preparation for professional careers in media, public relations, sales, or politics. English degrees often suit aspiring teachers and writers.

  • Do English majors make good money?

    English majors average $68,030 annually, according to February 2021 PayScale salary data.

  • Is majoring in English worth it?

    An English degree often benefits students planning on law school or graduate school in humanities disciplines.

Most Affordable Online English Degrees 2021

  1. Florida International University

    Miami, FL



    Based in Miami, Florida, FIU offers an online bachelor of arts in English with a specialization in writing and rhetoric.

    Students of this program must complete 120 credits of coursework through fully online course delivery. This program covers creative writing, linguistics, approaches to literature, professional and technical writing, rhetorical theory and practice, advanced business writing, and writing and new media. Graduates of this program now work as business professionals, scholars, and teachers. FIU offers this degree for $228 per credit hour.

    All interested applicants must first complete the online application and pay the $30 application fee. FIU also requires prospective students to submit their official academic transcripts of records, along with their official SAT or ACT scores. Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  2. University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL



    A metropolitan research university located in Orlando, Florida, UCF offers an online bachelor of arts in English literature for students aiming to assume leadership and teaching roles in academic and professional settings.

    This degree program qualifies students to work as consultants, copywriters, editors, higher education administrators, journalists, lawyers, librarians, and writers. The university's bachelor of arts in English also offers specializations in technical communication and creative writing. UCF offers this program at a rate of $179 per credit hour.

    Transfer applicants must have completed 12 or more transferable college or university credits. All applicants should submit official transcripts from previously attended institutions with a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA. UCF also requires students to submit their SAT or ACT scores. The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  3. University of Illinois at Springfield

    Springfield, IL



    A public university based in Springfield, Illinois, UIS offers an online bachelor of arts in English under the university's Department of English and Modern Languages.

    UIS's English program gives students the opportunity to learn in-depth courses in critical reading, rhetoric and college writing, introduction to poetry and fiction, early British literature, creative writing, and research methods in English studies, linguistics, and world literature. Online students at UIS access all educational resources and materials that on-campus students enjoy.

    UIS requires applicants to submit a 200- to 300-word statement of purpose stating why they want to pursue English as a major. All applicants must also have internet access and the computer skills and systems needed to study online. The University of Illinois at Springfield is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  4. University of Maine at Presque Isle

    Presque Isle, ME



    A public university located in Presque Isle, Maine, UMPI offers an online bachelor of arts in English for students wanting to develop professional skills in writing and communication.

    Students of this online program must complete 120 credits, including 39 in English major courses. UMPI integrates a fully online format in all subjects, including courses in critical reading, creative writing, core composition, professional writing, literary analysis, and film analysis. Online students enjoy the same class sizes as on-campus students.

    All first-year and transfer applicants must complete the ApplyMaine application or Common App. Applicants must also provide official academic transcripts of records or a GED certificate and submit one letter of recommendation from either a teacher or school counselor. The University of Maine at Presque Isle is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

  5. Nicholls State University

    Thibodaux, LA



    An accredited regional university located in Thibodaux, Louisiana, Nicholls offers an online bachelor of arts in English to prepare students for jobs in administration, broadcasting, editing, publishing, public relations, teaching, and writing.

    Nicholls' online English program offers concentrations in creative writing, literary studies, film studies, and writing and rhetoric. Students of the online English program must finish 120 credits of coursework and complete a culminating capstone project to earn their degree.

    Nicholls requires all first-year applicants to have a minimum 21 ACT composite score, 1060 SAT composite score, or 2.35 GPA. Applicants must also show proof of completion of the Regents' Core 4 Curriculum. Nicholls State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

What Are the Goals of an English Degree?

Students interested in English can pursue bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or bachelor of liberal arts degrees in this discipline. Additional options include bachelor of fine arts or bachelor of education degrees with concentrations in English. Prospective students should pursue the degree type most suited to their career goals. Most English programs include core courses in composition, English language history, and literature survey courses.

Many bachelor’s programs offer curriculum concentration options aligned with particular career paths such as teaching, writing, business, or media. Common online English degree concentrations include American literature, British literature, and medieval and Renaissance studies. Many programs also offer specializations in women’s and gender studies, ethnic studies, film studies, and literary or critical theory.

What Are the Requirements for an English Degree?

Freshmen applicants to English degree online programs usually need a high school diploma or equivalent and a minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA. Some schools also look for above-average scores on verbal and writing standardized test sections. Transfer students and applicants to the major often need prerequisite coursework, strong recommendation letters, and writing samples.

To graduate with a bachelor’s in English degree online, enrollees typically complete around 120 credits. Curricula usually combine general education coursework, core English courses, and specialization-related electives. Core requirements often include a capstone thesis or internship.

What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

Career and Salary Outlook for English Majors

Affordable online English degrees can support many career endeavors in nonprofit, industry, and law or governmental sectors. Many English majors use their bachelor’s degree to prepare for teaching certification or to enter graduate school. However, as strong communicators, English degree graduates also possess relevant skills for careers in writing, editing, marketing, and public relations. See below for descriptions of two lucrative career paths for English majors.

These writers produce copy for technical documents, including guides, instruction manuals, and training manuals. Technical writers usually collaborate with various other staff to complete their projects. Technical writer jobs often require an English or communications-related bachelor’s degree or related experience.

Median Annual Salary: $72,850

Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): 7%

This career involves creating public communications such as social media programs, media releases, speeches, and interviews. Also known as communications or media specialists, public relations specialists inform the public about organizational decisions, services, and projects.

Median Annual Salary: $61,150

Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): 7%

Scholarships for English Majors

Even the most affordable online English degrees can leave students with out-of-pocket costs. To help offset these costs, various organizations, schools, and funders offer scholarships to college students who demonstrate academic merit or financial need. Many scholarships support learners in particular fields or from underrepresented identity groups. Students pursuing online English degrees may qualify for the following three scholarships.

National Speakers Association Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The NSA Foundation offers six scholarships supporting full-time undergraduate upperclassmen or graduate learners studying journalism, communications, English, or public speaking at accredited institutions. Recipients demonstrate interest in speech-related careers and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Amount: $5,000

Bodie McDowell Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This Outdoor Writers Association of America scholarship supports at least three enrollees in accredited photography, writing, broadcasting, or English programs. Recipients boast outdoor knowledge, outdoor communication career plans, and excellent academic performance.

Amount: $1,000-$5,000

William C. Johnson Distinguished Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society scholarship supports full-time English or literature master’s students attending accredited U.S. schools. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.5 GPA and demonstrate community service involvement. Recipients belong to the honor society and must have organized at least one chapter activity.

Amount: Up to $6,000

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