Online programs related to English language arts can be found at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Both traditional four-year universities and private online schools offer distance learning programs that lead to degrees such as a Bachelor of Arts in English, Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, or a Master of Arts in English. Although most of these programs can usually be completed totally online, some may include a comprehensive project, seminar or exam. Thesis courses may also have in-person requirements.
From advanced grammar to Victorian literature, the online course offerings in English vary according to each program's focus. Some require students to take certain courses and then choose from electives to tailor their studies. For those interested in becoming teachers, schools also offer online degrees focused on English education, which could include courses in language arts instruction, grammar and literature. Such programs may require some on-campus work and student teaching experiences to help participants prepare for teacher certification. Programs for prospective English language arts teachers usually have a strict set of course requirements that focus not only on English but also curriculum development and instructional methods.
Bachelor of Arts in English/English Literature
Online English bachelor's programs generally admit students who hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. Programs may require completion of some general education courses prior to admission. Similar to their campus-based counterparts, these programs emphasize communication skills. Students usually need to earn about 120 credits. They may have the option to specialize in sub-fields such as creative writing, education or literary studies. Online programs may culminate in a final capstone course or seminar. Graduates are prepared for careers in writing, public relations, business and other fields.
Examples of English language arts course topics include:
- Literary research
- Critical reading and writing
- British and American literature
- Creative writing
- Professional writing
Master of Arts in English
Master's degree programs generally consist of 33-36 credits, and students may need to complete a thesis, final project or comprehensive exam in order to graduate. In some cases, distance-learning students have the option of attending campus-based classes. Admission requirements generally include a bachelor's degree. Some master's programs expect students to have a bachelor's degree in English, while others accept applicants with degrees in unrelated fields. Prior teaching experience or teaching licensure may be required for admission.
Typical master's-level course topics include:
- American literature
- World literature
- Techniques for teaching writing
- Literary theory
Online programs are designed for self-motivated students with basic computing skills. While these programs often include the same courses as traditional on-campus programs, students can tailor schedules to meet their needs. Class interaction often takes place in discussion forums or via email; additionally, students may need audio speakers and microphones for real-time class conferences. Lectures, assignments and other course materials are usually available 24 hours a day in the virtual classroom environment.
Online degree programs emphasizing English and language arts are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Like traditional on-campus programs, distance learning programs typically include extensive reading and writing assignments as well as class discussions; the only difference is that online programs provide these through a virtual classroom.