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Online Universities with a Masters in English: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online master's in English school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, delivery avenues, and common topics offered for the field of study.

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English master's degree programs are relatively easy to find online and students have a wide range of choices when considering which school is right for them. When choosing an English master's degree program to study online or in hybrid form, ensure that the format of the program fits your learning goals, taking into consideration any residency or other on-campus obligations.

How to Select an Online Master's in English School

Students considering online master's in English schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Like many other graduate degrees, it's possible to earn a master's degree in English online, as some universities now offer distance-learning options. Students interested in furthering their education for careers in teaching, writing or publishing, but who also want the flexibility of taking courses online, might benefit from an online or hybrid English master's program.

Career Goals

Applicants interested in writing or teaching English and literature courses at the high school or college level should consider a master's degree in English. A master's program in English as a Second Language (ESL) can benefit those who would like to teach the English language to foreign students in the U.S. or abroad. Some English programs also offer technical communication concentrations, which can benefit writers and editors.

Program Delivery

Students also need to decide whether a fully online or hybrid program fits best into their lifestyles. Hybrid or low-residency programs usually require students to spend some time on campus, whether it's attending certain workshops or seminars, completing particular classes or participating in teaching apprenticeships. While fully online programs are available, graduate degree programs will typically include certain aspects that are required to be completed in person.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • American Literature
  • British Literature

List of Online Master's Degrees in English

Online Master of Arts in English

Typically comprising 33 credit hours, a Master of Arts in English gives students in-depth instruction on technical aspects of the English language, including writing, grammar and mechanics, coupled with instruction in classic forms of English literature. Coursework may include classes in American literature, British literature, linguistics and literary criticism.

Technical writers, information developers and editors may benefit from the technical communication track offered by some online English master's programs. All online students will access their courses via delivery systems such as Blackboard, although not all classes may be available over the Internet. Course topics might include:

  • Rhetoric of science
  • Online documentation
  • Research methods
  • Technical editing

Online Master of Arts in English as a Second Language

An ESL master's degree program is designed for individuals - typically licensed teachers, although prerequisites vary by institutions - who want to teach English to speakers of other languages. This type of master's degree can consist of 30-40 credit hours and be completed in about two years. Online learning communities allow students to interact with each other and their teachers. Programs may require weekly discussions, and there is a field experience component. Throughout the program, students will take courses such as:

  • Instruction design
  • Culture integration
  • ESL teaching methods
  • Language production, theory and acquisition

Schools with Online English Master's Degree Programs

Western Governors University offers an online master's degree program in English Language Learning, giving students a thorough education into how to become strong English teachers. Classes will cover topics such as language in culture, language acquisition and standard pedagogical practices. The university provides a wide array of online learning resources upon commencement of the program, such as electronic textbooks, access to tutorials and opportunities to connect within online learning communities.

An English master's degree program can also be found at Arizona State University, giving you the tools to communicate literary concepts to a wide audience and prepare you for a career in the writing and communications fields. An up-to-date computer with sufficient internet is required for this course. There are no on-campus requirements.

Another option is the online program offered by Bowling Green State University. This program is intended for students who wish to become professional writers or teachers and can be adapted according to your specific career aspirations. The program can be completed entirely through online study or with some in-person classes, depending on the preferences of the students.

The focus of your online master's degree in English will depend on whether you intend to work as a professional writer, editor, or other communications expert, or intend to work in a teaching capacity. Research which schools have the most appropriate resources and academic support for your learning goals in order to make an informed decision.

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