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Words have the power to share knowledge and communicate emotions. They have the power to alter someone’s mood or inspire them ultimately. This is one of the reasons why learning about literature/creative writing is so important. It helps us use our written language, a useful instrument we frequently use, to create something that enlightens, instructs, and inspires.
A bachelor’s degree in English literature includes coursework that heavily requires students to read and analyze hefty tomes, from science fiction and speculative fiction to books that contain factual information. But reading thick books till your eyes cross is only one of many requirements for an online bachelor’s degree in literature.
Students with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature also analyze and discuss a range of books while learning about literary trends, eras, and critical philosophies that have influenced how we interpret literature today.
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To ensure that online bachelor’s degree students only receive the best online education, we have set some specific criteria for this ranking:
- Features an online English degree, with rigorous curricula, including Literary Composition, Literary Analysis, Contemporary Literature, and Writing courses that prepare students for career paths and/or graduate school,
- Full or partial distance learning format,
- An online learning environment that maximizes the tools and methods for collaborative learning and offers student services, tech support, and student resources, such as an online library and academic advisors,
- May offer fast-track online bachelor’s degree options,
- Allow Literary majors to customize their online english degree program with electives and concentrations that align with their future literature academic and professional goals,
- Offer financial aid opportunities,
- Develop critical thinking, creative thinking, and written communication skills required for the field of English literature,
- Appropriate accreditation to ensure the delivery of high-quality education,
- Recognition from Literary groups and associations.
To find out more about our process of selecting the best schools and programs, please visit our Methodology page.
9 Best Online Bachelor’s in Literature
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Location: Dartmouth, Massachusetts
UMass Dartmouth’s online Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Criticism allows students to transfer previously earned credits of up to 60% to the program.
Through an intensive curriculum, students will be challenged to study technical writing and literature and develop the necessary skills to determine and examine various forms of literature. Students have various electives to choose from, such as Postcolonial Literature and Theory and Special Topics in Rhetorical Studies.
Sample courses include:
- Intro to Literary Studies
- Intermediate Composition
- British Literature
- African-American Literature
- Contemporary American Poetry
The online english degree program’s coursework includes completing core and general education courses and several web-based activities. Some student support services include one-on-one personal advising, online and in-person tutoring, and writing centers.
University of Central Florida
Location: Orlando, Florida
The Bachelor of Arts in English – Literature at the University of Central Florida is among the best and cheapest online bachelor in English degree programs.
Online students receive the same on-campus curriculum, which requires students to study historical and contemporary literature, linguistics, rhetoric, and theory. The bachelor’s degree program provides students with courses to develop their research, communication, and technical and professional writing skills, which will help them express their unique ideas better.
Before graduation, students will choose one primary author course:
- Major American Author
- Milton and His Age
- Shakespeare Studies
- British Authors
- World Authors
Southern New Hampshire University
Location: Manchester/Hooksett, New Hampshire
The online Bachelor of Arts in English at Southern New Hampshire University allows students to transfer up to 75% of their previous credits. The school offers one of the best English literature degree programs with a generous transfer policy.
Students can customize their degree programs and choose major electives and concentrations based on their future goals. Popular concentrations/electives include Nature Writers, World Mythology, and The Black Literary Tradition.
Electives and concentration courses provide students with various workshop and hands-on learning opportunities, such as:
- English Internship
- Experiential Learning
- Fiction Writing Workshop
- Genre Studies
- Genre Writing Workshop
Graduates of SNHU’s literature undergraduate degree can easily enroll in a master’s degree program.
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Location: Denver, Colorado
Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Bachelor of Arts in English Major allows students to complete the program online or in a hybrid format. This online english degree program explores various courses from American, British, and world literature to cinematic media, opening doors for diverse career paths.
Students will have an extensive and varied curriculum with courses in Writing, Linguistic, Multi-Ethnic Diversity, Gender and Sexual Diversity, Global Diversity, and English Literature Electives.
Sample coursework for the Literature, Film, and Media Studies concentration includes:
- American Literature
- British Literature
- Perspectives on Literary Criticism
- Film and Media Studies
- Advanced Studies in Literature
- LGBT Literature
MSU Denver offers one of the best student support services. Students receive frequent one-on-one sessions with success coaches to help them devise a plan for future success. Additionally, online bachelor’s degree students can participate in various developmental opportunities, such as training and internships.
Arizona State University
Location: Tempe, Arizona
The Online Bachelor of Arts in English at Arizona State University offers a fast-paced learning format. Instead of having 14-15 week courses, students enroll in 7.5-week classes, allowing them to graduate in less than four years.
Students of this online bachelor’s degree program engage in a curriculum that thoroughly analyzes literature and language and rhetoric and writing to develop the abilities necessary for the field. Students will also encounter courses related to film and media studies.
Unique literature and language course offerings include:
- Love and Lust in Medieval Literature
- African-American Literature
- American Gothic
Graduates develop crucial cross-disciplinary skills, including comprehending, understanding, contextualizing, and communicating intricate concepts to particular audiences.
University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The online Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania offers various concentrations, one of which includes Literature, Culture, and Tradition with an English Literature course block, which explores various topics such as:
- Writing about Literature and Culture
- The History of English Literature
- Modern and Contemporary US Poetry
- American Revolution to the Civil War: Radical Literature
All mentioned courses are provided on an accelerated (8-week) basis in asynchronous classes. Students can also schedule some optional synchronous sessions.
The English literature course block helps students investigate interpretations of thought-provoking literature and help them practice critical thinking and communication skills. The curriculum’s design requires students to dive deep into the writing of a specific setting or sample a wide range of representative literary works and ideas.
