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Online English Degree Bachelor of Arts (BA)

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Register By: January 02 Classes Start: January 04

Earn an Online English Degree

  • $320/credit (120 credits)
  • Transfer up to 90 credits
  • Choose from a range of courses
  • Use experiential learning to hone skills
  • No application fee
  • No SAT/ACT scores required

Online English Degree Program Overview

If English majors get a bad rap, why did so many of today’s greatest minds choose English degrees? Barbara Walters, John Legend, Steven Spielberg – the list goes on and on.

Do you have a talent for diving into a topic and finding intriguing connections? Do you have a natural curiosity, a love for learning and a passion for storytelling? If you answered yes to all of the above, you’re a perfect fit for SNHU’s online Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English Language and Literature.

As an English major, you’ll gain a vital skill set that’s highly sought after. That same skill set is also crucial to long-term career growth in virtually any field.

In a wide-ranging study by Burning Glass Technologies, writing ranked third among most requested “soft skills.” At the same time, 80% of employers voiced frustration at the lack of ability graduates demonstrated in this area.1 In nearly every industry, the ability to harness the power of the written word has emerged as one of the 21st century’s most critical career skills.

Like all liberal arts majors, English degree programs develop enduring skills that transfer easily to nearly every profession. This English degree focuses on many of the most valued skills highlighted in the Burning Glass Technologies report, including:

  • Attention to detail
  • Creativity and presentation skills
  • Collaboration and communication
  • Organization and research

As an English major, you might be asked to interpret implied meaning in a text or support an idea with a logical, organized argument. You might need to proofread a paper or research and document sources. You might make an oral presentation or team up with peers. In each case, you’ll be constantly improving these skills throughout your coursework.

“I think people don’t think as widely as they might about areas they can go into with an English degree,” said SNHU associate dean of liberal arts Dr. Christopher Lee. “Every professional career wants you to read something and have a comprehensive understanding of the material. Those are all the things that are learned studying English.”

Learn how to:

  • Build critical thinking, research and problem-solving skills
  • Develop cultural literacy across periods and places
  • Analyze literary form, genre, structure and style
  • Construct a logical, organized argument
  • Team up with peers on group projects

Career Outlook

This online English degree opens up a diverse range of career choices. You can take the traditional route and go into advertising, marketing or public relations. Or you can choose human resources, management, sales or nonprofit administration. With additional training and certification, you could also explore teaching as a career path.

Likewise, the program is an excellent springboard for graduate studies in history, political science or a master’s closely related to your English degree. Among your online options at SNHU are the MA Communication, MA English, MA English & Creative Writing and MFA in Creative Writing.

The online English degree curriculum provides built-in career opportunities, including:

  • Up to 6 credits in experiential learning or internship
  • 36 free electives that let you minor in an area that enhances your marketability, such as project management or professional writing

Even a handful of marketable skills can make a big difference in today’s job market. A 2019 study by the Strada Institute for the Future of Work found a consistent trend: Liberal arts majors commonly transition from their first job into high-skill, high-demand careers in marketing, advertising and public relations.2

The Strada study also showed a gainful pattern of career moves among liberal arts majors. Whether starting out in sales, office administration or journalism, large numbers of liberal arts graduates move into marketing, advertising or PR by their third job. Another sizable portion of liberal arts majors shift to management or human resources within the same timeframe.

Both groups tend to reach their peak earning years by their late 30s or early 40s. In fact, according to the Strada study, the income growth of that age group outpaces the majority of other majors, including business, healthcare, social sciences and even STEM degree holders.

Finally, keep in mind the fast rate of change in today's job market. As automation and artificial intelligence invade the workplace, skills like critical thinking and storytelling will be in even higher demand.

Lindsey Ranstrom with the text Lindsey Ranstrom“As more and more jobs become automated, new needs, new jobs and departments that haven't even been conceptualized, will emerge,” said Lindsey Ranstrom, an adjunct instructor and former career advisor at SNHU. “It is here that the liberal arts major will excel because of their ability to communicate and story tell.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with a bachelor's degree in English typically carve out career paths3 in one of three areas:

  • Copywriter or content writer: Copywriters and content writers often work for advertising or marketing firms but can also work as freelance writers. Copywriters develop a craft driven by ideas or concepts. They specialize in writing short copy, such as digital ads, email marketing campaigns and social media marketing. Content writers often write longer pieces such as blog posts, ebooks and white papers.
  • Public relations specialist: Working in public relations, either as a member of a large PR firm or a small private company, means being the main link between a business or agency and the general public. This requires communicating daily with internal and external groups, including customers and reporters. Job responsibilities include writing press releases, looking for opportunities to raise an organization’s profile and serving as a spokesperson.
  • Technical writer: Technical writers are responsible for the instruction manuals and other materials that communicate complicated technical information to a user. The task of technical writers is to translate specialized technical information into plain language for a general reader. In other words, they have to be able to understand the technical information and processes and then write about them in a non-technical way.

