In this article, we list the top-ranked and most affordable online master’s in English degree programs for 2016-2017.

Featured Programs

Whether you want to teach English to non-English speaking students or delve deep into the world of literature, a master’s degree in English is generally required. Online master’s degrees in English can lead to careers in education, law, or writing. Today, some of the top-ranked institutions offer online graduate English programs to accommodate busy and working adults. You won’t need to give up your day job to pursue your master’s degree. Flexible programs with convenient class schedules are now available.

Methodology

We reviewed 95 accredited colleges and universities that offered an online master’s in English degree or related graduate program. We chose institutions with rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. We then selected the most affordable institutions based on in-state graduate tuition and fees listed by NCES College Navigator. We listed our schools in order of affordability.

Below are the resulting selections for the 30 most affordable top schools for an online master’s in English degree.

#30 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master’s in English

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

Southern New Hampshire University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Southern New Hampshire University’s online master’s in English program is for those with a passion for literature.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810

Southern New Hampshire University’s online master’s in English program is designed for students with a love and passion for literature and the desire to pursue a doctoral degree or teach at the secondary level. The program can be completed in just 15 months by taking two courses per ten-week term. All courses are delivered online and include composition theory and teaching of writing, graduate studies in English language, topics in American literature, and topics in British literature. The university is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges ranks the institution as the 131st best regional university in the North and the #1 most innovative school.

#29 – Mercy College

Online Master’s in English Literature

Dobbs Ferry, New York

Website

Mercy College - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Mercy College’s online master’s in English literature degree requires a final thesis.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,514

The master’s in English online degree program from Mercy College is designed to provide a strong foundation for students interested in continuing their education towards a doctorate English degree. The MA degree may be completed entirely online and offers flexible courses with content that can be accessed 24/7. Required courses include literature group, theory of criticism, and writing and literary forms. Successful completion of a three-hour comprehensive essay examination is required. Also, a final thesis paper that focuses on original research is also required for graduation. Mercy College is an accredited and ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks several of the school’s online graduate programs in the top 200.

#28 – Slippery Rock University

Online Master of Arts in English

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

Website

Slippery Rock University's online master's in English program is accredited.

Slippery Rock University’s online master’s in English program is accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,575

The online master’s in English from Slippery Rock University is a 30-credit program that may be completed in 15 months. Courses are delivered entirely online and taught by faculty who have doctoral degrees. The program focuses on contemporary literate practices designed to provide reading and writing applications through the use of traditional and modern media. Online courses include digital writing and publishing, introduction to writing in the disciplines, linguistics and writing, researching academic and professional writing, and selected topics. Slippery Rock University is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 79th best regional university in the North and the 23rd top public school.

#27 – Murray State University

Online Master’s in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Murray, Kentucky

Website

Murray State University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Murray State’s online master’s in English program is designed for those who want to teach English as a second language.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,568

Murray State University is one of the first schools to offer a master’s in English online program that is designed for students who want to teach English to speakers of other languages. The online TESOL program is designed for busy adults and working professionals with commitments off-campus. Courses are delivered entirely online and on a part-time basis. Students often take one or two classes per term. The non-thesis program offers courses like applied linguistics and professional practices, computer assisted language learning, course and syllabus design, language and culture, methods and materials for teaching ESL/EFL, and teaching ESL writing. Murray State is a top-ranked university. In fact, U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges lists the school as the 28th best regional university in the South.

#26 – Arizona State University

Online Master’s in English

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Arizona State University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

ASU’s online master’s in English program focuses on cultural studies, rhetoric, and literacy.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,304

Arizona State University offers an accredited English master’s degree program online that focuses on combining literature studies with writing. Considered to be a trans-disciplinary degree, students study English alongside other related disciplines. The goal of the program is to prepare students to be able to communicate effectively through reading, writing, teaching, and research. Online courses include cultural studies in English, film and media, linguistics, and rhetorics and literacies. ASU is a nationally ranked institution. U.S. News and World Report’s most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 129th best national university. Also, the institution’s graduate English school ranks #59 in the country.

