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English
Degree Programs

English & Degree Programs

Article Sources
  • Why Study English? Barbara Newman, Northwestern University, Accessed August 2017, http://www.english.northwestern.edu/about/why-study-english.html
  • Clear Writing Requirement, Marlboro College, Accessed August 2017, https://www.marlboro.edu/academics/undergraduate/clear-writing
  • Fast Facts, University of Mary Washington, Accessed August 2017, http://www.umw.edu/about/
  • English Major & Minor, Truman State University, Accessed August 2017, http://www.truman.edu/majors-programs/majors-minors/english-major/
  • Department of English, Hunter College, Accessed August 2017, http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/english
  • Department of English, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Accessed August 2017, http://www.smcm.edu/english/
  • Department of English, University of North Carolina at Asheville, Accessed August 2017, https://english.unca.edu/
  • Programs of Study, Florida State University, Accessed August 2017, http://admissions.fsu.edu/majors/
  • English, New Paltz, Accessed August 2017, http://www.newpaltz.edu/ugc/las/english/
  • Department of English, General Literature and Rhetoric, Binghamton University, Accessed August 2017, https://www.binghamton.edu/english/
  • English, The University of Iowa, Accessed August 2017, https://admissions.uiowa.edu/academics/english
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Writers and Authors, Accessed August 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/writers-and-authors.htm
  • 5 Scholarships for English Majors, Allison Wignall, College Raptor, Accessed August 2017, https://www.collegeraptor.com/paying-for-college/articles/scholarships/scholarships-for-english-majors/
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In a world in which much of our communication has been reduced to 140 character tweets or emoji-filled texts, businesses in almost every industry are looking for workers who can help them effectively convey ideas. English majors have just that skillset. They are taught how to read critically, write coherently and communicate confidently -- all things that are in high demand today.

Most English degree programs last four years and culminate in a Bachelor of Arts degree. Some students may go on to study at the graduate level to specialize their skills in writing, communication or literature. However, for many occupations, a bachelor's degree is sufficient.

While some degree fields require on-campus study, English lends itself well to distance education. Online English degrees can be earned at many colleges and universities. For those who need flexibility but still enjoy classroom interaction, hybrid or blended programs include both forms of learning.

Best Colleges for English Degree Programs

English is a major offered at virtually all liberal arts schools, but not all programs are created equal. To determine the best schools for English degrees, we looked at factors such as tuition and graduation rates as well as the prominence of a school's English program. Here are the ten schools that rose to the top.

Methodology
1Marlboro College+
ADMISSION RATE
94%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
N/A
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

A small, private school in Vermont tops the list of best colleges for English degree programs. Marlboro College enrolls less than 500 students at both the undergraduate and graduate level and emphasizes interdisciplinary studies that are student designed.

The school tops the list, in part, because of its range of education options. Students at Marlboro College must complete a Plan of Concentration to graduate but have the freedom to combine multiple fields of study. Therefore, students can earn a degree in English-related fields such as writing and literature while also studying psychology, philosophy, religion or any other field that interests them.

Marlboro College's Clear Writing Requirement is another aspect that sets Marlboro College apart from other institutions. The school requires the development of a portfolio of writing samples within a student's first three semester to further hone students' English skills.

Additional Info
2Truman State University+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
N/A
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
2

Named for the former president, Truman State University lands in the number two spot on this list of best colleges for English degrees. The school, is located in Kirksville, Missouri, and notes it is the state's only highly selective public liberal arts and sciences university.

All students at Truman are expected to take classes that let them walk away with essential skills in writing and speaking. English majors also get to choose from 100 course options that delve into everything from classical literature to modern issues. The college offers an English major and minor as well as master's degrees in English and fine arts.

Truman State University is also notable for ranking fourth among the schools on this list for both its affordable tuition and its graduation rate.

Additional Info
3University of Mary Washington+
ADMISSION RATE
83%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

At the University of Mary Washington, new students participate in the First-Year Experience which includes a common read and a seminar class intended to improve writing, speaking and critical- thinking skills. It's just one feature that helped propel the university to a spot in the top three best colleges for English degrees.

