Welcome to your online guide to Master’s Degrees in English!
This site aims to provide useful resources on English degrees and careers.
From literature to linguistic studies, a Masters in English provides students with a broad background in theory and research, and can prepare you for a wide variety of careers.
There are also many accredited online program options for students interested in this area of study. You can earn a Masters in English online in less than two years in some cases, while other programs take three or four years. Once enrolled, you’ll participate in dynamic, diverse, and interactive online learning communities.
To get you started, our article section can help you learn about things such as:
- List of Top Poetry Websites
- What to expect from a Masters in English program
- Career options for English majors
- Helpful information on Reading , Writing, and Editing
If you’d like to get more information about a specific degree, feel free to browse our featured list of quality, accredited programs below.
A master’s degree in English is ideal for those who want to continue their education, while learning about writing and classic literature.
Prerequisites for a Master’s in English
You need a bachelor’s degree, but it does not have to be in English. Often students with a bachelor’s degree in writing, a foreign language or education obtain a master’s in English. For some programs, there may be a list of prerequisite courses needed to apply for the program, but this is usually just a few English literature and writing courses.
Many of these courses will have been covered in the first two years studying for any undergraduate degree. If you have not taken these courses, you can enroll in summer or mini-mester versions of the courses at a local community college or online in order to meet the requirements.
Some English master’s programs require writing samples. Most only require one, but a few will require up to three samples to see your work and point of view as a writer. You will also need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and submit this score to your potential school. Some master’s programs also require a letter of recommendation. This should be from a former supervisor or a professor.
How Do I Prepare for the GRE?
Online sources are available to help you study and prepare for the GRE. Practice tests online are a must to learn the exam’s format before going in to take the test. The GRE is a timed test, which can be stressful for students. Get an idea of how the test will work and the different sections well before it’s time for you to sit for the exam.
The GRE costs $120. It can be retaken if you feel you do not score high enough the first time. Give yourself enough time to retake the test when applying for a master’s program. Most applications for a master’s degree are due in December or January. You can register online to take the GRE. The GRE is administered at colleges and universities and photo ID is required to enter the exam.
How Do I Choose Someone for a Letter of Recommendation?
This person should know your work ethic and relationship to writing and studying English. This does not have to be a formal professor. If you participate in a local writing group or volunteer your services for a non-profit organization’s newsletter, these are excellent sources for a letter of recommendation. The length the person has known you matters less than how well they know your background in education, English or writing and can effectively explain why you are a great candidate for the program.
Can I Get a Master’s in English Online?
There are now many accredited online English programs to choose from at every level. Master’s programs for English often require fewer prerequisites than a traditional school. Some of these programs do not require the GRE or a letter of recommendation, only a set of prerequisite courses. Review master’s programs online to get an idea of what’s required from the individual program. Choosing an online program means you can continue working full time while going to school part time. All courses are completed online and students go on to work on their thesis during the latter portion of the program. Because of this independent study for a majority of the program, a master’s in English obtained online is not that different from going to school in a traditional setting.
What Classes Do You Taken for a Master’s in English Program?
A master’s in this subject is an extension of the courses taken during an undergrad program. A master’s in English focuses on composition, grammar and literature. The latter portion is a very intense part of a master’s in English program. Expect large amounts of reading and small essays or papers completed throughout the semester to reflect your thoughts on the literature assigned. Many classic literature books are available online for free, so students do not have to purchase these books. You will have to purchase books for a master’s degree in English. It is one of the few subjects in only degrees that has many hard copy books in addition to the online material learned.
Accreditation for Online Master’s in English Programs
Accreditation for any online degree is a must. Unaccredited programs are diploma mills that require little work from students and are not valid for work if you want to become a teacher or administrator. Pay careful attention to your program’s accreditation. Accredited programs usually have the accreditation source on the home page. If not, set up a meeting with a school advisor.
Ask many questions about the prospective program, including how long it’s been accredited and how long professors have taught online classes. There are many traditional schools that offer online master’s degrees. These programs are accredited by the same sources as the brick and mortar school and offer students many resources such as computer labs, tutorials and study groups. This is something to consider when choosing which online program is right for you.
What Kind of Job Can I Have with a Master’s in English?
Most students who study English go on to become teachers, but there are other career avenues one can take. A master’s in English can prepare you for a job as a writer, editor or proofreader. You can work writing copy, press releases and other product-related material for companies. You may be on staff with this position or work freelance. Many English majors work in the publishing industry, as a proofreader, editing or handling administrative duties.
There are publishing companies for textbooks, trade and scholarly journals, all which require proofreaders and editors. These positions often start out at the entry level, even for those with a master’s degree. Do not expect a high paying editor position because of your degree. People tend to work as editors for a periodical or publication for their entire careers, so it is the norm for someone with a master’s to work as an assistant in publishing.
Can I Teach College Literature or English with a Master’s Degree?
To teach at the university level, you need a PhD in the English. However, many community colleges hire people with a master’s degree to teach literature and English courses. You may also qualify to teach creative writing or technical writing courses, depending on your work experience. You may work part time at a community college, which allows you to pursue your PhD if you wish to teach at a university. Keep in mind that all of these positions can be difficult to come by.
Professors at both community colleges and universities tend to stay at their jobs for a very long time. The baby boomer generation retiring will open doors for many new instructors, but this may not be widely available in every area. Remember this when considering to teach at a college or university.
Can I Teach High School with a Master’s Degree in English?
Although you hold a high degree, you do not automatically qualify to teach high school or any level of school. All states require teachers take a certification test in order to teach. Schools that are in need of teachers often allow a person to begin to teaching, while participating in teaching certification courses and prepping for the state exam.
You are hired under contract for a limited time, which is usually a semester, six months or one school year. Within this time, you’re expected to complete courses and pass the state exam for teaching. In the United States, there is a need for bilingual and ESL teachers at nearly every grade level. While this need was once limited to states like Texas and California, it is now expanding to the Midwest where districts are experience large numbers of Hispanic students who need to learn English at school.
What Other Skills Do I Need to Work with a Master’s of English?
While you do not have to double major in Spanish, it is useful to be fluent in the language. There is a need for bilingual and ESL teachers, but also online content is growing substantially for Spanish speakers. Major news and information sites that are well-respected in the online community are creating Spanish outposts to reach an untapped demographic.
Writers will be able to work in this field developing content, proofreading and editing, just as with English sites. While the rules and mechanics of Spanish is different, you are still utilizing your communication skills which flow naturally provided you are fluent in the language.