#25 – National University

Online Master of Arts in English

La Jolla, California

Website

National University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

National University’s online master’s in English degree acts as a stepping stone for doctoral studies.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,962

National University offers an online master’s in English program that is designed to equip students for community college teaching roles, English-related careers, or doctoral studies programs. Two specialization areas are provided so that students may hone their skills and take classes in particular interest areas. These specializations include Gothic studies and rhetoric. Online courses may include film history, modern rhetoric, multicultural literature, pictures that speak, and seminars in fiction and poetry. A capstone project that includes a written scholarly paper is required to fulfill graduation requirements. National University is an accredited and ranked institution. In fact, several of the school’s online graduate programs are ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

#24 – Faulkner University

Online Master of Arts in Humanities

Montgomery, Alabama

Website

Faulkner University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Faulkner University’s online master’s in humanities is great for students interested in an online English master’s degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,800

For individuals interested in earning an English master’s degree program online, Faulkner University offers a related degree. The master’s in humanities is an online program designed to provide students with English, history, and philosophy courses. Online classes include great ideas, authors and writing – literary analysis; introduction to humane letters and learning; and scholarly inquiry and writing in the humanities. Four independent tutorials with a special focus in the student’s interest, along with a thesis course, are required. To provide peer relationship building, students meet at designated times for online discussion. Faulkner is a regionally accredited and ranked institution. According to U.S. News and World Report, the school ranks 54th among the best regional colleges in the South. It is also considered one of the top colleges for veterans.

#23 – Wayland Baptist University

Online Master’s in English

Plainview, Texas

Website

Wayland Baptist University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

The online English master’s program at Wayland Baptist is accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,740

Wayland Baptist University offers an accredited online English degree that is designed to prepare students for teaching roles, further graduate work, or writing and research fields. There is a thesis and non-thesis option; however, both tracks require a written comprehensive examination. All courses are delivered online and include advanced literary research, early American literature, literary theory, modern American literature, structures of language, and teaching English as a second language. The program is designed to provide exposure to a wide variety of English and literature studies. Wayland Baptist is accredited and regionally ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

#22 – Morehead State University

Master of Arts in English Online

Morehead, Kentucky

Website

Morehead State University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Morehead State University offers a thesis or non-thesis online master’s in English degree program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,422

Morehead State University offers an accredited and affordable online English degree program with thesis and non-thesis options. The online master’s in English offers a full array of Internet courses designed to prepare students with advanced literary studies. The program is fully online and offers courses like American literature in perspective, Chaucer, major American authors, modern drama, twentieth-century British literature, and technical writing. Classes are self-paced and flexible. In fact, the program caters to busy and working students with life obligations. Morehead State is regionally ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school ranks #61 among the best regional universities in the South and #25 among top public schools.

#21 – University of Memphis

Online Master’s in Teaching English

Memphis, Tennessee

Website

University of Memphis - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Want to teach English? University of Memphis offers an accredited online master’s in Teaching English!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,211

For those who desire a master’s in English online degree designed to equip them with the skills needed to teach English as a second language, the University of Memphis provides such a program. The ESL master’s degree may be completed entirely online, with classes taught by PhD faculty who have more than ten years experience teaching online courses. What makes University of Memphis’ English program unique is the short-term teaching opportunities in the Czech Republic. University of Memphis is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the university and its graduate English school as among the best in the country.

#20 – Bellevue University

Master of Fine Arts in Creativity Online

Bellevue, Nebraska

Website

Bellevue University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Students can earn an online MFA in Creativity at Bellevue University that is perfect for those interested in a graduate English degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,900

Bellevue University offers a unique master’s degree that is perfect for those interested in an alternative to the online master’s in English degree. Students can earn an MFA in creativity entirely online. Courses include art and value creation, art market awareness and creative planning, multiple perspectives of art and self-reflection, and the art of empathy and securing value. A total of 60 credits are required, which include six credit hours of virtual residencies. Bellevue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Several of the school’s online graduate programs have earned rankings in the most recent edition of Best Colleges.

