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

A master of arts in English degree offers learners an array of opportunities for personal and professional growth. A master’s in English online provides students with theoretical and conceptual coursework designed to train learners to assess literature, develop communication skills, and gain critical-thinking acumen. Degree specializations in English language learning and English as a second language instruction prepare teachers and instructors to work with non-native English speakers in a classroom or business setting. An online master’s in English literature offers students the opportunity to explore literary genres from around the world and assess their cultural significance. Secondary teachers that pursue a master’s degree in English online can build on their experiences and knowledge in writing, reading, and pedagogy, while business, government, and publishing professionals can enhance their technical writing expertise. Most programs include elective coursework that allows students to pursue their personal interests, and learners that want to continue to doctoral programs gain valuable research and analytical skills.

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 25 most affordable top schools for an online master’s in English degree.

#25 – Arizona State University

Online Master’s in English

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Arizona State University’s online master of arts in English degree gives students the opportunity to design a curriculum that meets their personal interests and professional goals. Learners complete a core class in research before taking English studies, comparative literature, writing and rhetoric, and literary theory classes of their choosing. At the end of the program, students choose a culminating course, completing a thesis, applied project, or Capstone course to demonstrate program competencies. ASU’s 30-credit hour master’s in English online prepares students to pursue careers as editors, educators, writers, and researchers in various industries. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in English, history, or other humanities subject are considered for admission.

#24 – National University

Online Master of Arts in English

La Jolla, California

Website

National University offers a comprehensive master of arts in English program provide learners with coursework in theory, research, and literature. Students complete five seminars prior to taking elective classes in areas such as film studies and communications. Degree concentrations include rhetoric and Gothic studies. Throughout the program, students evaluate and apply theoretical techniques, engage in oral and written communication, and assess each other’s work. NU’s program also includes a Capstone course for students to conduct independent research and produce a publishable scholarly essay. By building writing, critical-thinking, and analytical skills, graduates can pursue careers in writing, publishing, and teaching or continue on to a doctoral program.

#23 – Faulkner University

Online Master of Arts in Humanities

Montgomery, Alabama

Website

Faulkner University offers a master of arts in humanities degree to online learners that explores literary traditions and their relationship to Christian thought. In line with Faulkner’s mission to provide Christian-based education, the master’s in humanities program incorporates interdisciplinary coursework on English, history, philosophy, and religion to expand learners’ critical-thinking, analytical, and writing skills. As students complete the 36-credit hour program, they acquire knowledge and skills to teach, serve as missionaries, and work in communication-driven fields. Coursework includes independent tutorials, a scholarly research class, and designated thesis hours. Students also participate in scheduled, online discussion groups designed to facilitate learner interaction.

#22 – Wayland Baptist University

Online Master’s in English

Plainview, Texas

Website

Wayland Baptist University’s 37-credit hour master of arts program in English includes coursework on literary theory, creative writing, research, and teaching English as a second language. Designed as a comprehensive degree, the curriculum prepares students to teach in post-secondary settings, work in the publishing industry, or continue on to doctoral study. Students develop critical-thinking skills and build cultural awareness as they complete a thesis or a non-thesis degree path applicable to personal and professional goals. All students complete a written comprehensive exam at the end of the program. Applicants must demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language for admission.

#21 – Morehead State University

Master of Arts in English Online

Morehead, Kentucky

Website

Morehead State University, based in Morehead, KY, offers an online master of arts in English degree based in expanding literary, technical writing, and linguistic expertise. Students complete 33 credit hours of coursework along a thesis or non-thesis track, studying literature across genres, writing techniques applicable to teaching, publishing, and technical careers, and research methods. Morehead State’s online English master’s degree also includes a comprehensive exam over creative and theoretical aspects of texts from American and British literature. Full time students complete the program in two years and applicants may receive conditional acceptance prior to taking the GRE exam.

#20 – University of Memphis

Online Master’s in Teaching English

Memphis, Tennessee

Website

The master of arts in English with a concentration in ESL at the University in Memphis includes 33 credit hours of English coursework and five additional concentrated classes on English as a Second Language training. Students develop knowledge and skills in language acquisition, linguistics, and second language instruction as they build expertise in English reading, writing, and research. UM’s online master’s in English degree offers learners opportunities to study and teach abroad, building on program training and acquiring valuable teaching experience. All students in the online program pay e-Rate tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state status.

#19 – Ohio University

Online Master’s in English

Athens, Ohio

Website

The online English master of arts for teachers degree at Ohio University provides educators with knowledge and skills to advance their presence in the classroom and expand their expertise in literature and writing. OU’s program incorporates literary analysis, composition, rhetoric, and creative writing classes to give learners a strong foundation in English fundamentals while also providing research content to train learners to write and publish in the field. Full-time students can complete OU’s English master’s degree in as few as 16 months; part-time learners usually fulfill degree requirements in three years. All students write a thesis at the end of the program to demonstrate professional and scholarly development.

