Master's Degree in English


Am I qualified to get into an online English master’s program?






2+ Letters

At least two letters of recommendation from professors or former employers

Writing Samples

Brief Statement

A brief statement of intent regarding your degree program timetable and career aspirations



Scores from the General GRE are required for acceptance into most English degree programs. English departments will look for high verbal and analytical writing scores from applicants; quantitative scores will be less relevant.

  • Average Score:
    • 157 Verbal
    • 149 Quantitative
    • 4.2 Analytical Writing
GRE English Literature Subject Test

Some programs will also ask you to take the English Literature subject test. This 230 question exam focuses on literature in English from around the world.

  • Average Score:
    • 549 for all test-takers (out of a maximum score of 990)

Additional Requirements


This should highlight work and volunteer experiences that demonstrate expertise and passion for the English degree specialization you are applying for.

List of published works

This is typically only required by dual masters and PhD programs. That said, if you have been published, it is a good idea to include this list and corresponding samples along with your writing samples.

What undergraduate degrees do English master’s students typically hold?

  • English
  • Foreign Language
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Sociology

What can I do to better my chances of getting into an online master’s program in English?

  • Depending on your interests, gain work or volunteer experience with publishing or teaching literature, language or writing.
  • Build a portfolio of published writing. Even if your work has never appeared in an academic journal, you can get your pieces out there by publishing on shareable platforms like Medium or LinkedIn.
  • Stay up-to-date with current trends in literature and nonfiction by subscribing to book review lists, like NPR’s.
  • Email professors and ask for class book lists, or make your way through those created by non-school affiliated entities, such as

Financial Aid

What scholarships and grants are available to online English master’s students?

Careers & Salary

Upon graduation from an online English master’s degree program, what skills will I have?

  • A thorough understanding of your chosen specialty within or even outside of canonical literature in the history of the English language
  • High-level critical thinking skills and the ability to efficiently express complex ideas in writing
  • Exposure to a wide range of cultural writing and critical theories. An ability to apply, challenge and develop critical literary theories
  • Familiarity with critical research methodology and standards as used in graduate-level liberal arts
  • The ability to gauge student writing and design effective composition learning strategies

Once I’ve earned my online master’s in English, what will my job prospects look like?

  • Public Relations Manager

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      New York — $145,540
    • City with Highest Pay

      New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division — $156,820
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Massachusetts — $118,700
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division — $147,400
  • Writers and Author

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      California — $97,000
    • City with Highest Pay

      Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division — $116,620
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      New York — $80,500
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division — $116,620
  • Adult Literacy Teacher

    • Annual Mean Wage

    • Total Jobs, 2013

    • Total Jobs, 2022

    • Job Outlook, 2013-22

    • State with Higest Pay

      California — $67,750
    • City with Highest Pay

      Stockton, CA — $90,690
    • State with Highest Job Concentration

      Washington — $54,250
    • City with Highest Job Concentration

      Bremerton-Silverdale, WA — $58,160

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook and Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor and Statistics; Collected July 2014

* Highest concentration of jobs refers to the location with the highest number of jobs (by field) for every thousand jobs. Average annual wage is then identified for the career in each location.


What are some of the most important publications in the English field today?

  • English: This Oxford University publication showcases literary criticism, reviews, and essays from academics around the world.
  • International Journal of English and Literature: This open access, peer reviewed journal publishes research articles and reviews in volumes released eight times a year.
  • APPOSITIONS: This open source journal is published annually, with content focused on Renaissance and early modern literature.
  • English Literary History: Students who wish to publish critical and theoretical research on the history of English language and literature can submit manuscripts under 12,000 words to ELH, which is published on a quarterly basis.
  • Modern Language Association: In addition to crafting the MLA Handbook used by English scholars worldwide, this professional organization also hosts professional conventions for over 30,000 members.

What RSS feeds related to English are worth subscribing to?

  • Arts and Letters Daily: This massive Chronicle of Higher Education news feed is updated six days a week, featuring the latest trends, criticism, and disputes in the field of literature.
  • The New York Review of Books: These biweekly reviews reach a circulation of over 135,000, covering the most noteworthy current book releases.
  • The English We Speak: This news feed by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is dedicated to English language learners and teachers.
  • The Paris Review: This highly acclaimed literary magazine, founded in 1953, is known for showcasing the works of authors like Jack Kerouac, Robert Bly, and Joan Didion.
  • McSweeneys: Author Dave Eggers runs this publishing house and literary journal, which is dedicated to contemporary literature and humor.


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