Top Online Master's in English Programs 2020

Graduate English programs usually demand advanced skills in reading comprehension, literary analysis, and writing. Students in English programs rely on close observation and analysis, theoretical insight, and rhetorical skill. Enrollees must understand various foundational philosophical and literary theoretical concepts, including the relative and narrative-based nature of meaning and truth.

When reading and writing about literary texts, English majors learn to question writers' authority, approach texts through multiple lenses, and produce original readings. When analyzing theoretical and scholarly materials, English majors practice evaluating arguments, identifying underlying assumptions, and exploring analyses. English professors provide their graduate students with substantive, sophisticated feedback on both their ideas and their writing.


Additional benefits of earning a master's in English online include gaining preparation for diverse careers in areas such as education, editing, marketing, and communications. Read further to learn more about potential careers, curriculum tracks, courses, and financial aid for master's students in English.

FAQ

Question Answer
Can I earn a master's degree in English online? Yes, many schools offer master's in English online programs. See below for a list of top-ranked online master's in English programs.
How long does it take to earn a master's in English? Master's programs traditionally take 18-24 months to complete, although accelerated programs may require less time.
What is the difference between studying English and communications? English curricula typically emphasize language and literary analysis, whereas communications programs focus on more diverse communications media and purposes.
What is the difference between studying English and journalism? Journalism approaches writing as part of an industry, while English programs prioritize language and literature and may prioritize teaching preparation.
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Top Online Master's in English Programs 2020

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 Arizona State University-Skysong Scottsdale, AZ Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public school based in Scottsdale, ASU offers an online master of arts in English that prepares students for careers in a variety of fields, such as management, marketing, copywriting, and editing.

The 30-credit online master's in English allows students to learn at their own pace. Students can choose from electives based on their career goals. Notable courses include composition studies, linguistics, and approaches to research. Students culminate the degree with a graduate capstone seminar.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit a personal statement, a CV, and two recommendation letters.

2 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Part of the University of Texas system, UT Tyler offers an online master of arts in English that helps students develop critical thinking, analysis, and research skills.

The 36-credit online master's in English program offers small courses that facilitate individualized attention from faculty. Students can choose to complete their degree fully online, on campus, or in a hybrid format. The program offers thesis and non-thesis tracks. Non-thesis students must take additional courses.

Tuition varies based on residence and enrollment status. All applicants must demonstrate a minimum 3.25 GPA and completion of prior coursework in English. Applicants must also submit an essay detailing their reasons for pursuing a master's in English.

3 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A private school based in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Mercy offers an online master of arts in English that allows students to study literature from a variety of cultures and traditions.

Mercy's 30-credit online master's in English offers courses on topics like literary criticism, advanced creative writing, and American literature. Students must pass a comprehensive exam before their final semester of the program. They must also complete a thesis to graduate. Many graduates go on to earn doctoral degrees in English. Others pursue careers in teaching or writing.

Prospective students can transfer up to six graduate English credits toward the degree. Applicants must submit transcripts, two recommendation letters, and a writing sample.

4 East Carolina University Greenville, NC Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public university based in Greenville, North Carolina, ECU offers an online master of arts in English that allows students to tailor the degree to their interests and goals.

Students pursuing the master's in English online can choose from concentrations in literature, creative writing, and rhetoric. All students must enroll in a research methods course based on their concentration. Students also choose electives based on their concentration. For example, a creative writing student may take advanced poetry or script writing. Students can either write a thesis or complete a Comprehensive Assessment Project (CAP) to graduate. Those pursuing a CAP must take additional English courses to complete their degree.

Applications require official transcripts, three recommendation letters, and a statement of intent. Students applying for the creative writing concentration must submit a portfolio of original writing in one genre. This program does not require prospective students to submit GRE results.

5 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public research university located in Norfolk, Virginia, ODU offers an online master of arts in English that prepares students for doctoral programs and careers in a related field.

The 30-credit online MA in English develops students' skills in writing, textual analysis, and document design. Students also examine the theory and practice of writing in professional environments. Notable courses include digital writing, management writing, and new media. Students culminate the degree with a portfolio project, oral exam, or thesis.

Students living in Virginia pay less in tuition than out-of-state residents. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in English or a related field and submit a writing sample that demonstrates graduate-level writing skills.

6 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public university located in Natchitoches, NSU offers an online master of arts in English with four concentrations: writing, southern culture, literature, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Students can also pursue a general track.

