Online Master's Degree in English Literature

An online master's degree in English literature may help you become an author, editor or college instructor if you don't have time for an on-campus program. Learn about program content, requirements and outcomes. Schools offering English Language & Literature degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Involved in an Online English Literature Master's Degree Program?

Online English literature master's degree programs typically have similar curriculum requirements as traditional programs. As an online student, you will have a more flexible schedule, engage in slightly different learning modalities and access online materials from any location where you have a computer and Internet connection.

The online Master of Arts in English Literature degree plan gives you a solid base of knowledge in classic English and American writers, literary concepts and English-related theories. You will read and write a great deal for this degree program and participate in Internet discussion forums created by your instructors. You will turn in assignments and take exams through electronic course management systems. Some online master's programs in English literature require you to take a final comprehensive exam.

Key Topics Literary concepts, English literature theories, English and American writers
Common Courses Nonfiction, linguistics, fiction, poetry, hypermedia
Other Requirements Depending upon the program, a thesis project may be required for graduation
Post-Graduation Opportunities Doctoral degree in English literature, a creative writing Master of Fine Arts degree, or teaching on the college level
Median Salary (2018)$62,170* (for writers and authors)
Job Outlook (2016-26)8% growth* (for all writers and authors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study?

Not only will you explore the major writers of the English language, but your coursework will cover a wide expanse of literary periods from medieval to postmodern literature. Your courses examine different writing genres, including fiction, nonfiction and hypermedia, as well as literary forms such as novels, novellas, short stories and poetry. You will discuss conceptual topics, such as reason, imagination, essay perspectives and theories of expository writing. Other course topics may include:

  • History of English drama
  • Identity in American literature
  • Linguistics
  • Literary criticism
  • Contemporary literature
  • African-American literature

Do I Have to Complete a Thesis?

Just like many of its on-campus counterparts, an online master's in English literature may require the completion of a thesis project. You will be expected to draft a formal proposal of your original thesis topic. Upon completion, your master's thesis is typically reviewed by a faculty committee who may offer final revision suggestions.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

English literature is a broad topic that can lead to a wide variety of opportunities. For example, your degree prepares you for doctoral-level studies in English or a related field, as well as MFA programs in creative writing. A master's degree in English literature may qualify you to teach English at the community college level. You will also have stronger skills in oral and written communication, research, critical thinking and problem solving, which are all essential tools to excel in professional fields.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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