In this article, we list the most affordable online master’s in English degree programs at top-ranked institutions for 2016.

Online master’s in English programs generally prepare students for careers as community college instructors, high school teachers, or trade-specific jobs like editors, journalists, or publishers.

Featured Programs

Many online programs cater to working students who require flexible classes due to life obligations. Students may enroll on a full or part-time basis and complete the online master’s in English literature, or a related program, in as little as 18 months.

Methodology

We reviewed 53 top ranked schools that offer an online master’s in English, English literature, teaching English, or a related program. We examined school rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. We then chose the 30 most affordable programs based on the most recent graduate tuition/fees listed by NCES College Navigator. The most affordable school is listed in our #1 spot.

Below are the 30 most affordable top ranked schools for an online master’s in English degree.

#30 – Wilkes University

Online Master’s in Creative Writing

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Website

Wilkes University - 30 Online Master's English

Wilkes University offers an online master’s in creative writing — great for the English enthusiast.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $23,280

Students interested in writing and looking for an alternative to an online master’s degree in English find Wilkes University’s creative writing program to be a suitable one. Students may choose from seven areas of concentration, including fiction, poetry, publishing, and screenwriting. Low-residency and weekender online programs are available, with limited residency requirements. According to the program website, members of the graduate community at Wilkes have gone on to write and produce plays, publish books, produce new films, and secure work as editors, teachers, and writer-related positions. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Wilkes as the 83rd best regional university in the North.

#29 – Western New England University

Online Master’s in English

Springfield, Massachusetts

Website

Western New England University - 30 Online Master's English

Study the great American literary works while enrolled in the online master’s in English at Western New England University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,482

The online master’s in English at Western New England University is a fully accredited program that is specifically designed for teachers with a passion for language arts and literature. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, along with academic or professional background equivalent to an English minor. Ten required courses (30 credit hours) are needed to complete the master’s degree program. Courses include advanced grammar, cultural-literary connections, great works of American literature, literary studies in modern American literature, teaching writing in the English curriculum, and the reading process in the English curriculum. Western New England is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 58th best regional university in the North.

#28 – Southern New Hampshire University

Master’s in English Online

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

Southern New Hampshire - 30 Online Master's English

The online master’s in English at Southern New Hampshire University is accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online master’s in English that emphasizes literature and critical analysis. The program is designed to prepare students for the pursuit of a doctoral degree or teaching positions at community colleges or secondary levels. Required courses include composition theory and teaching in writing, graduate studies in literary theory, topics in American literature, and topics in British literature. The institution is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 131st best regional university in the North and the #1 most innovative school. Other rankings include 90th among best colleges for veterans.

#27 – Mercy College

Online Master’s in English Literature

Dobbs Ferry, New York

Website

Mercy College - 30 Online Master's English

Mercy College offers a master’s in English degree program that is delivered 100% online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,514

Mercy College is one of the few online master’s in English literature degrees offered entirely as a distance-learning program. Required courses include literature groups, theory and practice of literary criticism, and writing and literary forms. A master’s thesis tutorial is required prior to the completion of the thesis. Thesis requirements include original research and a complete essay of 25 pages in MLA style. Upon successful completion of the program, students earn a graduate degree that may help them get into a doctoral or professional degree program, or achieve employment in various literary settings. Mercy College has been ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Rankings include several of the school’s online graduate programs.

#26 – Slippery Rock University

Online Master’s in English

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

Website

Slippery Rock University - 30 Online Master's English

Slippery Rock University offers an online master’s in English degree that equips students for law school.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,575

Slippery Rock University’s online master’s in English degree program is designed to equip students with the skills needed to work in fields of business, education, government, law, and technical writing. Courses are delivered entirely online with collaborative projects and field experiences required. Required courses include evolution of writing, introduction to writing in the disciplines, literary and cultural studies, researching academic and professional writing, and rhetorical theory. Slippery Rock is a regionally ranked institution, according to U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News lists the school as the 79th best regional university in the North and the 23rd top public school.