All students must take a course in bibliography and literary research. Students then choose electives based on their area of study. For example, TESOL students may take a class in syntactical theories, while literature students may enroll in a medieval rhetoric course. Students culminate the degree with a thesis or two papers. Students who write two papers in place of a thesis must also take an additional elective course.

Applicants must submit official transcripts, GRE scores, and two recommendation letters.

7 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, NE Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Part of the University of Nebraska system, UNK offers an online master of arts in English that prepares students for careers in writing, teaching, and editing. Graduates can also pursue doctoral study.

Students earning the 30-credit master's in English online study topics such as literary criticism, poetry writing, and reading problems in secondary schools. Courses take the form of seminars, workshops, and directed readings. Students must pass a comprehensive exam or write a thesis to graduate.

Applicants must submit undergraduate transcripts indicating at least 18 completed credits of English coursework. Applicants must also submit three recommendation letters, a personal statement, and a writing sample.

8 National University La Jolla, CA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

The largest private school in San Diego, California, NU offers an online master of arts in English that helps students succeed in fields within and beyond English studies. The program develops critical thinking, writing, and analytical skills.

The master's in English online program offers small, interactive classes that facilitate individualized support from professors. Some courses last only four weeks. In these accelerated courses, students can focus on one subject at a time. Learners study topics such as rhetoric, gothic studies, and film studies. NU's program also offers opportunities for career development. For example, students can edit or write for the school's literary journal or newsletter.

NU offers tuition discounts to military service members and their dependents. The school is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

9 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Part of the University of Louisiana system, ULM offers an online master of arts in English with specializations in creative writing and literary studies.

Students specializing in literary studies must enroll in a bibliography course. Creative writing students are required to take at least nine credits of workshops. Workshops cover either poetry or fiction writing. All students culminate the degree with a thesis. If interested in teaching, students can work as a graduate teaching assistant. Graduate teaching assistants must teach composition and complete a supervision practicum.

Applicants must demonstrate a minimum 3.0 GPA and 30 completed credits of upper-level undergraduate English courses. Students can transfer courses from other accredited schools with a grade of B or better.

10 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A private school located in Manchester, SNHU offers an online master of arts in English that offers some of the lowest online tuition prices in the country. The program features an asynchronous format, allowing students to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.

Courses focus on British and American literature. Students take courses on topics like Shakespeare, African American literature, and Victorian literature. Students can enhance their writing skills by optionally participating in the school's online literary journal and fall fiction contest. Many graduates pursue careers in areas like advertising, technical writing, and public relations. Others find careers in nonprofit administration or fundraising.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA and submit a personal statement.

11 Sul Ross State University Alpine, TX Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public school based in Alpine, Texas, Sul Ross offers an online master of arts in English that allows students to pursue their interest in literature.

Students pursuing the master's in English online can choose from thesis and non-thesis tracks. Students writing a thesis take 24 credits of literature coursework. They also take six credits of coursework related to their thesis. Non-thesis students complete 36 credits of coursework. Learners study topics like Irish literature, the American Renaissance, and transnational literature.

Applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA undergraduate GPA and at least a 290 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE. Sul Ross offers scholarships for full-time graduate students to help fund their education. Students can apply for scholarships online.

11 Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public university located in Valdosta, Georgia, VSU offers an online master of arts in English studies designed for middle and secondary school teachers.

The 36-credit program includes literature, composition, and grammar courses. Many professors teach asynchronous courses, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Others require live online class sessions. All live courses take place on weekday evenings to accommodate the schedules of working educators.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in English with a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit official transcripts, two recommendation letters, and a cover letter. They also need at least a 153 on the verbal section of the GRE or 4.0 on the analytical section.

13 University of Memphis Memphis, TN Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public school based in Memphis, Tennessee, UofM offers an online master of arts in English with concentrations in composition studies, professional writing, English as a second language (ESL), linguistics, and literature.

The program's ESL concentration takes place fully online. Other concentrations may require in-person classes. Some concentrations require students to pass a comprehensive exam to graduate, while others require a thesis. All students must complete 30 credits total.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree in English or at least 12 credits of English coursework with a grade of B or higher. They must also hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit official transcripts, two recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose.

14 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public university based in Lubbock, TTU offers an online master of arts in English that prepares students for graduate study, as well as careers in writing-related fields.

Students can choose from a variety of concentrations, including literature, creative writing, digital humanities, and film studies. The program offers thesis and non-thesis tracks. Students who choose to write a thesis complete 30 credits of coursework and six thesis credits. Those who do not write a thesis complete 36 credits of coursework and a writing portfolio.

