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What Are the Core Courses of an Online English Degree?

Aspiring English majors who can't attend classes on campus can obtain a bachelor's degree in English online. The core courses of an online English degree fit into three basic categories - English language, literature and writing - which we'll explore in this article.

Online English Degree Course Overview

If you're looking to obtain a bachelor's degree in English online, you'll want to know what courses to expect. In addition to required general education courses, an English degree program usually calls for core courses in literature, English language and writing.

Important Facts About This Degree

Continuing Education Graduate study in English literature, law, business, education
Possible Careers Copywriting, teaching, editing, public relations, technical writing
Prerequisites Admissions fees, transcripts, high school diploma or GED; in some cases, ACT or SAT scores or credit evaluation may be required
Degrees/Certificates Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature, Bachelor of Arts in English
Median Salary (2018) $62,170 (for writers and authors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% (for writers and authors)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Literature

Courses with a focus in literature make up a substantial part of an online English degree. These will expose you to famous authors and teach you how to read literature critically. Courses may include the following:

  • Literary Analysis is a course designed to teach students in an online English degree how to read both fiction and nonfiction texts in a scholarly way, understanding the subtexts and messages of the author.
  • Area Studies will zero in on literature in a specific area; for example, English literature, American literature or world literature. You might also take a course on a specific author, such as Shakespeare.

English Language

A second area of study focuses on the English language itself. These courses are designed to give you a general overview of more advanced aspects of English than might be covered in secondary education or learned by context.

  • History of the English Language prepares students for an online English degree by teaching them where English came from and how it has evolved.
  • Grammar is a foundational course teaching traditional grammar to students. In addition to helping students read English literature, it will also provide important instruction in writing.

Writing

Writing classes are intended to improve the basic compositional skills of students. Generally, writing courses will fit into specialized categories, like these:

  • Creative Writing lets you express yourself in fiction, poetry and drama.
  • Professional Writing teaches business communication skills and may include grant writing or technical writing.