#25 – Murray State University

Online Master’s in Teaching English (TESOL)

Murray, Kentucky

Website

Murray State University - 30 Online Master's English

Murray State University offers an affordable online master’s in English designed for teachers.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,568

The online master’s in English degree program at Murray State University is designed for teachers who want to instruct English as a second language. The TESOL online program is offered part-time to students with off-campus requirements and life obligations. Students do not need to travel to campus to complete the program. Required courses for the non-thesis track include applied linguistics and professional practices, computer assisted language learning, language and culture, methods and materials for teaching, and testing and evaluation in second language teaching. Murray State is the 28th best regional university in the South, according to U.S. News and World Report. Additional rankings include #9 for top public schools and #23 for best colleges for veterans.

#24 – Arizona State University

Online Master’s in English

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Arizona State University - 30 Online Master's English

ASU offers an accredited and affordable online master’s in English degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,304

One of the more affordable online master’s in English programs is found at Arizona State University. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers an English program that may be completed entirely online. The program explores communication, critical thinking, and writing. Students interested in an online master’s in English literature also find the program suitable in preparing them for advanced study at the doctorate level. Required courses include approaches to research, composition theory, criticism and theory, and rhetoric theory. The program is accredited, and the school is nationally ranked. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks ASU as the 129th best national university. The graduate English school ranks #59 in the country.

#23 – National University

Online Master of Arts in English

La Jolla, California

Website

National University - 30 Online Master's English

National University’s online master’s in English emphasizes language and literature.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,962

National University offers an online master’s degree in English that includes advanced study in language and literature. Core requirements include classes in literary periods and movements, major author studies, and research and methodology. Students have the option of specializing in two available areas of study: gothic studies or rhetoric. A wide array of film theory and history classes is also available due to the school’s proximity to Los Angeles and Hollywood. National University is a private institution that has earned recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Many of the school’s online bachelor’s and graduate programs have earned national rankings.

#22 – Faulkner University

Online Master of Arts in Humanities

Montgomery, Alabama

Website

Faulkner University - 30 Online Master's English

Faulkner University combines Christian principles and literature in its online master’s in humanities degree program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,800

Faulkner University offers a unique program designed for those interested in online master’s in English programs. Combining Christian principles with the great books of the Western tradition, Faulkner offers a master’s in humanities that may be completed entirely online. Core courses include exploring religion, historical investigations, literary analysis, and philosophical inquiries. A thesis is required for completion of the program. Faulkner is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 54th best regional college in the South. Additional rankings include #33 among the best colleges for veterans.

#21 – Wayland Baptist University

Online Master’s in English

Plainview, Texas

Website

Wayland Baptist University - 30 Online Master's English

Wayland’s online master’s in English program prepares students for doctoral degree pursuits.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,740

Wayland Baptist University offers an accredited online master’s in English program that is designed to prepare students for further graduate or doctoral work, teaching, or related writing and research fields. A thesis and non-thesis track is available, and both require a written comprehensive examination. Students opting for the non-thesis track may choose to complete two additional courses to satisfy requirements. Required coursework includes advanced literary research, early American literature, eighteenth-century prose and poetry, modern American literature, sociolinguistics and discourse studies, and young adult literature. Wayland is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a regionally ranked institution in the West.

#20 – Morehead State University

Online Master’s in English

Morehead, Kentucky

Website

Morehead State University - 30 Online Master's English

Thesis and non-thesis options are available in the online master’s in English program at Morehead State.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,422

Morehead State University offers an online master’s degree in English that provides students with a comprehensive study of linguistics, literary works, and technical and creative writing. Thesis and non-thesis options are available depending on student preference. The online program is taught the same way as the on-campus degree, with the exception of delivery. Required courses include advanced fiction writing, American fiction, modern American poetry, Shakespeare, and theories of teaching writing. Morehead is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 61st best regional university in the South. Additional rankings include #25 for top public schools and #47 among best colleges for veterans.