#18 – Northern Arizona University

Online Master’s in English

Flagstaff, Arizona

Website

A master’s in English from Northern Arizona University provides learners with in-depth knowledge about literary genres, authors, and traditions. Students study literary theory and concepts while building research and critical-thinking skills to analyze texts, assess literary histories, and conduct original research. The 36-credit hour program prepares students for careers in publishing, writing, secondary education, and academia or provides a path to doctoral study. Northern Arizona University’s program also includes a thesis track for students that conduct mentor-supervised research projects. Coursework is asynchronous but students must complete all coursework within six years of starting the degree.

#17 – University of West Florida

Online Master’s in English

Pensacola, Florida

Website

The University of West Florida’s online master’s in English program includes synchronous coursework for students that want to specialize in literature or creative writing. Students attend live seminar classes through conferencing sessions although many elective classes are delivered through recordings. Coursework provides students with information different genres of writing, various literary time periods, research methods, and communication skills as they prepare for careers in education, professional writing, journalism, or instructional design. UWF’s program offers thesis and non-thesis options for online learners. The Department of English offers funding opportunities for graduate students, including grants and assistantships.

#16 – Bowling Green State University

Online Master’s in English

Bowling Green, Ohio

Website

Bowling Green State University has three online master’s degrees in English. The master of arts in English with a specialization in teaching prepares students to teach at the high school or post-secondary level; BGSU’s master’s in English in professional writing and rhetoric offers training for students that want to pursue careers writing in professional, business, and government settings; and the individualized master’s in English provides generalized coursework for students to pursue a personalized degree in the field. Each degree includes 31 credit hours of coursework, including a portfolio class for learners to collect essays from throughout their classes, present revisions, and demonstrate progress through the program.

#15 – Louisiana Tech University

Online Master’s in English

Ruston, Louisiana

Website

Students enrolled in Louisiana Tech University’s online master’s in English program study advanced coursework in American and British literature as they develop the skills needed to work in education, writing professions, or continue to a doctoral degree. Louisiana Tech’s online graduate program in English also includes a specialization in technical writing, giving learners a chance to develop writing skills applicable to business and corporate environments. The technical writing specialization also trains students in oral communication, digital reporting, editing, and document formatting. The 33-credit hour English degree includes a thesis and a non-thesis option for students to tailor their degree. In lieu of GRE requirements for admission, applicants can submit a writing portfolio for consideration.

#14 – University of Central Florida

Online Master’s in English – Technical Communication

Orlando, Florida

Website

Designed to train learners to effectively communicate in business, government, non-profit, and educational settings, the University of Central Florida’s master of arts in English Technical Education program emphasizes the theories of writing, rhetoric, and visual design. Coursework incorporates concepts from several fields, including computer science and English, to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to use and implement communication technologies effectively. Students work with innovative technologies as they develop critical-thinking and analytical expertise in document creation and design, international communication, and technical editing. Students also study research methods and principles as they pursue thesis or non-thesis options within the program.

#13 – Hamline University

Online Master of Arts in English as a Second Language

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Website

Based in St. Paul, MN, Hamline University’s online master of arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) degree offers students two concentrations: adult and K-12 education. Hamline’s core curriculum includes coursework on the relationship between language and culture, language systems, innovation in English teaching, and research methods in TESOL education. Concentrated coursework emphasizes working with adults or younger learners, with the K-12 program offering students an avenue to working in a school environment. Both programs include 36 credit hours and include Capstone projects or thesis options. Hamline alumni receive a 10% tuition discount.

#12 – University of North Dakota

Online Master’s in English Language

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Website

The University of North Dakota’s online master of education in English Language Learner Education program prepares individuals to teach English to non-native speakers around the world. Thirty-five credit hours of asynchronous coursework and 90 hours of practicum experience provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to work with foreign language speakers in educational, business, and intensive-language learning environments. Students study multilingual education, language structure and analysis, and methods of teaching English prior to completing an independent study or scholarly project. Applicants must submit a personal statement, transcripts reflecting GPA requirements, and complete an English Language Proficiency exam. All online students receive in-state tuition regardless of location.

#11 – Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Online Master of Arts in English

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Website

Northwestern State University of Louisiana, located in Natchitoches, LA, offers a 30-credit hour master of arts in English degree to students that want to enter careers in corporate or business language training, post-secondary education, or continue on to a doctoral or professional degree. NSULA’s program has five specializations in writing and linguistics, literature, folklife and southern culture, teaching English to speakers of other languages, and generalist studies. All students study bibliography and research fundamentals and complete a thesis or two substantive research papers to complete their degree. Students can also take part in an internship as part of the program. Applicants need to submit a writing sample, statement of purpose, transcript information reflecting GPA requirements, and GRE scores.

#10 – St. Cloud State University

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

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Website

St. Cloud State University’s Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) master’s degree prepares practicing teachers to specialize in working with non-English speakers in a classroom, business, or intensive language study setting in the United States or abroad. Students can complete the master of arts in English degree as a stand-alone degree or with K-12 teaching licensure, although non-Minnesota residents will need to take additional coursework. Students study linguistics, cultural aspects of language, and educational theory and practice before completing a thesis or two analytical papers that demonstrate cumulative competencies. Prerequisites for the program include at least one course in linguistics and foreign language study.

