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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: English Literature

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for English Literature

Value
Southern New Hampshire University is ranked No. 627 on PayScale.com‘s list of the best schools for value. It has a return on investment of 4.9% without financial aid and 5.8% with financial aid. It is also ranked by U.S. News & World Report as No. 110 on a list of the best regional universities in the north. Southern New Hampshire University therefore wins the award for the best English literature master’s degree for value.

Flexibility
The winner of the best online English literature master’s degree for flexibility is Southern New Hampshire University. Because it provides alternatives to campus-based classwork, Southern New Hampshire University ensures that all students have access to education — even if they have a lot of family and work obligations. Southern New Hampshire University also prides itself on offering credit opportunities for different forms for training and experience, including military training.

Career Support
Mercy College wins the award for the best online English literature master’s degree for career support. It offers career placement assistance, the opportunity to work while earning credit, and help with career planning and resume writing. It also provides a student worker program that allows students to work flexible hours on campus around their schedules.

Financial Support
Heritage University offers multiple opportunities for financial aid. In particular, most of its undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid and 94% receive a grant or scholarship, the National Center for Education Statistics reports. Heritage University’s online English master’s degree with a specialization in English literature therefore wins the award for best financial support.

Technology Support
Southern New Hampshire University has a technology support website that alerts students about service outages. Students can also utilize the website to get answers to commonly asked questions and to request assistance. Southern New Hampshire University therefore wins the award for the best online English literature master’s degree for technology support.

Disability Support
Southern New Hampshire University believes in giving all students the equal opportunity to pursue higher education. It therefore provides disability services, which can be found on its website. Students can also use the website to contact the office and download important documents. Southern New Hampshire is therefore the winner for best disability support.

Library and Research Support
Southern New Hampshire University has library services that are geared toward its online learners. Students can conduct research, search catalogs, and contact staff for assistance. The library can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Southern New Hampshire University therefore wins the award for the best online English literature master’s degree for library research and support.

Learning Support
Southern New Hampshire University provides academic advising and career counseling for its students. It also has a learning center that offers tutoring, mentoring, and seminars. Southern New Hampshire University’s dedication to providing students with opportunities for extra assistance makes it our winner for best learning support.

Faculty Accessibility
Heritage University wins the award for faculty flexibility. In addition to having a faculty body that is invested in student progress, Heritage also keeps classes small. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the student-to-faculty ratio is 9-to-1.

Alumni Engagement
Southern New Hampshire University has a comprehensive alumni website that seeks to keep alumni involved in university events and activities. Alumni can utilize the website to interact with other alumni, plan their careers, and access social networking pages. Southern New Hampshire University therefore wins the award for best alumni engagement.

Prior Learning Options
At Southern New Hampshire University, students have multiple options for earning college credit. In addition to taking classes, students can also receive credit for military training and life experience, according to the school catalog. Southern New Hampshire University is therefore the winner of the best online English literature master’s degree for prior learning options.

New Online Student Orientation
Southern New Hampshire University provides an orientation for online students. It includes tutorials, IT help, and tips for success. Students also have access to handbooks and self-assessments that will help them determine if they are ready for online learning. Southern New Hampshire University therefore wins the award for best new online student orientation.

Explore a Master’s Degree in English Literature

Online master’s degree programs in English literature primarily prepare students for careers as English teachers at the high school or community college level. Those interested in teaching at a four-year college or university will need to complete a Ph.D. program after they have earned their master’s degree. However, English literature graduates also have the critical-thinking, communication, and research skills necessary to work in industries such as journalism, public relations, and media. With an increasing demand for workers with a strong foundation in the liberal arts, employers are beginning to see English literature majors as valuable in a variety of positions.

Online students have the flexibility to adjust their class schedule to fit the demands of their personal and professional lives. Since students can enroll full or part time and the number of classes they choose to take each term can vary, the average time to completion ranges from two to three years. Other factors that can influence the time it takes to complete the degree program include any applicable transfer credits brought in, and whether or not a student remains continuously enrolled.

Class Curriculum

Most master’s degree programs in English literature will include a variety of survey, seminar, research, and workshop classes. Common topics of discussion include, but are not limited to, literary theory, linguistics, technical communication, cultural studies, film studies, creative writing, and theatre. Graduate students will typically focus their studies in an area of specialization such as a specific historical period or cultural concentration. Some example courses are listed below:

  • Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism. This survey course will explore the major movements and figures throughout the history of literary criticism. Discussions will also cover the strengths and weaknesses of current trends in criticism.
  • Search for Identity in American Literature. Students will learn about the formation of 19th century liberal ideals, including personal identity and freedom. Focus will be given to the emergence of these values in American culture and literature.
  • History of Drama in English. This class will explore dramatic works throughout history from the medieval times to modern theater. Discussion will focus on to the cultural significance of the plays given the historical epochs they were written in.

Typical course work for this type of program includes research papers, analytical essays, presentations, and creative writing pieces. Since many students will pursue careers in teaching, a certain number of hours working as a teaching assistant may be required. At the end of the program, students will need to complete a master’s thesis, demonstrating a culmination of the knowledge and skills they have learned throughout the program.

Building a Career

While many graduates will pursue careers in teaching, English literature majors are equipped with strong critical-thinking and communications skills, making them valuable to a variety of employers. A few possible career options include journalism, publishing, public relations, or media. For those hoping to teach at the college or university level, a Ph.D. is required. However, some two-year colleges will hire instructors with only a master’s degree.

The demand for postsecondary teachers is expected to increase by 17% over the projection period of 2010 to 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is slightly faster than the projected growth of 14% for jobs overall during that timeframe. In 2011, the mean annual wage for English language and literature teachers was $68,760. Instructors at technical and trade schools earned a mean annual wage of $51,010, according to the BLS. Please keep in mind, though, that actual starting salaries and available positions can vary based on level of experience, education, location, the specific employer, and the general economic climate.

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