Within the English major program, students are challenged with a curriculum that explores great literature of the past and instructs on the modern craft of digital storytelling and reporting. Students at the University of Mary Washington can also create their own special majors such as journalism and digital media studies.

The University of Mary Washington is located in Fredericksburg, Virginia and enrolls approximately 4,000 undergraduate students.

Additional Info
4CUNY Hunter College+
ADMISSION RATE
39%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$65
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Located in the heart of Manhattan, Hunter College is part of The City University of New York system. It's not only notable for its excellent English program but also for having the third best tuition rate among the schools on this list.

The college's English department offers a bachelor's degree in English that includes a concentration in English literature. At the graduate level, there is a master's degree in English that covers both American and British literature.

Hunter College has 1,100 undergraduates and 200 graduate students enrolled in its English programs. The college takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject and encourages students to explore their work from multiple perspectives. Students have access to a reading/writing center and can contribute to The Olive Tree Review, the school's literary magazine.

Additional Info
5St. Mary's College of Maryland+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Despite its name, St. Mary's College of Maryland is a secular institution and a public honors college. It was founded in 1840 in what was once the capital of Maryland: St. Mary's City. Today, the school offers a liberal arts education to more than 1,600 students.

The English department shines through its approach to integrating literature with creative writing. Students are encouraged to explore the work of authors from a variety of historic and cultural backgrounds and then develop their own writing skills. The VOICES Reading Series at St. Mary's College of Maryland has been bringing authors to campus to read and discuss their work for nearly 40 years.

St. Mary's College of Maryland doesn't award any online degrees for English, but it does have both an English major and minor available on its campus.

Additional Info
6University of North Carolina at Asheville+
ADMISSION RATE
79%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$75
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The University of North Carolina at Asheville is an affordable choice for English majors. The school ranks second on this list for its tuition rate.

Beyond the price, the school's robust English department makes it an attractive option. Within its bachelor's degree in literature, there are three concentrations: creative writing, creative writing with teaching licensure and literature with teaching licensure. Literature and creative writing concentrations are also available within the English minor.

Regardless of their concentration, all students participate in a First- Year Writing course which is designed to expand and strengthen writing skills for the years to come. Alumni of the school include popular author Sarah Addison Allen.

Additional Info
7Florida State University+
ADMISSION RATE
56%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$30
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
13

Florida State University not only has a quality English program, but it ranks high for affordability and does a good job of helping its students graduate on time. The university has the lowest tuition rate of schools on this list and the second best graduation rate.

At its Tallahassee campus, English majors can choose from three different undergraduate programs. These include degrees in creative writing, literature and editing, writing and media. The school offers graduate degrees in English, literature and creative writing as well as a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.

Florida State University offers its English students a number of resources to improve their writing and the opportunity to showcase it in one of several departmental publications. These include The Southeast Review, Kudzu Review and a podcast series.

Additional Info
8SUNY New Paltz+
ADMISSION RATE
42%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

The New Paltz campus of The State University of New York system takes the number eight spot on this list of best colleges for English degrees. The English department at the school offers students the opportunity to explore several education tracks as they learn how to improve both their writing and critical- thinking skills.

All New Paltz students start their education with a Writing Intensive course designed to provide the skills needed to successfully complete the other English degree requirements. Then, the 8-semester plan for English majors introduces students to American literature, British literature and critical practices in their first two years while allowing them to explore electives for most of their upper division requirements.

This SUNY New Paltz has its campus, based in New Paltzand enrolled more than 6,700 undergraduates in 2016.

Additional Info
9SUNY at Binghamton+
ADMISSION RATE
42%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$50
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
0

Another SUNY school with a solid English department is The State University of New York at Binghamton. What's more, the university has the best graduation rate of all the schools on this list.

More than 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in classes at this university. The Department of English, General Literature and Rhetoric is housed within the Harpur College. Its undergraduate program offers concentrations in global culture, rhetoric and creative writing. At the graduate level, students can earn a master's degree in English/American literature or a master's degree in English with a creative writing concentration.

London is a popular destination for English majors at SUNY at Binghamton who want to study overseas. The school also hosts a biennial Writing by Degrees Literary Conference which is another draw for those studying English.

