Why This Matters


    According to data from O*NET, more than 70% of those working as communications teachers have at least a master’s degree, and another 17% went on to pursue education at the Ph.D. level.


    Earnings and job stability increase as educational attainment rises. Workers who have a master’s degree earn $1,497 per week on average compared with $1,248 per week for bachelor’s degree holders.


    The growth of higher education and the expansion of certain sectors, such as science and technology, are driving employment demand for specific roles adjacent to English. For example, jobs for technical writers are growing 7% over the next decade and jobs for postsecondary teachers are growing 9% over the same span.

Our Research

This list focuses on graduate programs related to English that offer a master’s degree. Most master’s degree programs award a Master of Arts in English degree. Some programs offer a Master of Arts in English and Literature. We reviewed programs that are offered online and in hybrid formats.

To ensure the quality of the programs, all schools on our list are regionally or nationally accredited institutions. Several programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which assesses colleges in the central United States based on factors like academic mission, ethics, teaching and learning, and resources.

  • 73 hours to write this article
  • 68 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 83 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Master’s in English Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Those who earn a master’s degree in English are uniquely equipped to succeed in a broad range of fields, including education, publishing, marketing, media, and writing. The job outlook for those who earn this degree, therefore, varies based on your chosen career path. Jobs for editors, for example, are projected to decline over the next decade while jobs for technical writers are growing.

Likewise, the type of certification or licensure you may need to pursue after obtaining a master’s degree will be based on your job. A master’s degree in English may qualify you for teaching positions at a community college. To win a tenure-track position, however, graduates typically need a terminal degree, such as a Ph.D. Teaching at the primary and secondary levels often requires teaching certification.

Your career goals and individual interests can help you decide what type of graduate program to pursue. Programs that are similar to a master’s in English include a master’s in journalism, master’s in education, and master’s in creative writing.

Whichever path you choose, it’s important to look for a program that has achieved accreditation, which gives an institution and its graduates credibility with other institutions and employers. Look for programs accredited by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online master’s in English programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most master’s programs in English require candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited college or university. Many programs ask applicants to submit undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Before applying, check the program’s admissions requirements to confirm that you meet their qualifications.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? The amount of time it takes to complete a master’s degree program in English depends on several factors. However, full-time students usually earn a master’s degree in two years.

As you research programs, note which application materials you must submit for each program. You should also keep track of application deadlines. This information can be found by reviewing the school’s website or by contacting their admissions department.

You should also consider how you will finance your graduate education. Tuition and fees vary by program. Some funding opportunities may include scholarships, loans, and grants. If you’re employed, you should also ask your employer about educational assistance programs.