Location: Town and Country, Missouri
The Maryville University – Online BA in English is for students who want to tell exciting stories to the world. The program offers courses that explore topics beyond the influential literary works of today; it also emphasizes courses that help students connect with their readers.
Some online programs teach students the discipline of creative writing, while others will teach them business writing techniques for various industries. Students can expect to complete the following courses:
- Writing for Rhetorical Situations
- Writing for Research and Argument
- Multicultural Voices in American Literature
- World Literature
- Advanced Creative Writing & Professional Writing
English majors also have the choice to broaden the breadth of their learning by choosing their own elective courses and participating in a writing internship. Moreover, this online bachelor’s in English will require students to complete a capstone course, allowing them to demonstrate their critical thinking and writing skills.
Florida International University
Location: Miami, Florida
Florida International University’s Online Bachelor of Arts English offers a Literature Track for students who want to explore literature within and beyond South Florida. The literature track is also offered as a minor.
English degree courses of the track include:
- American Literature Before 1900
- British Literature Before 1660
- Multicultural Literature
- Approaches to Literature
Students can also pursue Exile Studies and Film Studies certificates to enhance their resumes. The program also offers specialized courses that satisfy the requirements in various fields— such as Women’s and Gender Studies, Environmental Studies, Law, Ethics, and Society— to help students understand how historical and modernist literature and culture affect our daily lives.
Students can create their own unique writings through research papers, multimedia presentations, and group projects.
Location: Antioch University
Antioch’s Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies offers a Literature and Creative Writing concentration for students seeking a degree completion program.
Students develop their own unique talents through comprehensive online courses and hands-on writing practice. Students will also study significant and motivational examples from famous works of literature focusing on creative writing. Courses of the program include:
- History of the English Language
- Social Media & Social Change
- Creative Nonfiction
- Ecology, Technology & Society
- Reading and Writing in the 21st Century
Students will also be required to complete a Senior Capstone to demonstrate their readiness for the field of literature and creative writing. They’ll receive full support and guidance from academic advisors from enrollment until graduation.
See the following: Best Online Bachelor’s in Sociology
Common Career Paths for Literature Graduates
Although no one field takes precedence, English degree holders are frequently found where excellent written and verbal communication abilities are top requirements.
Graduates of English literature bachelor’s degree programs often become:
- Technical writers
- Public relations managers
- Social media managers
- Newspaper journalists
- Private tutors
What to Expect from a Literature Degree
Literature degrees are for people who enjoy reading books of various genres, dedicating significant amounts of time to reading and research, and can study independently and in groups.
The most typical literature study week involves:
- taking notes,
- reading various texts,
- consulting secondary sources,
- finishing any assigned homework for upcoming seminars, and
- attending numerous lectures and seminars.
Even during breaks from school, solo work is frequently intense and can take up to 30 hours each week. You’ll also often need to work independently, particularly as deadline season approaches.
It is a challenge to decide what to write about while writing for English assessments because you must critically analyze and go deeply into specific texts, theories, or ideas. This can be very tough, even for those who are passionate about works of literature.
Luckily, all colleges have systems in place to help students who feel overburdened by the task.
It’s crucial to call out and see what can be done if you feel that your degree is suddenly becoming too complicated or overwhelming to handle.
- Literary Criticism
- Early American Literature
- British Literature
- Literary theories
- World Literature
Skills You’ll Gain
- Creative skills
- Presentation skills
- Excellent academic research skills
- Excellent written communication abilities
- Explain concepts and hypotheses
- Generate and deliver ideas while working in a team
- Independently deepen comprehension of books, ideas, and theories
- Leading and taking part in conversations
- Proper referencing and citing practices in academic writing
- The capacity to evaluate and examine a variety of sources
- Understand how past and current literature affects society
- Understand many theoretical perspectives and literary critique methods
Benefits of a Literature Major
A literature major gives you a lot to work with and prepares you for various jobs thanks to its versatility, breadth, and complexity.
Overall, there are countless benefits to studying English literature, and you may take advantage of a wide range of chances with a degree in the subject.
As a literature major, you get to:
- study diverse contents,
- gain professional writing skills,
- gain various transferable skills,
- pursue various career paths upon graduation,
- pursue a graduate degree,
- capitalize on your interests, and
- gain a strong focus on independent thinking.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the highest-paid job for English Literature majors?
One of the high-paying jobs for literature majors is Public Relations Manager, which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has a median annual salary of $107,390.
What are the most common requirements for an online Bachelor’s in English Literature degree?
Colleges and universities will require applicants to possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. Prospective students will be required to submit their official high school transcripts. Some schools, however, may often require an A-level qualification in the English language or English literature, a minimum GPA, and SAT/ACT scores. History and politics are other humanities and arts subjects highly valued in the admissions process.
Key Points to Ponder
- Literature degree programs test your ability to think independently and analyze data; do not expect lecturers to spoon-feed your knowledge.
- Literature courses explain how societies are defined in relation to culture, nationality, race, ethnicity, and gender.
- Literature and English degree graduates have various job opportunities in industries and/or positions requiring excellent written and oral communication skills.
- Literature degrees are often task-based, requiring regular submissions of essays and articles. The combination of assessment methods utilized truly depends on the institution.
- Through a bachelor’s degree in English program, students complete valuable skills such as general education classes, professional communication, technical communication, problem solving skills, social sciences, writing studies, professional writing, and much more.
- In online english degree programs, you are also partially evaluated in some situations based on your contributions to group discussions.
- What’s next? Graduate school, of course!
Additional Resource: The Best In-Person Schools for Education Degrees