2019 Best Master's in English Online Programs

English-Top Online Colleges-2019-Badge

Ranked according to affordability and median reported alumni salaries, these 17 schools represent the best online master’s in English degrees. Alumni of the top six schools reported earning a median mid-career salary above $100,000, and seven schools have tuitions under $10,000. Texas Tech University, ranked #1, offers six options for an M.A. in English with a median graduate salary of $113,771. Minnesota State University at Mankato, ranked #4, offers a master’s program that costs just $6,993 per year, and graduates reported earning a median mid-career salary of $103,200.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 Texas Tech University $12,168 $113,771
#2 #2 The University of Texas at Tyler $13,374 $106,200
#3 #3 Arizona State University $8,880 $104,728
#4 #4 Minnesota State University at Mankato $6,993 $103,200
#5 #5 Louisiana Tech University $11,260 $102,600
#6 #6 Murray State University $9,660 $101,700
#7 #7 University of Central Florida $9,572 $94,282
#8 #8 Mercy College $13,080 $89,000
#9 #9 East Carolina University $14,914 $81,907
#10 #10 National University $9,890 $79,863
#11 #11 Gardner Webb University $6,825 $74,000
#12 #12 Southern New Hampshire University Online $15,048 $70,212
#13 #13 University of Wyoming $11,700 $60,700
#14 #14 Wayland Baptist University $8,835 $58,700
#15 #15 Bowling Green State University-Main Campus $14,428 $58,300
#16 #16 Tiffin University $10,000 $52,700
#17 #17 Emporia State University $16,274 $50,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $12,168
  • Median Salary: $113,771
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Texas Tech University offers an online Master of English, and a Master of Technical Communication (MATC). The 36 credit programs includes a thesis, however, students may opt for two additional classes in lieu of a thesis. A bachelor's degree, a minimum of a 3.75 GPA in their undergraduate English courses, and a reading knowledge of one foreign language is required for admission. There are 9 areas of specialization, including Film and Media Studies, Literature, Creative Writing, and Book History. Online tuition is priced at $261 per credit. TCU offers 24/7 chat and online support, is military friendly, and offers top-ranked accessibility for students with disabilities. TCU is located in Lubbock, Texas.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,374
  • Median Salary: $106,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The online Master of Arts in English program at the University of Texas at Tyler is a 36 credit program that can be completed in two years. Admission requires a bachelor's, GRE and a 3.25 GPA in upper division courses. Both a thesis track and a non-thesis track are available. The degree is aimed at both preparation for a Ph.D. and for employment, such as teaching at a community college. Both writing and interpretive skills are stressed, with courses including Studies in Creative Writing, Studies in World Literature and History, Theory and Practice of Writing Centers. Program completion requires demonstrated reading knowledge of a foreign language at an intermediate level. Non-resident online tuition is $5,237 for 6 credits. Tyler, Texas is east of Dallas.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $8,880
  • Median Salary: $104,728
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Arizona State University offers a highly regarded Master of Arts in English. Admission requires a bachelor's with a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate coursework. The program requires 30 credits, and either a capstone project or thesis with defense. The Capstone project has a number of options, including curriculum design, or a portfolio. There are five tracks within the program, including English Studies, Literature, Film and Media Studies, Cultural Studies, and Writing, Rhetorics and Literacies. Among the courses offered are Film Authorship, Humor Writing, and Magical realism as a Global Genre. Program completion requires reading knowledge of Italian, German, Spanish or French. Online tuition is priced at $592 per credit.

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  • Annual Tuition: $6,993
  • Median Salary: $103,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Minnesota State University at Mankato offers two online master's degrees in English: the MA in English with an emphasis in Literature and English Studies, and the MA in English with an emphasis in Technical Communication. The English emphasis focuses on British, American and world literature. It requires a bachelor's degree, and 30 credits in English, as well as a capstone project with several options, including a teaching portfolio. The Technical emphasis focuses on contemporary technologies and writing, requires a bachelor's degree and 18 credits in English or communications, as well as a thesis, or an alternative capstone project. Both tracks require a 2.75 GPA, and 34 credits. Online students pay resident tuition, priced at  $411.40 per credit.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,260
  • Median Salary: $102,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Louisiana Tech University offers a Master of Literature and English Studies. Admission requires a bachelor's degree, 24 credits in English, and in lieu of the GRE, students may submit a writing portfolio. The 33 credit program has a thesis and non-thesis option; with the thesis option being traditional, and requiring an oral defense. The non-thesis option requires oral and written exams based on a reading list. The program emphasizes British and American literature, preparing students for both entry into a Ph.D. program and for teaching. There is also a Certificate program in Technical Writing and Communication. Graduate online tuition is $714 per credit. The school is located in Ruston, in northern Louisiana.

