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Online Master's in English MA Degree

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Register By: October 09 Classes Start: October 11

Earn a Master's in English Online

  • $627/credit (36 credits)
  • Choose from a wide range of literary periods
  • Complete in as few as 15 months, or at your own pace
  • Culminates in a capstone course
  • Includes teaching writing course
  • 24/7 online access – attend class at your convenience

Online Master's in English Program Overview

Some people are born to play with code and go on to earn advanced IT degrees. Others love playing with words and feeding their endless appetite for learning. If you fall into the second category and see a master’s in your future, SNHU’s online MA in English may be your degree.

Aside from the personal goals a master’s in English might fulfill, its focus on enduring skills will appeal to potential employers. The degree expands analytical, creative thinking and communication skills, all highly valued and highly versatile in the workplace. The same skill set, for example, can be applied to complicated administrative or operational challenges.

It comes down to those analytical and communication skills, as they immediately translate in an employer's mind to transferable, applicable skills, according to author and Forbes contributor Martin John Yate.1

A groundbreaking 2019 study by the Strada Institute for the Future of Work backs this up.2 The study notes that “human skills are in high demand across many industries.” What are human skills and which matter most? The Strada report lists the top skills, in this order2:

  • Leadership
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity and critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Judgment
  • Ethics
  • Cognitive flexibility

Human skills are “the very capabilities that define us as human beings,” the Strada report goes on to explain.2 They’re also those least likely to become automated by robots – vital human skills that this master’s in English only enhances.

A master’s in English builds on the very skills a bachelor’s introduces. “A master's provides the same transferable core skills of critical thinking, research, analysis, reading comprehension, empathy and others,” said SNHU Associate Dean of Liberal Arts Dr. Christopher Lee.

Graduate students learn those skills at a “higher level of qualification for higher-level positions," said Lee.

Whether you work or aspire to work, in education, marketing, human resources, public policy or any number of other fields where problem-solving skills are in high demand, an MA in English goes well beyond reading the works of famous authors and analyzing layers of meaning. It can help you master critical thinking, enrich your subject matter expertise and multiply your earning potential.

Learn how to:

  • Use theoretical arguments in original interpretation of literary texts
  • Demonstrate expertise in a literary subject
  • Draw connections between literature and social/cultural history
  • Compose essays of depth that contribute to the field of study
  • Produce scholarship that promotes an appreciation for literature

Career Outlook

The online master’s in English expands your career possibilities in a number of writing-related fields, including:

  • Advertising, marketing and promotions
  • Public relations
  • Fundraising
  • Nonprofit administration
  • Technical writing

Median annual wages for writers and authors remain higher than the median wage for all occupations at $67,120 as of May 2020.3

Furthermore, by earning a master’s degree, you’ll be setting yourself apart from other job seekers. Just 11% of the labor force had a master’s degree in 2016, according to research by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.3 You’ll also increase your odds of attaining your career objectives: The BLS projects that occupations typically requiring a master’s degree for entry will grow the fastest, 18.4%, through 2022.3

The master’s degree in English also provides a required credential if your career path is teaching. The program’s curriculum includes coursework in the teaching of writing, as well as the option of a 3-credit internship. Though you will need additional certification or licensure to teach at the primary or secondary level, you’ll be prepared to start teaching for most community colleges or online courses at the undergraduate level.

Danielle Kaheaku with the text Danielle KaheakuDanielle Kaheaku '17 planned to teach when she applied to SNHU to earn her master's in English and creative writing. “I chose to go back to school after a decade of working in entertainment because I want the opportunity to work with future generations of writers, editors and teachers in an instructional capacity," she said.

The program’s Teaching of Writing course gave Kaheaku the essential foundation she needed. “The course gave deeper insight into teaching a multitude of learning styles within a classroom,” she said.

Aside from teaching, your online master’s in English can prepare you for a variety of roles, including:

  • Editor: While the job market for editors is competitive, you can improve your odds with the advanced skills earned through a master's. Opportunities range from helping aspiring authors write bestsellers to editing stories for online newspapers, magazines and other publications.
  • Survey researcher/analyst: The analytical skills you’ll develop in a graduate-level English program transfer well to survey research. Demand for this area of expertise remains steady in higher education and nonprofits as well as with the military or federal government, according to the BLS.3
  • 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.

It’s also worth keeping in mind one of the key findings of the Strada Institute for the Future of Work report: “There is a discernible labor market demand for agile and resilient thinkers who have a handle on digital literacies – basic technical skills like data analysis and digital fluency.”1

That bodes particularly well for those with a master’s degree in English and a strong fluency in social media marketing, digital advertising or blogging.

Start Your Journey Toward an Online English Degree

Courses & Curriculum

The online master’s in English curriculum is designed to strengthen your skills in the critical analysis of literature and provide a broad understanding of literary traditions. Our courses are taught by highly credentialed and accomplished instructors with deep insights into the field and a passion for literary pursuits.

The program provides a strong, in-depth foundation in British and American literary works. Traditional and nontraditional course topics include:

  • Graduate Studies in Victorian Literature: Nineteenth-century Britain brought industrialization, empire-building, new discoveries and social revolution. This course explores the social, political and intellectual changes reflected in the literature of the Victorian period. Featured authors include Tennyson, the Brownings, Dickens, Charlotte Bronte and Wilde.
  • Graduate Studies in Shakespeare: Study selected Shakespearian comedies, tragedies and history plays, as well as the Elizabethan era in which Shakespeare lived.
  • Graduate Studies in the American Renaissance: Examine literature from the early 1800s to the end of the Civil War in 1865. During this period, American literature developed a home-grown Romanticism influenced by European intellectual and aesthetic movements. Featured authors include Irving, Poe, Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Douglass, Dickinson and Whitman.
  • American Modernism: Explore important aspects of literary modernism in the context of American historical, social, technological, intellectual and political experience from the end of World War I to the 1950s. Study fiction, poetry and critical essays by major American authors and poets of the period.
  • Graduate Studies in Postcolonial Encounters: This course focuses on the interdisciplinary aspects of literature silenced by the colonial powers, voices known as “subaltern.” Students delve into notions of power and powerlessness, margin and periphery, first and third world, nationality, race, identity and globalization.
  • 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, novels and plays. Featured authors may include Booker T. Washington, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison.

Yvonne Pierre with the text Yvonne PierreYvonne Pierre ’17 said the knowledge gained from her MA in English courses has been invaluable to her. “I'm not only stronger as a storyteller; I know who I am as a writer,” she said. “I couldn't define that before I started.”

Danielle Kaheaku '17 credits her education at SNHU with giving her a new set of tools to pass on to her own students. It also made her more aware of “the nuances of thematic elements and devices in literature.”

Literary Theory was both Kaheaku’s favorite and most challenging course. “I realized that some of the theories were methods I was already using in my writing but had never before put labels on to organize my writing process, and then everything fell into place,” she said.

Your online master’s degree in English culminates in a capstone course. Students satisfy this requirement by completing a thesis, submitting a portfolio or passing an examination on English and American Literature.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Graduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour Annual Cost for 15 credits 
Degree/Certificates $1,881 $627 $9,405 
Degree/Certificates
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)
$1,410 $470 $7,050 

Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.

Additional Costs:
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ 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