Additional Info
10The University of Iowa+
ADMISSION RATE
81%
TEST REQUIREMENTS
Required
APPLICATION FEE
$40
NO. OF ONLINE PROGRAMS
12

Boasting a population of more than 33,000 undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students, The University of Iowa is the largest school in this ranking. It is known for having robust athletic and academic programs.

The English program at The University of Iowa is focused on both writing and literature. Every student within the major takes at least one writing course and seven literature courses. Those are complemented with elective options spanning topics such as critical theory, cultural studies and specific forms of creative expression. Students can pursue a concentration in publishing or earn their teaching licensure along with a bachelor's degree in English.

The University of Iowa also hosts the nationally renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop and International Writing Program and Iowa City, where its campus is based, has been named a City of Literature by UNESCO.

Additional Info

English Degree Programs and Common Career Paths

English majors learn skills that can be applied across virtually all industries. However, there are a few common career paths pursued by students who graduate in this field. Here's a closer look at the occupations favored by graduates with a four-year degree in English.

Bachelor's degree programs in English
The curriculum for four-year degrees is designed to help students learn how to communicate effectively. Upon graduation, they should know not only the basics of grammar and composition, but also how to think critically and research efficiently. Those with a passion for writing may then go on to pursue the following career options.
Proofreader/Copy Marker:
Proofreaders, also called copy markers or copy editors, are responsible for reviewing writing drafts and checking for grammar, syntax or typographical errors.
Editors:
Editors may do proofreading as part of their job, but their duties are more comprehensive. They may be responsible for fact-checking, developing story ideas with writers and setting the editorial schedule for a publication.
Writers and Authors:
Writers and authors create content for magazines, websites and other publications. They may also write novels, screenplays and scripts for a variety of mediums. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports two-thirds of writers and authors were self-employed in 2014.

Career Outlook for English Majors

The skills learned in English degree programs can be valuable in a number of fast-growing occupations. Here's a look at the career growth for some common choices of English majors, but students should remember their skills may be transferrable to a number of jobs.

JOB TITLE
AVERAGE SALARY($)
EMPLOYMENT
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
Interpreters and Translators$51,26051,35028.7%
Postsecondary Teachers$81,8801,530,01011.7%
Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary$73,75028,72010.9%
English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary$76,14071,27010.4%
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
NOT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR?
DID YOU KNOW
The field of english major has become the most popular area of concentration at both the undergraduate and graduate level during the past thirty years.

Financial Aid and Scholarships in English

While financial aid differs by institution, students may find the English department at their college or university has scholarship opportunities for new and returning students. Plus, there are national scholarship programs specifically for those studying English and related fields. These include ACES Scholarships, the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship and others.

ACLS/New York Public Library Fellowship
Applicant must identify specific resources and benefits to be gained from affiliation with the Center for Scholars and Writers. Applicant must be selected by both ACLS Committee and the New York Public Library. Applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system (OFA). OFA is accessible through the Fellowship and Grant Programs section of the web site. Applicant must apply separately to the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library (csw@nypl.org). More

AWARD AMOUNT

$65,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

September 28

 

 

Davidson Fellows Scholarships
Applicants must be under the age of 18 and be able to attend the awards reception in Washington, DC. In addition to the monetary award, the institute will pay for travel and lodging expenses. Three nominator forms, three copies of a 15-minute DVD and additional materials are required. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$50,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

February 12

 

 

Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship
Applicants must have completed all pre-dissertation requirements. The dissertation can be in any field and must deal with the study of ethical or religious values in some area of human endeavor. Applicants working on D. Min., law, and other professional degrees are not eligible. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$25,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

November 12

 

 

Oratorical Contest Scholarship
Applicant must be a winner of the Nebraska Department Oratorical Contest. More

AWARD AMOUNT

$18,000

APPLICATION DEADLINE

Varies

 

 

Q&A with an expert

Kerri Gois
Marketing coordinator at Broadbandsearch.net
Q:

What are some jobs suitable for English degree graduates that students might not be aware of?