#19 – Ohio University

Online Master’s in English

Athens, Ohio

Website

Ohio University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Ohio University offers an affordable online master’s in English.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,510

Ohio University offers an English master’s degree program online that is designed for secondary teachers who want to teach college level courses. The program is highly affordable and may be completed in 18 months. No GRE is required and classes are delivered entirely online. Classes delve into writing instruction, teaching at the college level, and various seminars in English language. Ohio University is nationally accredited and ranked. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as the 135th best national university. Additional rankings include #68 for top public schools and #82 for best graduate English schools.

#18 – Northern Arizona University

Online Master’s in English

Flagstaff, Arizona

Website

Northern Arizona University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Northern Arizona University offers an accredited online master’s in English degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,071

Northern Arizona University offers an online master’s degree in English degree program that is perfect for those passionate about literature. The program is designed to refine knowledge and broaden understanding of literary traditions. A minimum of 36 credit hours is required in three general areas: analysis and critical thinking, research and application, and theory and knowledge. Courses are delivered entirely online and include classical literature, introduction to research in literary studies, introduction to rhetoric and composition theory, and literary criticism and theory. Northern Arizona University is an accredited institution and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.

#17 – University of West Florida

Online Master’s in English

Pensacola, Florida

Website

University of West Florida - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

University of West Florida’s online master’s in English program emphasizes creative writing.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,062

The University of West Florida offers an online English degree that is designed for busy students who want to pursue graduate studies in English and literature. Classes are delivered entirely online and taught by the same university professors who teach on campus. Also, students may specialize in either literature or creative writing, depending on interests and career goals. Core courses include history of literary theory, introduction to advanced literary study, and topics in fiction. University of West Florida is a nationally ranked institution, according to major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school ranks among some of the best national universities in the country.

#16 – Bowling Green State University

Online Master’s in English

Bowling Green, Ohio

Website

Bowling Green State University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Bowling Green State University’s online English master’s degree is ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,996

Bowling Green State University offers an accredited online master’s degree in English with three specialization tracks. Students may earn an English master’s with specialization in English teaching, professional writing and rhetoric, or individualized. The individualized specialization is considered to be a general degree rather than a specialized one and allows students to explore particular interests. Required online courses for the English degree include graduate writing, introduction to English studies, introduction to linguistics, rhetoric and composition studies, and techniques of fiction and poetry. Bowling Green State is a nationally ranked institution. According to the most recent publications of Best Colleges, U.S. news and World Report lists the school as the 185th best national university.

#15 – Louisiana Tech University

Online Master’s in English

Ruston, Louisiana

Website

Louisiana Tech University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Louisiana Tech’s online master’s in English program is designed for busy students.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,893

Louisiana Tech University’s Global Campus offers a master’s in English online degree program that is designed for working and busy students who want to earn an advanced degree in English and literature. Two specialization areas are available and include British and American literature and technical writing. All courses are delivered online and taught by the same instructors who teach on campus. Louisiana Tech is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 199th best national university and the 116th top public school. Several of the school’s online graduate programs have also earned rankings.

#14 – University of Central Florida

Online Master’s in English – Technical Communication

Orlando, Florida

Website

University of Central Florida - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

University of Central Florida’s online English master’s degree program focuses on technical communication.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,872

The College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Central Florida offers an affordable online master’s in English degree program that follows a technical communication track. The program is designed for busy students who enjoy writing and want to learn how to create effective print and electronic form documents for education, government, or business entities. All courses are delivered online and taught by the same professors who teach at the traditional campus. Online courses include computer documentation, international communication, the rhetoric of science, and visual design. The university is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the institution as the 168th best national university.