#19 – University of Memphis

Online Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language

Memphis, Tennessee

Website

University of Memphis - 30 Online Master's English

The University of Memphis is a top-ranked school and offers an affordable online master’s in English designed for teachers.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,211

Teachers and students interested in online master’s in English literature programs may opt to earn an online master’s in teaching English from the University of Memphis. The program explores cross cultural issues, foreign language instruction, literature, and second language acquisition. Online courses are taught by faculty members with ten years experience teaching online. Successful graduates earn an MA in English or a certificate in teaching English. The University of Memphis is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as among the best national universities in the country. The graduate English school has earned recognition in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges.

#18 – Bellevue University

Online Master’s in Creativity

Bellevue, Nebraska

Website

Bellevue University - 30 Online Master's English

Bellevue’s unique twist on the traditional online master’s in English leads to an online master’s in creativity.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,900

Bellevue University is a private institution that offers an online master’s in creativity program that blends English literature, fine arts, and entrepreneurship. Successful graduates of the program earn an online MFA that encompasses a wide field of study. Required courses include art and value creation, art market awareness and creative planning, creativity and small enterprise basics, multiple perspectives of art and self-reflection, and the art of empathy and securing value. Students complete virtual residencies, as well as six credits of an on-campus residency. Bellevue has earned recognition from U.S. News and World Report as having some of the best online graduate programs in the country.

#17 – Ohio University

Online Master’s in English

Athens, Ohio

Website

Ohio University - 30 Online Masters English

The online master’s in English at Ohio University is perfect for secondary school teachers.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,510

Ohio University offers an online master’s degree English that is ideal for secondary teachers and students who want to study English-specific content while earning a graduate degree. Courses are seven weeks long and administered entirely online. Required classes include American literature 1865 to 1918, creative writing nonfiction workshop, medieval English literature, renaissance drama excluding Shakespeare, and rhetorical theories and teaching of composition. Students work on a master’s essay and are encouraged to link their research with classroom applications. While previously earned credit is accepted, most of the coursework is completed through the program. According to U.S. News and World Report, the school’s graduate English school ranks #82 in the nation.

#16 – Northern Arizona University

Online Master’s in English

Flagstaff, Arizona

Website

Northern Arizona University - Online Master's English

Northern Arizona University offers an accredited online master’s in English degree that’s great for those with a passion for literature.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,071

The online master’s in English degree program offered at Northern Arizona University is designed for those with a passion for literature. Required courses include introduction to research in literary studies, introduction to rhetoric and composition theory, literary criticism and theory, and five literature courses. Students may choose to focus on American Indian literature, Chaucer, British authors, classical literature, literary periods and genre studies, or women writers and feminist theory. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report recognize the university as a nationally ranked institution.

#15 – The University of West Florida

Online Master’s in English

Pensacola, Florida

Website

University of West Florida - 30 Online Master's English

The accredited online master’s in English at University of West Florida emphasizes literature.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,062

The University of West Florida offers online master’s in English literature degree program that specifically focuses on English and literature. Students may specialize in two areas of concentration: creative writing or literature. While the program is considered to be online, coursework is delivered in a synchronous fashion. This means students are required to attend live lectures off campus. Required courses include history of literary theory, introduction to advanced literary study, and topics in literary theory. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as among the best national universities in the country.

#14 – Bowling Green State University

Online Master’s in English

Bowling, Ohio

Website

Bowling Green State University - 30 Online Master's English

Bowling Green State offers one of the most affordable online master’s in English programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,996

One of the most affordable online master’s in English literature programs is offered at Bowling Green State University. The program offers three tracks for the online MA in English candidate, with specializations in English teaching, professional writing and rhetoric, and the individualized option. The individualized degree program is designed for students who do not want to teach English but are still interested in language and literature. Required courses for all specializations include introduction to linguistics and theory and methods of literary criticism. Bowling Green is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 185th best national university in the country. The school’s graduate English school ranks #113.

#13 – Louisiana Tech University

Online Master’s in English

Ruston, Louisiana

Website

Louisiana Tech University - 30 Online Master's English

Online English master’s degree students take classes in British literature and creative writing.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,893

For students interested in online master’s in English literature programs, Louisiana Tech University’s Department of English offers an advanced degree that is designed for qualifying students with an interest in language and literature. Graduate classes explore topics in American and British literature, creative writing, and even technical writing. In fact, graduate students have the option of earning an e-certificate in technical writing along with their master’s in English. Classes are taught online by the same distinguished faculty members who teach in the classroom. Louisiana Tech is ranked nationally by U.S. News and World Report. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, the school ranks #199 for best national universities. Additional rankings include #116 for top public schools and #157 for best colleges for veterans.