Projections for job growth vary by career path. However, the BLS projects 4% overall growth through 2028 – about as fast as the average for all occupations – for media and communications roles. Professionals who can create, edit, translate and publish information over various platforms should see steady demand. And at $59,230, the 2019 median annual wage for media and communication occupations remains higher than the wage for all occupations.3

Start Your Journey Toward an Online English Degree

Courses & Curriculum

Our online English degree courses are taught by accomplished instructors with deep industry insights and a passion for literary pursuits. Many are published authors. Some specialize in genres such as medieval literature or young adult fiction.

The curriculum includes a mix of literature and writing courses. Students have a wide range of freedom in choosing which literature courses are most appealing to them. Among the more popular options are:

  • World Mythology: An introduction to the study of mythology. Students read and discuss myths from western and non-western cultures. Students get to choose one culture's myth to concentrate on for a final project.
  • Nature Writers: An introduction to the prose and poetry of major British and American writers and naturalists since the 18th century. These writers observe nature vividly and write about humanity's relationship with the natural environment.
  • Romance, Revolutions and the Birth of the Novel: A survey course covering two periods in British history – the Enlightenment and Romanticism. The course covers various aspects of English literature, including the novel, the essay and satire. Themes range from civil liberties to sexuality and gender. Featured authors may include Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley and Byron.
  • Popular and Contemporary Fiction: Learn what makes a book a “bestseller,” from style and pacing to clever, memorable plots. This course explores a variety of literary sub-genres, including true crime, memoir, road novel, extreme adventure, western and roots quests. Themes range from individualism to race and violence in American culture.
  • Gender and Text: Learn how sexuality, sex, race, class, ethnicity, nationality, religion and other factors influence writers' depictions of gender. Topics may include women’s suffrage, feminism, third-world feminism, the LGBTQ community and queer theory. Featured authors may include Mary Wollstonecraft, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and Michael Cunningham.
  • The Black Literary Tradition: An overview of African-American literature, with glimpses into African and Caribbean literature. Literary genres include slave narratives, poetry, short stories, fiction and plays. Featured authors may include Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Dubois, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison.

This program also gives you a choice of creative writing workshops:

  • Playwriting Workshop
  • Poetry Writing Workshop
  • Fiction Writing Workshop
  • Nonfiction Writing Workshop

Dr. Christopher Lee with the text Dr. Christopher LeeDr. Christopher Lee, SNHU associate dean of liberal arts, points out that by reading great literature, students learn about other cultures and develop emotional intelligence and empathy. “There’s a large amount of self-knowledge you also gain,” he said. “You learn about yourself. You learn about humanity and history.”

Audrey Greathouse with the text Audrey Greathouse

Anchored by a curriculum that encourages collaboration, students also learn from each other. Audrey Greathouse ’15 earned her online English degree at SNHU and later went on to publish a bestselling novel, “The Neverland Wars.” She credits the program’s curriculum and her instructors with a large part of her success.

“With open arms and a brilliantly simple application process, SNHU welcomed me to a program that challenged me to think for myself, and think a lot!” said Greathouse.

Greathouse also attributes her success to the peer group she got to know throughout her studies. “For almost 3 years now, I have worked with the most ideologically tolerant and intellectually diverse collection of students I’ve ever known,” she said. “With manageable, but deeply intellectually challenging course loads in every class, I really do feel that I had an opportunity here that I wouldn’t have had with any other institution in the country.”

Talented and motivated seniors like Greathouse can petition to complete our BA in English with a senior thesis in literature. The 2-term research and writing project offers a graduate-level research and writing experience in American, British or world literature.

Curriculum Requirements & Resources

  • General education courses: All bachelor's students are required to take general education classes, if not obtained in prior coursework. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
  • Technology resources: We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
  • Earn credits for what you already know: Did you know certain work and life experience – like industry-recognized certifications, law enforcement training and math knowledge – could save you time and money? Learn how you could get credit for work or life experience.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Undergraduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour Annual Cost for 30 credits 
Degree/Certificates $960 $320 $9,600
Degree/Certificates
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)
$675 $225 $6,750

Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.

Additional Costs
No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

University Accreditation

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.

References