#13 – Hamline University

Online Master of Arts in English as a Second Language

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Website

Hamline University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Hamline’s online master’s in English program is for students who want to teach.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,496

Hamline University’s English master’s degree program online is designed for working or busy students who are interested in pursuing ESL, TESOL, and EFL studies. The program is fully online and begins at three different start dates. The program takes approximately twenty-four months to complete with flexible courses and 24/7 access to content. Three available concentration areas include adult ESL, K-12 ESL licensure, and TEFL. Online courses include basics of modern English, history of English, language and society, linguistics for language teachers, and phonetics and phonology. Hamline is a highly ranked and accredited institution. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school 12th among the best regional universities in the Midwest.

#12 – University of North Dakota

Online Master’s in English Language

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Website

University of North Dakota - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

University of North Dakota offers an accredited online master’s in English program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,461

The University of North Dakota offers an accredited online English degree that prepares students to teach English to individuals who speak other languages. The program may be completed entirely online and takes approximately two or more years to finish. Students interact with instructors and peers in a virtual classroom environment. Online courses may include effective administrative communications, leadership and organizational behavior, leading curriculum and learning, and supervision and staff development. To help offset costs, the school offers in-state tuition regardless of residency. University of North Dakota is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school 180th among the best national universities.

#11 – Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Online Master of Arts in English

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Website

Northwestern State University of Louisiana - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Northwestern’s online master’s in English program offers five areas of concentration.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,298

The affordable master’s in English online degree program offered at Northwestern State University of Louisiana is designed for busy and working students who require the flexibility that an online program provides. The 30-hour program has five areas of concentration, including folklore/Southern culture, generalist, literature, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), and writing and linguistics. Students also have the option of writing a thesis or producing two papers in-lieu of the thesis and taking one additional elective course. Northwestern State University is recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent publication of Best Colleges lists the school among the best regional universities in the South.

#10 – St. Cloud State University

Online Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Website

St. Cloud State - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

St. Cloud State University offers an online English master’s degree designed with the working student in mind.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,191

St. Cloud State University offers an English master’s degree program online that is designed with the working student in mind. The program equips students with the skills necessary to teach English to those who speak other languages. Courses are available entirely online and include college composition theories and practices, digital rhetoric and pedagogy, and theories in second language acquisition. St. Cloud State offers graduate assistantships to qualified students and grants through the TEACH Grant program. The school is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 99th best regional university in the Midwest and the 34th top public school.

#9 – University of Louisiana at Monroe

Online Master’s in English

Monroe, Louisiana

Website

University of Louisiana Monroe - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

The online master’s in English program at University of Louisiana is accredited and ranked.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,005

The accredited online master’s degree in English from the University of Louisiana is a 33-hour program that covers a wide range of topics in contemporary and classical literature. Students can specialize in creative writing or literary studies. These specializations require that additional courses be taken in the selected area of interest. Courses are delivered entirely online and include American poetry, American prose, English literature before 1800, English literature from 1800 to the present, and poetry writing seminar. A limited number of graduate assistantships are available through the program, and students should inquire early to see if they are eligible. The school is accredited and ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 93rd best regional university in the South.

#8 – Emporia State University

Online Master’s in English

Emporia, Kansas

Website

Emporia State University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Emporia State’s online master’s in English degree program is flexible and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,488

Emporia State University offers an online English degree that is designed for graduate students who want to earn a master’s degree through distance education. The online master’s in English program offers three emphasis areas, including creative writing, literature, and rhetoric – pedagogy. All classes are delivered online and include two courses in literature written before 1830, two courses in literature written after 1830, and two courses in language, rhetoric, or criticism. At the end of the final term, students must submit a portfolio of work that will be assessed. Emporia State’s graduate tuition is affordable for both in-state and out-of-state residents. The school is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 104th best regional university in the Midwest.

#7 – Gardner-Webb University

Online Master’s in English

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Website

Gardner Webb University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Gardner-Webb University’s fast-paced online master’s in English program may be completed in six semesters.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,430

The Department of English Language and Literature at Gardner-Webb University offers an online master’s in English program that is designed for busy and working students. Flexible online courses make the program convenient for students juggling life obligations with their education. The program is designed for students to complete the degree in six semesters, including two summer sessions. Students are required to take four core courses and seven concentration courses for a total of 30 hours. Gardner-Webb is an accredited and regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 41st best regional university in the South.