Applicants must submit a CV, three recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose. They must also complete a writing sample that demonstrates their critical thinking skills. Students looking to concentrate in creative writing must provide a sample of original work.

15 The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located in Pensacola, UWF offers an online master of arts in English with concentrations in literature and creative writing.

The 36-credit program limits classes to 20 students, allowing learners to receive personalized attention from faculty. Students participate in live class sessions through videoconferencing. These sessions occur on weekday evenings to accommodate working professionals. Students choose between thesis and non-thesis tracks. All students must demonstrate competency in one foreign language.

UWF's English department offers grants to online graduate students. Students can also apply for paid teaching and graduate assistantships. Applicants must demonstrate at least a 3.0 GPA and 20 credits of completed English coursework. They also need a GRE score of at least 153 in the verbal section and 4.5 in the analytical writing section.

16 Wayland Baptist University Plainview, TX Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A private school located in Plainview, Texas, WBU offers an online master of arts in English that prepares students to conduct independent research in the field. The 37-credit MA in English online program develops students' critical thinking and analysis skills. Many graduates pursue doctoral degrees or careers in education.

Required courses include literary theory and advanced research. Students can also choose to write a thesis and present their work to a committee of three professors. Those who do not write a thesis take additional coursework. All students must pass a comprehensive exam. The comprehensive exam consists of an analytical essay based on a specialized reading list.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students must also submit two recommendation letters and a writing sample. Students can transfer up to 12 graduate-level credits toward the degree.

17 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public university based in Orlando, UCF offers an online master of arts in English with a concentration in technical communication that prepares students for writing jobs in the technical field.

The 33-credit program gives students the skills needed for jobs like technical editor, international communications professional, and web content specialist. Notable courses include persuasive writing, technical editing, and proposal writing. Students can complete a research project or thesis to culminate the degree.

Prospective students must demonstrate competency in one foreign language. They must also submit GRE scores, two recommendation letters, a goal statement, and a professional writing sample. UCF offers fellowships to qualified applicants.

18 Ohio University-Main Campus Athens, OH Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public school based in Athens, OU offers an online master of arts in English that qualifies students to teach secondary and college-level courses. The master's in English online program offers flexible course schedules that allow teachers and other working professionals to earn their degree with limited career disruption.

Learners study topics like literary history, composition, and creative writing. Each course runs for seven weeks. Most students complete their degree within four semesters. Students culminate the degree with a publishable master's essay. The English department encourages students to examine classroom applications from middle and secondary school in their essay.

Applicants must submit a writing sample, personal statement, and CV. This program does not require GRE results.

19 Murray State University Murray, KY Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public university based in Murray, Kentucky, Murray State offers an online master of arts in English that prepares students for doctoral study and teaching positions.

Students completing the 30-credit MA in English online take courses on topics like research methods, British literature, and American literature. Students must pass written and oral comprehensive exams to graduate.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a major or minor in English and a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit GRE scores and letters of recommendation.

20 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, PA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public school located in Slippery Rock, SRU offers a 30-credit online master of arts in English that covers topics such as rhetorical theory, digital writing and publishing, and literary and cultural studies. Students culminate the degree with a six-credit capstone course that focuses on research and interdisciplinary writing methods.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit an essay on their writing-related career goals, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Students may apply for a graduate assistantship with the English department. The school awards graduate assistantships to students for up to two years.

21 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

Located in Flagstaff, NAU offers an online master of arts in English that covers topics such as literary criticism, medieval literature, and feminist theory.

The 36-credit program includes thesis and non-thesis tracks. Students not writing a thesis must take additional coursework. Many graduates pursue careers in publishing, public relations, or teaching. Others go on to earn a doctoral degree.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit two recommendation letters, a writing sample, a resume, and a personal statement.

22 Morehead State University Morehead, KY Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public university located in Morehead, Kentucky, MSU offers a 30-credit online master of arts in English that covers advanced literary theories. The program features an asynchronous format, allowing students to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations.

Students earning the MA in English online study literature, creative and technical writing, and linguistics. Notable courses include technical writing, Old English, and sociolinguistics. Students must pass a written comprehensive exam to graduate. The exam focuses on an American and British literature reading list. Students enrolled in three courses a semester can apply for a graduate assistantship. Graduate assistants must commit to 20 hours of work each week.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a major or minor in English and a minimum 3.0 GPA. They also need at least a 146 on the verbal section of the GRE and a 140 on the quantitative section.

23 Minnesota State University-Mankato Mankato, MN Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public university located in Mankato, Minnesota State Mankato offers an online master of arts in English that comprises 33 credits.