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  • Annual Tuition: $9,660
  • Median Salary: $101,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Murray State University offers an online Master of Arts in English. This 30 credit program has 15 core credits and 15 elective credits that allow a student to choose any of five concentrations. The concentrations include English Education, English with Modern Languages as a Cognate Discipline, Literature, Writing Studies and English with Philosophy as a Cognate Discipline. A comprehensive oral and written exam on a reading list is required. Admission requires a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. The program offers related graduate certificates in English as a Second Language, and in Gender Studies. A low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is also offered. Tuition is priced at $644 per credit. MSU is located in Murray, Kentucky, not far from Nashville, TN, and the university is military friendly.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,572
  • Median Salary: $94,282
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The University of Central Florida offers an online Master of Arts in English, Technical Communication. Admission requires a bachelor's degree, and GRE scores. The 33 credit program has 15 hours of core courses, as well as a comprehensive exam and thesis. The thesis may be replaced by an additional course. The program emphasizes versatility, and includes technical writing, visual design and stylistics. Courses include Proposal Writing, Project Management, Hypertext Theory and Design and Technical Editing. Online tuition is priced at $288.16 per credit, plus fees. UCF supports online students with a variety of resources, including career services, advising, peer-assisted learning, and virtual appointments with staff. The school is located in Orlando, FL.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $13,080
  • Median Salary: $89,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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The Master of Arts in English Literature at Mercy College is one of the pioneer online programs, focussing on British and American literature. Admission requires a bachelor's and appropriate test scores. The 30 credit program includes a thesis paper, a comprehensive exam, and can be completed in a year and a half. Among the course offerings are Transformations of the Epic, Classics of African American Literature and Humanism in Renaissance Texts. MC's services for online students include academic advising, an online learning center and career services.Tuition is $872 per credit. Mercy College was founded in 1950 by the Sisters of Mercy, but is a nonsectarian college. The college is located in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $14,914
  • Median Salary: $81,907
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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East Carolina University offers two online Master of Arts in English: Multicultural and Transnational Literatures (MTL), and Technical and Professional Education (TPC). Admission requires a bachelor's degree and either GRE or MAT scores. Both are 33 credit programs, and require either a thesis or comprehensive assessment project, each requiring a defense.   The TPC program prepares students for careers in technical or communications fields. Most students in the MTL program opt for the thesis. MTL focuses on US ethnic and world literature with an interdisciplinary approach, and many students go on to Ph.D. programs. Online graduate non-resident tuition is $893.82 per credit. ECU is located in Greenville, North Carolina.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,890
  • Median Salary: $79,863
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC and WASC WSCUC
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National University offers an online Master of Arts in English, with three options: English, Rhetoric, and a unique specialization in Gothic Studies. The program is 45 quarter hours, and requires a capstone project. A bachelor's degree with a 2.75 GPA is required for admission. The program in Rhetoric is interdisciplinary, focusing on how literature and film produce meaning, while the Gothic Studies specialization examines the gothic novel, dark romanticism and horror film. NU uses a monthly course method so courses are short and accelerated. NU was founded in 2001 and is now a system of 28 campuses. The school defines itself as a nonprofit educational network serving the public. NU has impressive support services for online students, and accreditation for this program is through WASC College and University Commission.