#6 – Ohio Dominican University

Online Master’s in English

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Ohio Dominican University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Ohio Dominican University’s online master’s in English program is highly affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,410

Ohio Dominican University’s master’s in English online degree program is designed to deepen literature understanding and sharpen writing skills. All classes are delivered online and taught by English faculty that are widely published and trained in the delivery of distance education. Online courses include American literature; British literature up to, and from, 1800; graduate writing and research; and modernism and contemporary literature. An optional thesis may be completed in which students earn two semesters of research credit. Ohio Dominican is an accredited and ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 85th best regional university in the Midwest.

#5 – Texas Tech University

Online Master’s in English

Lubbock, Texas

Website

Texas Tech University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Texas Tech’s online master’s in English degree mirrors the program delivered on campus.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,390

The online master’s in English program from Texas Tech University mirrors the same English program offered on-campus. The degree requires 36 hours of coursework in areas of American literature, British literature, research and pedagogical methods, and writing for publication. The program recently expanded to offer new areas of emphasis, including book history, film and media studies, nineteenth-century studies, and social justice and environment. Any student wishing to specialize may elect to take courses in these areas of emphasis. Texas Tech is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school 168th among the best national universities. Additional rankings include #91 for top public schools and #125 for best English graduate schools.

#4 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in English

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

East Carolina University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

East Carolina University’s master’s in English is available entirely online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,857

East Carolina University offers an online master’s degree in English program that is designed for working adults who desire a balance between graduate studies and life obligations. The program is well-suited for those with a passion for creative writing, as the program offers a creative writing concentration. Courses are delivered online and include American and world literatures, linguistics studies, and world poetry. East Carolina is an accredited and nationally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as the 194th best national university and the 111th top public school. Several of the school’s online master’s programs have also earned national recognition.

#3 – Western Governors University

Online Master’s in English Language Learning

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

Western Governors University - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

Western Governors University offers an online master’s in English language learning that’s highly affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,790

Western Governors University offers an online master’s degree program in English Language that is designed for those who want to become effective teachers in English as a second language. The program is for licensed teachers with a bachelor’s degree who are interested in ELL or ESL instruction. Online courses may include the following key subject areas: Culture, language production, professional role of the ELL teacher, and theories of second language acquisition and grammar. The average completion time for the online master’s in English is 2 to 2.5 years. Western Governors is an accredited and ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report have ranked the school’s graduate programs in recent years.

#2 – University of Texas

Master’s in English Online

Tyler, Texas

Website

University of Texas - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

UT offers an accredited online master’s in English degree program with a non-thesis track.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,142

Finding an English master’s degree program online that is accredited and ranked can be difficult. The University of Texas at Tyler offers an online master’s in English that fits these criteria. Also, the degree offers a non-thesis and thesis track. All English courses are research-focused and delivered entirely online. Classes include history and practice of rhetoric, history of the English language, literary theory and criticism, studies composition, and topics in English. UT Tyler is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 73rd best regional university in the West and the 27th top public school.

#1 – University of Texas Permian Basin

Online Master’s in English

Odessa, Texas

Website

University of Texas Permian Basin - Online Master’s Degree Programs in English

University of Texas at Permian Basin offers the most affordable online master’s in English degree program on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,250

The online master’s in English from the University of Texas – Permian Basin is our most affordable option among online graduate English degree programs. The online English degree is designed for working professionals, such as teachers, who want to earn an advanced degree without giving up their daytime job. Courses are taught entirely online by the same instructors who teach on campus.
UT of Permian Basin is an accredited and ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as among the best regional universities in the West. Several of the university’s online master’s programs are also ranked. Due to the school’s affordability, UT Permian Basin lands in our #1 spot for top online master’s degree programs in English.

This concludes our ranking of the top-ranked and most affordable online master’s in English degree programs for 2016-2017.

By GSH Staff
September 2016