A:

Aside from the obvious jobs in underwriting and editing, looking into tech companies is huge. Search Engine Optimization is a huge industry that benefits from English majors because of the large quantities of content required to optimize websites and copy.

Q:

Are there particular minors or extracurriculars that can enhance an English grad's employability?

A:

I think a minor in finance would be very useful. A lot of banks and financial institutions need marketing writers and those who can create marketing plans and strategy, but applicants need the understanding of the financial industry.

Professional Organizations

Often referred to simply as The Guild, this is the oldest and largest professional organization for writers.
As a local union within the United Auto Workers, the NWU represents writers, authors and editors across all specialties.
Founded in 1997, ACES is organization of editing professionals, educators and students.
Article Sources
Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.

Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.

  1. In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  3. Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  4. Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
    • Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
  5. Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  6. Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
    • Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
    • Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
    • Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
    • Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
    • Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
  7. Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
  8. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
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Florida State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
222 S. Copeland Street
City
Tallahassee
State
FL
Zip Code
32306
Website
www.fsu.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
560-640
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
560-640
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
560-640
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
25-29
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
32,706
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$30
Admission Rate
56%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,507
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
25
Number of Online Programs Offered
13
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
31%
University of Iowa
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
101 Jessup Hall
City
Iowa City
State
IA
Zip Code
52242
Website
www.uiowa.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
460-630
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
540-690
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
23-28
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
23,357
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$40
Admission Rate
81%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$8,104
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
15
Number of Online Programs Offered
12
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
41%
St Mary's College of Maryland
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
18952 E. Fisher Rd
City
St. Mary's City
State
MD
Zip Code
20686
Website
www.smcm.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
530-640
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
500-620
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
22-28
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
1,708
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
79%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$13,895
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
10
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
Truman State University
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
100 E Normal Avenue
City
Kirksville
State
MO
Zip Code
63501
Website
www.truman.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
580-730
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
560-680
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
25-30
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Town: Remote
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
5,853
UnderGraduate Application Fee
N/A
Admission Rate
79%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,456
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
16
Number of Online Programs Offered
2
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
11%
CUNY Hunter College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
695 Park Ave
City
New York
State
NY
Zip Code
10065
Website
www.hunter.cuny.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
520-620
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
550-640
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
City: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
16,550
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$65
Admission Rate
39%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,782
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
11
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
3%
SUNY at Binghamton
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
4400 Vestal Parkway East
City
Vestal
State
NY
Zip Code
13850
Website
www.binghamton.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
600-680
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
630-703
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
580-670
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
27-31
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
13,491
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
42%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$9,053
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
20
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
6%
State University of New York at New Paltz
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1 Hawk Drive
City
New Paltz
State
NY
Zip Code
12561
Website
www.newpaltz.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
510-610
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
515-600
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
500-600
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
23-27
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Large
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
6,699
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
42%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$7,737
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
15
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
8%
University of North Carolina at Asheville
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
One University Hts
City
Asheville
State
NC
Zip Code
28804
Website
www.unca.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
540-640
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
520-610
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
510-610
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
23-28
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Small
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
3,858
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$75
Admission Rate
79%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$6,605
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
0%
Marlboro College
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
2582 South Rd
City
Marlboro
State
VT
Zip Code
05344
Website
www.marlboro.edu
Test Scores
N/A
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
N/A
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Rural: Distant
School Type
Private not-for-profit
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
189
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
94%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$39,250
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
4
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
N/A
University of Mary Washington
Basic Information
Test Score Data
Address
1301 College Ave
City
Fredericksburg
State
VA
Zip Code
22401
Website
www.umw.edu
Test Scores
Required
SAT Critical Reading 25th-75th Percentile
510-620
SAT Critical Math 25th-75th Percentile
490-590
SAT Writing 25th-75th Percentile
490-600
ACT Composite 25th-75th Percentile
22-27
Campus/School Overview
Campus Environment
Suburb: Midsize
School Type
Public
Total UnderGraduate Enrollment
4,320
UnderGraduate Application Fee
$50
Admission Rate
83%
Offers On-Campus Housing
Yes
In-State Tution & Fees
$11,130
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
14
Number of Online Programs Offered
0
Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes
7%
X
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