#9 – University of Louisiana at Monroe

Online Master’s in English

Monroe, Louisiana

Website

The University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) provides learners with a 33-credit hour online master of arts in English degree that allows students to specialize in literary studies or creative writing. ULM’s online master’s in English includes coursework that explores literary genres throughout history from around the world while building analytical and research skills. The flexible program offers students the opportunity to explore areas of interest while working toward a career in education or to continue to a doctoral degree. To apply to ULM’s program, students must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in English coursework. Students must also have a 900 or above score on the GRE.

#8 – Emporia State University

Online Master’s in English

Emporia, Kansas

Website

Emporia State University offers an online master of arts in English degree designed to train writers, teachers, and future doctoral students. Students can specialize in creative writing, literature, or pedagogy by completing the programs non-thesis or thesis track. The non-thesis degree includes 33 credit hours of coursework with twelve elective classes chosen to meet individual interests and goals. The 34-credit hour thesis option requires learners to complete a scholarly paper no fewer than 40 pages. Students can also enroll in a dual English and library information management degree to build competencies in cataloguing, information management, and library studies.

#7 – Gardner-Webb University

Online Master’s in English

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Website

Offered through the Department of English Language and Literature, Gardner-Webb University’s MA in English combines reading and writing coursework for a cohort-model degree program with three specializations. Students can focus on literature studies, writing studies, or English education while gaining critical-thinking and research skills. The English education specialization prepares students to obtain teaching credential at the high school level in North Carolina. The 30-credit hour master’s in English includes a Capstone course designed to produce a scholarly, publishable project or paper. Students can also enroll in a dual Divinity-English degree to focus on analyzing and understanding Scripture.

#6 – Ohio Dominican University

Online Master’s in English

Columbus, Ohio

Website

A master of arts in English degree from Ohio Dominican University prepares teachers and non-teachers to work in secondary and post-secondary education while offering non-educators opportunities to study professional editing and formal writing. ODU’s online English curriculum incorporates 33 credit hours of coursework on reading, writing, and literature across historic and geographic boundaries. Students gain research skills needed for continued study and, with a thesis and a non-thesis option, learners can tailor their degree to meet their personal and career goals. Applicants to ODU’s program need to submit three letters of recommendation, transcripts, and an essay with their formal application.

#5 – Texas Tech University

Online Master’s in English

Lubbock, Texas

Website

Texas Tech University’s 36-credit hour online master of arts in English degree provides a comprehensive curriculum in literature, research, and first-year writing. Core classes include American, British, and Comparative literature but students can incorporate elective classes on topics such as women’s studies, history, or theater, to complete a minor within the program. Learners also participate in professional development classes designed to provide the skills and tools needed for careers in secondary education or to continue on to doctoral study. Applicants must submit a writing sample and GRE scores with a formal application, personal statement, three letters of recommendation, resume, and transcript information.

#4 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in English

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

The two online master of arts in English programs at East Carolina University offer learners opportunities to specialize in an aspect of English studies and research. The master’s in technical and professional communication emphasizes editing, writing, and research in media and industries such as business, government, and healthcare while the master’s in multicultural and transnational literature focuses on world literatures through an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating history, geography, and artistic expression into the curriculum. Students in both programs develop research and analytical skills applicable to careers in academia and industry or for advanced doctoral study. The technical and professional writing program includes a required thesis but the literature program includes a thesis or or professional project option.

#3 – Western Governors University

Online Master’s in English Language Learning

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

Western Governor University’s master of arts in English language learning prepares licensed K-12 teachers to specialize in English Learning Language or English as a Second Language education. WGU’s program offers students the knowledge and skills needed to obtain ELL or ESL certifications and licensure, although specific state requirements vary. Learners gain competencies in theories of language acquisition and development, implementation of language instruction, and research fundamentals for language learning. The program provides students with opportunities to observe and participate in English classrooms through fifteen hours of field experience. Students also develop a teacher work sample based in project-specific original research.

#2 – University of Texas

Master’s in English Online

Tyler, Texas

Website

Students in the English master of arts program at the University of Texas – Tyler (UTT) pair with two faculty members to design a guided, individualized degree. The UTT’s program includes 36 credit hours of coursework, 18 of which provide students with milestone English studies content in composition, literature, theory, and research methods. Students can complete a thesis or non-thesis track depending on personal and career goals and may participate in hybrid and on-campus teaching, tutoring, and mentorship opportunities. Applicants to the online graduate English degree at UTT must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language and submit a writing sample with their sample essay, formal application, and GRE scores.

#1 – University of Texas Permian Basin

Online Master’s in English

Odessa, Texas

Website

The University of Texas Permian Basin’s online master’s in English program offers students courses through the University of Texas Online Consortium. UTPB students can enroll in the program to prepare for doctoral study or to teach in higher education. UTPB’s online English master’s degree includes coursework designed to stimulate intellectual interests, teach analytical and critical-thinking skills, and train students to research and write for academic audiences. Students can take interdisciplinary classes in literature, rhetoric, and media studies to add to the breadth of their degree. Applicants should submit a writing sample with their formal application, transcripts, GRE scores, statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation.

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