#12 – University of Central Florida

Online Master’s in English

Orlando, Florida

Website

University of Central Florida - 30 Online Master's English

The online MA in English degree program at University of Central Florida offers a technical communication track.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,872

One of the more affordable online English degrees is found at the University of Central Florida’s College of Arts and Humanities. The MA in English program is unique in that a technical communication track is offered. Required courses include methods of bibliography and research, production and publication methods, rhetorical theory, technical editing, and technical writing – theory and practice. Electives include English grammar and usage, graphics in technical writing, and persuasive writing. The program requires a thesis or non-thesis option, and comprehensive examination. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school as the 168th best national university and the 13th most innovative school in the country.

#11 – Hamline University

Online Master’s in English as a Second Language

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Website

Hamline University - 30 Online Master's English

Hamline University is known for offering one of the best online master’s in English in the country. Perfect for teachers!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,496

Students interested in online English degrees that focus on teaching may pursue the master’s in English as a second language at Hamline University. The program is offered entirely online and takes approximately 24 months to complete. The program is designed for innovative educators with a passion for teaching English to migrant and immigrant communities. Required courses include history of English, language and society, linguistics for language teachers, and second language acquisition. Hamline is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News lists Hamline as the 12th best regional university in the Midwest. Additional rankings include #15 for best value schools, #12 for best colleges for veterans, and #140 for best law schools.

#10 – Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Online Master of Arts in English

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Website

Northwestern State - 30 Online Master's English

Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers one of the more affordable online master’s in English programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,298

Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers one of the more affordable online master’s in English programs. Students enrolled in the global campus may earn an online MA in English following the thesis or non-thesis track. Five areas of concentration are available, including folklife/Southern culture, generalist, literature, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), and writing and linguistics. Northwestern is a regionally ranked institution, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 edition of Best Colleges. Several of the school’s online graduate programs are nationally ranked, including the graduate education program, which includes the TESOL English concentration track.

#9 – St. Cloud State University

Online Master’s in English (TESL)

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Website

St. Cloud State University - 30 Online Master's English

Students can get a master’s in English (TESL) online at St. Cloud.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,191

St. Cloud State University offers affordable online master’s in English programs designed for those with a passion for teaching English as a second language. Courses are delivered entirely online and taught by seasoned faculty members who regularly teach on campus. Required courses include ESL and culture, theories in second language acquisition, and writing center theory and practice. A culminating project, which consists of a 60-page thesis and two starred papers (30 pages each) are required to graduate from the program. St. Cloud State University is regionally ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 99th best regional university in the Midwest.

#8 – University of Louisiana at Monroe

Online Master’s in English

Monroe, Louisiana

Website

University of Louisiana Monroe - 30 Online Master's English

The online master’s in English program at University of Louisiana boasts flexibility and scheduling ease.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,005

One of the most affordable online master’s in English degree programs is found at the University of Louisiana Monroe campus. The program boasts online courses that offer flexible scheduling so that busy students, balancing life and work obligations, may earn their master’s degree. The program requires 33 hours of curriculum, which includes courses like creative writing, literary analysis, and professional and technical writing. Concentrations in creative writing and literary studies are available. The school is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 93rd best regional university in the South and the 47th top public school.

#7 – Emporia State University

Online Master’s in English

Emporia, Kansas

Website

Emporia State - 30 Online Master's English

Emporia State’s online master’s in English is affordable and accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,488

Like many online master’s in English literature programs, Emporia State University offers an accredited MA in English that emphasizes language, literature, and journalism. The program is designed to prepare students for teaching roles at community colleges, employment opportunities, or PhD programs at nationally ranked institutions. Required courses include literature written before 1830, literature written after 1830, and language, rhetoric, and criticism. At the end of the final term, the English degree candidate must submit a portfolio of work. The portfolio may include writing samples, papers, and a copy of the final thesis or project paper. Emporia State is a regionally ranked institution according to U.S. News and World Report.