The program covers American, British, and world literature. Courses include gender in literature and children's literature. Students also enroll in electives based on their interests. Many instructors hold live course sessions to discuss literary texts. Capstone projects allow students to research specific literary topics, genres, and periods.

Applicants must submit a personal statement describing their goals, a research-based writing sample, and two recommendation letters. This program accepts applications on a rolling basis.

24 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A public school based in Ruston, Louisiana Tech offers an online master of arts in English that allows students to specialize in literature or technical writing.

Students earning the 33-credit MA in English online take theoretical and practical courses. Faculty and students work together to create a reading list based on students' interests. The program offers thesis and non-thesis tracks. Students on the non-thesis track complete a comprehensive exam in lieu of a thesis. Graduates often pursue doctoral degrees or teaching jobs.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and demonstrate prior coursework in English. They must also submit a personal statement and GRE scores. In place of GRE scores, applicants may submit a writing sample.

25 Ohio Dominican University Columbus, OH Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate - Financial Aid - Credit For Experience - Placement Service - Counseling Services -

A Roman Catholic university based in Columbus, ODU offers an online master of arts in English that develops students' writing and critical thinking skills.

Students earning the 33-credit master's in English online study literary genres, figures, and critical approaches. Notable courses include short stories, film and visual rhetoric, and contemporary literature. Students choose between a thesis or capstone project to culminate the degree. Capstone projects include a 15-page paper.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. This program prefers applicants to hold a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applications must include a personal statement, transcripts, and three recommendation letters sent directly from the references.

Career and Salary Outlook for English Master's Graduates

This flexible degree path cultivates highly transferable skills suitable to diverse career paths across various industries. An online master's in English degree supports strong analysis, writing, and editing skills useful to authors and freelance writers, copywriters and technical writers, editors, and publishing professionals.

The same skills serve other communications professionals, including journalists, public relations and fundraising managers, and marketing managers. Some English graduates perform communications and grant-writing work for nonprofits, while other graduates work in advertising or marketing. A master's in English also meets minimum degree requirements for teaching jobs in some high schools and colleges. However, tenure-track English professors typically need Ph.D. degrees.

See below for a few career paths for students who earn a master's in English online.

Technical Writers

These professionals compose content for technical documents such as guides, journal articles, and instruction and training manuals. Often collaborating with product designers, technical staff, and other writers, technical writers gather, create, edit, and share information. This job requires close attention to detail and to audience needs. Technical writers often hold bachelor's degrees in English or communications-related fields.

Median Annual Salary: $72,850
Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): 7%

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Editors

Most editors select, revise, and edit various materials for publication purposes. Upper-level editors who work for journals, newspapers, and publishing houses spend considerable time reading submissions, making publication decisions, and collaborating with writers to improve their material. Meanwhile, copy editors spend more time correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting. Editors usually hold at least a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, or English.

Median Annual Salary: $61,370
Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): -7%

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Writers and Authors

These professionals produce written content for various purposes, audiences, and media, including books, journal articles, advertisements, and scripts. Daily activities may include choosing subject matter, conducting research, and drafting or editing written content. Writers and authors may operate as freelancers or work for various nonprofits, media outlets, or companies.

Median Annual Salary: $63,200
Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): -2%

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Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

These managers design and supervise the implementation of promotional campaigns and materials. Often collaborating with design and financial teams, these professionals may work in radio, print, television, or online media. These management careers also require hiring, training, and supervising advertising, promotions, or marketing staff. Most of these managers possess relevant work experience and a bachelor's degree in a field related to communications or marketing.

Median Annual Salary: $135,900
Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029): 6%

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Accreditation for Online Master's in English

Accreditation, a voluntary process used to verify academic quality, involves programmatic and institutional assessment by education accreditors approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Top English programs typically operate within regionally accredited higher education institutions.

Accreditation matters for both financial aid and credit transfer purposes. Students attending either nationally or regionally accredited schools can receive federal financial aid, whereas students in non-accredited schools do not qualify. Since regional accreditors apply more stringent academic standards than national accreditors, regionally accredited schools do not usually transfer credits or degrees from nationally accredited schools.

Many good schools for English also boast institutional or programmatic accreditation by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation.

Courses in a Master's in English Program

Learners who pursue an MA in English online must typically complete 33-36 credits of core and concentration courses. Core coursework usually includes English language history, composition theory and teaching, literary theory, and a master's capstone thesis or examination. Many curricula also require an introductory course and core survey coursework in British, American, and global literature. Most English courses cultivate advanced skills in research, analysis, and writing.