  • Annual Tuition: $6,825
  • Median Salary: $74,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Gardner Webb University offers three options in its online Master of Arts in English program. They are English, Literature Studies and English Education and Writing Studies. The cohort based program includes 23 hours of coursework and 7 hours of thesis or capstone project. A bachelor's degree in English or related subject is preferred, with a 3.0 GPA, and GRE scores. Students interested in the English Education program must be currently teaching some aspect of English. Tuition is priced at $455 per credit. GWU is a private Christian, Baptist-related institution located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. The school is not currently admitting California students to fully online programs. The university is military friendly.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,048
  • Median Salary: $70,212
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NECHE
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Southern New Hampshire University offers six online Master of Arts in English programs as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. The MA degrees include MA in English, and several degrees in English and Creative Writing, including Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction and Screenwriting. The degree in English requires a capstone course, while other programs conclude in a thesis. SNHU has five ten week terms per year, allowing completion in as little as 15 months. The programs are 36 credits, and require a bachelor's degree with a 2.75 GPA for admission. All classes are asynchronous, and the school provides excellent support for online students, including academic and career advising, tutoring and technical support. Tuition is priced at $627 per credit, with a 25% military discount.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,700
  • Median Salary: $60,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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The Master of Arts in English at the University of Wyoming offers concentrations in Literature, or Rhetoric and Composition. This 30 credit program typically requires three years, a thesis, an oral exam on a reading list, as well as a one-week campus residency each summer. The Literature concentration is interdisciplinary and examines popular culture and film as well as traditional literature, while the Rhetoric and Composition concentration focuses on teaching. Resident graduate tuition for 9 credits hours is $2,349, and $7,020 for nonresidents. The program is currently not accepting new students.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $8,835
  • Median Salary: $58,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Wayland Baptist University offers an online Master of Arts in English. The 37 credit program has both a thesis and a non-thesis track, and in lieu of a thesis, students may choose additional courses. Both options require written comprehensive exams, as well as reading proficiency in a foreign language. Admission requires a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, and 12 credits in English classes. WBU has four 11-week terms per year, and online graduate tuition is priced at $465 per credit. WBU is affiliated with the Texas Baptist Convention, and defines itself as an online Christian university. It is extremely military friendly, and operates on 21 military installations. Overall, Wayland has almost 50 locations. Every student is assigned to a campus, but online students do not need to visit.

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  • Annual Tuition: $14,428
  • Median Salary: $58,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Bowling Green State University has an online Master of Arts in English, with three specializations, including English Teaching, Professional Writing and Rhetoric and an individualized track. The English Teaching option prepares students for teaching careers, while Professional Writing and Rhetoric focuses on writing careers in business and other settings. Admission requires a bachelor's degree with an overall 2.7 GPA and a 3.0 in the major. The program is 31 credits, including 15 required courses, a capstone, and a master's portfolio. A certificate in College Writing: Theory and Practice can be earned alongside the MA, with courses applying to both avenues. Tuition is priced at $434.50 per credit. BGSU is located in Bowling Green, Ohio.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,000
  • Median Salary: $52,700
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Tiffin University offers a Master of Humanities in English program. The program is 35 credit hours, with the average student graduating in under two years. There are three 15-week semesters per year. Students can work with various genres including novel, story, drama and poetry, and courses include Ethnic Voices, Documentary Film and Poetics of Western Drama. Admission requires a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA. Support for online students includes career workshops, peer tutoring and the Pfeiffer online library. Tuition is priced at $500 per credit hour, and accreditation is through the Higher Learning Commission. TU, founded in 1888, is located in Tiffin, Ohio.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $16,274
  • Median Salary: $50,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Emporia State University offers a Master of Arts in English. Admission requires a bachelor's degree with a 2.5 GPA. The program is 34 credits, including thesis and non-thesis options, where the non-thesis track requires an independent research project or paper. Students have three concentrations to choose from: Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric and Pedagogy. The Creative Writing emphasis requires a portfolio of original work. In-state tuition is priced at $259.91 per credit, while non-residents pay $389.87 per credit. Distance learners have access to an extensive range of support services, including academic support and technical assistance. ESU is located in Emporia, Kansas, near Kansas City.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

Online Master's in English Overview

Master's degrees in English allow students with bachelor's degrees in any subject to hone their skills within the English language. Admission requirements vary among online schools; for example, many schools -- though not all -- don't require an admissions test. Some schools may require applicants to provide writing samples or take a test to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. Most online master's degree programs in English involve 30 to 37 credit hours of coursework and can be completed in 1.5 to 2 years.

Students studying English at the graduate level are required to choose a focus, with English literature and creative writing being the two most commonly offered concentrations. Programs in the literature track often offer courses highlighting specific genres of writing (novels, poetry, essays), historical periods in literature, and authors who made significant contributions to English writing.

Students in creative writing programs may also be required to take background courses in literature. The majority of the classes they take, however, focus on linguistics, composition, and writing style. Workshops, in which students share written work and receive feedback, are an integral part of master's programs. No matter which concentration students pursuing a Master of Arts in English choose, they should expect to complete a final project. Depending on the school, this may be a thesis, an exam, or a final piece suitable for publication.

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