#6 – Gardner-Webb University

Master’s in English Online

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Website

Gardner Webb - 30 Online Master's English

The online master’s in English at Gardner-Webb is a fast-paced program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,430

Gardner-Webb University offers one of the most affordable online master’s in English literature programs. The online MA in English degree program is designed for busy students who want to develop advanced skills in communication, critical thinking, and literary analysis. The program may be completed within six semesters, including two summer sessions. According to the program website, graduates have gone on to work in publishing, teaching, and writing. Gardner-Webb is a regionally ranked institution. According to U.S. News and World Report, the school ranks #41 for best regional universities in the South and #32 among best colleges for veterans.

#5 – Ohio Dominican University

Online Master’s in English

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Ohio Dominican University - 30 Online Master's English

Ohio Dominican delivers one of the most affordable online master’s in English programs on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,410

Ohio Dominican University offers one of the more affordable online master’s in English programs on our list. Classes are delivered entirely online and the degree may be completed in as little as 18 to 24 months. The degree program consists of 33 credit hours including required courses in American literature, British literature to 1800, cinema, fiction, graduate writing and research, and modernism and contemporary literature. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Ohio Dominican as the 85th best regional university in the Midwest and the 64th best college for veterans. The school’s graduate English programs have earned rankings in previous years.

#4 – Texas Tech University

Online Master’s in English

Lubbock, Texas

Website

Texas Tech University - 30 Online Master's English

Texas Tech University’s online master’s in English is delivered entirely online.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,390

Texas Tech University offers an online master’s in English that is delivered entirely via distance learning. Requirements for the program are the same for on-campus students, with courses in American literature, British literature, critical research, pedagogical methods, and writing for publication. Several areas of emphasis have recently been implemented into the program. These new concentration areas include book history, film and media studies, literature and social justice, and nineteenth-century studies. Texas Tech is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 168th best national universities in the country. The graduate English school ranks #125.

#3 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in English

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

East Carolina University - 30 Online Master's English

In-state students benefit from the affordable online master’s in English degree program at East Carolina University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,857

One of the more affordable online master’s in English programs on our list is available at East Carolina University. This unique program allows students interested in an advanced English degree to focus their studies on either technical and professional communication or multicultural and transnational literatures. Required courses include bibliography and methods, research design in rhetoric and composition, research methods in language study, and the writer’s perspective. East Carolina is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report lists the school as the 194th best national university in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges. Other rankings include #111 for top public schools and #154 for best colleges for veterans.

#2 – University of Texas at Tyler

Online Master’s in English

Tyler, Texas

Website

University of Texas Tyler - 30 Online Master's English

The accredited online master’s in English degree program at UT Tyler has a thesis and non-thesis option.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,142

The University of Texas at Tyler offers affordable online master’s in English programs with thesis and non-thesis tracks. Catering to the working student, the online English degree program is flexible, with courses delivered 100% online. Required courses include history of the English language, history and practice of rhetoric, literary theory and criticism, studies in creative writing, and topics in English. UT Tyler is regionally ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News lists the school as the 73rd best regional university in the West. The institution is also ranked as the 27th top public school in the nation.

#1 – University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Online Master’s in English

Odessa, Texas

Website

University of Texas Permian Basin - 30 Online Master's English

UT Permian Basin offers the most affordable online master’s in English degree on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,250

The University of Texas at Permian Basin offers an online MA in English degree program that is designed for busy students balancing work and life obligations. The program requires a flexible capstone where students choose to complete a thesis, scholarly article, or special project. Required courses include American literature, British literature, literature and mythology, special studies in literature (children’s literature), and studies in a major author like Shakespeare. A thesis or article research seminar may also be required. The university is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as among the best regional universities in the West. The school’s online master’s in English degree program ranks #1 on our list as being the most affordable and top ranked school.

This concludes our ranking of the the top ranked and most affordable online master’s in English degree programs for 2016.

By BMD Staff
Published July 2016

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