Concentration options vary by program, but may include American literature, British literature, rhetoric, and pedagogy. Other possible concentrations include journalism or creative writing, professional writing, and film and media studies. Degree-seekers pursuing an MA in English online often take the courses below. Keep in mind that specific courses vary by school.

Literary Theory

This course discusses major cultural and literary theories including formalism, structuralism, poststructuralism, and feminism. Learners also explore psychoanalytic theory, Marxism, queer theory, and reader response. Some course versions trace theoretical approaches to writing back to ancient perspectives offered by Plato and Aristotle. Usually a required course, literary theory provides multiple critical lenses for understanding texts and teaching literature.

Black Literary Traditions

Surveying literature by African American, African, and Caribbean writers, this course covers slave narratives, short stories, poems, and novels. Degree-seekers study Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Chinua Achebe, and Richard Wright. Other popular choices include Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Edwidge Danticat, and Maya Angelou. The course also discusses major cultural events and movements such as colonialism, slavery, apartheid, and the Harlem Renaissance.

Victorian Literature

Analyzing 19th century British literature, history, and culture, this course studies writers such as the Brownings, the Brontes, Oscar Wilde, and Charles Dickens. Enrollees read poetry and long with novels that register the major modernization ideas, events, and forces at work during this exciting time period. Such major influential factors include Darwinism, Freudianism, industrialization, and increased global travel. Usually an elective course, Victorian literature typically attracts students specializing in British literature.

Composition Theory and Teaching Practice

Ideal for aspiring English and writing teachers, composition courses familiarize enrollees with the theory and practice of teaching writing. Major ideas and teaching approaches surveyed include cognitive, social, and expressive methods. Some English graduate programs include a teaching practicum that happens simultaneously or following the course. Enrollees often compose their own teaching philosophy or pedagogical position as part of the course curriculum.

Master's Thesis of Examination

Master's programs in English typically require a master's thesis, portfolio, or examination. The traditional master's thesis consists of a longer critical essay (often at least 30-60 pages) featuring an original thesis and substantial research. However, some programs allow enrollees to use comprehensive examinations to demonstrate master's-level knowledge of English and American literature. Teaching-focused enrollees sometimes complete a practicum experience and reflective essay instead.

Financial Aid

Many graduate students use financial aid to help cover educational expenses. Like undergraduates, eligible graduate students can qualify for federally subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, grants, and scholarships.

Some graduate students qualify for research grants or fellowships. Often competitive, research grants go to graduate students with promising research proposals. Like federal grants, these funds do not require repayment. Often need- or merit-based, fellowships typically offer tuition remission and a living stipend, sometimes as compensation for research or teaching assistantships. Prospective students can begin their search for financial aid by completing the FAFSA.

Learners can also save money by applying to online programs. Often permitting flexible, asynchronous attendance in the evenings, these programs enable enrollees to retain their day jobs. Online learners do not incur room-and-board costs and may also reduce expenses through discounted tuition rates.

Scholarships for English Majors

Both undergraduate and graduate students may qualify for various need-based, merit-based, or identity-based scholarships. Often funded by professional organizations, schools, or private donors, these scholarships do not require repayment. The following scholarships support qualifying graduate students in English.

Audre Lorde Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: The National Organization of Black Lesbians on Aging awards this scholarship to lesbians of color over 40. Applicants must demonstrate significant impact within their communities.
Amount: $1,000 minimum

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Jeanne Robertson Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship goes to full-time college juniors, seniors, or graduate students enrolled in English, journalism, communications, or public speaking programs at accredited schools. Eligible applicants show entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to a speech-related career.
Amount: $5,000

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Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship

Who Can Apply: The Poetry Foundation awards five fellowships per year to literature or creative writing master's students between 21 and 31 years old. Recipients demonstrate U.S. citizenship, good academic performance, excellent poetry talent, and full-time enrollment in an accredited graduate school.
Amount: $25,800

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Bodie McDowell Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Outdoor Writers Association of America grants this scholarship to at least three upper-level undergraduate or graduate students in English, photography, broadcasting, or writing-related programs at accredited U.S. schools. Qualifying candidates have high academic achievement, outdoor knowledge, and plans for outdoor communications careers.
Amount: $1,000-$5,000

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William C. Johnson Distinguished Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Funded by the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society, this scholarship goes to full-time enrollees in English or literature master's programs at accredited U.S. schools. Applicants need a 3.5 minimum GPA, active community service involvement, society membership, and organization of at least one significant society chapter activity.
Amount: Up to $6,000

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