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Bachelor of Arts in English

Set the stage for your future and develop your aptitude for research, writing and critical thinking with UMass Lowell's Bachelor of Arts in English.

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Sierra Duncan- B.A. in English
Next Start Date: July 5
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Gain the Literacy Skills Employers Seek with an Online Bachelor's in English

Through our affordable and flexible online Bachelor's in English program, you will develop a solid liberal arts foundation and critical thinking, reading and writing skills that will serve you well in any career or academic pursuit. Our B.A. in English offers a curriculum grounded in British and American literature, the study of contemporary critical methods and regular research and writing practice. English majors pursue a wide range of career paths in publishing, law, journalism, teaching, creative writing, marketing and professional and technical writing.

Career Outlook

Jobs (2022)
% Change (2022-2023)
Median Earnings
Annual Openings
Source: Lightcast (2023) Target Occupations in New England


  • Advertising Executive
  • Author/Writer
  • Communications Manager
  • Content Strategist
  • Copywriter
  • Desktop Publisher
  • Editor
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Middle or High School Teacher
  • Journalist
  • Librarian
  • News Reporter
  • Paralegal
  • Proposal Manager
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Proofreaders and Copy Markers
  • Technical Writer
  • Web Content Manager
"Employment of writers and authors is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations."
— U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2018

Key Takeaways

In addition to a well-rounded liberal arts education, you will gain the following abilities through our English degree curriculum:

  • Cultural and historical understanding of literature
  • Genre and rhetorical awareness
  • Analytical reading skills
  • Process-based writing skills
  • Ethical research methods
  • Critical oral communication skills
Best Bachelors US News and World Report Award
Ranked as One of the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

Success Story

"Being an online and transfer student at UMass Lowell has exceeded everything I ever expected. They had my back the whole way — in the financial aid department, with the transfer of my credits, the advisors, the professors, everything."

Kristin S., Bachelor of Arts in English
Kristin S.

Kristin S.

Curriculum Outline

- Program for students accepted prior to Fall 2015
- Number of Courses Required: 40 (120 credits)
- View Course Descriptions »

English Electives - Choose at least 6 (18-36cr)

A maximum of 12 courses/36 credits are allowed as English Department electives. At least 4 English Electives must be at the 3000 or 4000 level.

Students may select their English Department elective courses from any of the above English courses not already used toward the requirements above, or from any other 2000-level or higher English courses. At least one of the student's English Department courses must fulfill the English Department's Diverse Literary Traditions requirement.

The above list is partial and subject to change. Check the program website each semester for the most up-to-date list of online English course electives (courses with the ENGL.xxxx prefix).

University Core Curriculum (12 Required Courses / 36-38 credits)

Breadth of Knowledge Requirements

  • ENGL.1010 College Writing I (3cr) - Available Summer 2023!
  • ENGL.1020 College Writing II (3cr) - Available Summer 2023!
  • MATH.---- Mathematics Perspective (MATH) - 3cr.
  • ----.---- Social Sciences Perspective (SS) - 3cr.
  • ----.---- Social Sciences Perspective (SS) - 3cr.
  • ----.---- Social Sciences Perspective (SS) - 3cr.
  • ----.---- Science with Lab Course (SCL) - 3-4cr.**
  • ----.---- Science with Lab Course (SCL)- 3-4cr.**
  • ----.---- STEM Course (STEM) - 3cr.
  • ----.---- Arts & Humanities Perspective (AH) - 3cr.
  • ----.---- Arts & Humanities Perspective (AH) - 3cr.
  • ----.---- Arts & Humanities Perspective (AH) - 3cr.

**Note: Some Science with Lab Perspective courses have a lab incorporated into a 3-credit course, while others require that a 1-credit lab be taken alongside a 3-credit course.

Essential Learning Outcomes

In addition to the above Breadth of Knowledge courses, you must fulfill all of the University's seven "Essential Learning Outcomes" (ELOs) as you progress through your degree program. The Essential Learning Outcomes and their abbreviations are:

  • Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA): Be a thoughtful, aware citizen of the global community.
  • Information Literacy (IL): Find, evaluate, and synthesize information effectively and persuasively.
  • Social Responsibility and Ethics (SRE): Shape the world to improve life in your community and beyond.
  • Written and Oral Communication (WOC): Express ideas to professional peers with purpose and clarity.
  • Quantitative Literacy (QL): Be skilled in the many forms and varieties of numerical analysis.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (CTPS): Evaluate ideas and evidence rationally to produce and implement solutions.
  • Applied and Integrative Learning (AIL): Synthesize knowledge and abilities in meaningful practice.

Courses that fulfill the ELO requirement are coded with DCA, IL, SRE, WOC, QL, CTPS and AIL. TIP: Look for Breadth of Knowledge courses and courses required for your degree that offer more than one of these ELO designations, so you can conveniently complete these ELO requirements as you take your required courses.

See the list of Core Curriculum Courses currently available through Graduate, Online & Professional Studies.

For additional information on the Core Curriculum requirement, visit https://www.uml.edu/Academics/undergraduate-programs/gened/Core-Curriculum/

Foreign Language Requirement

Choose the World Languages Track or the World Ready Track to fulfill your language requirement. Please complete the Language Requirement FAHSS Form to declare which track you will pursue upon acceptance into the Bachelor of Arts program.

Option 1: World Languages Track

Take four consecutive courses in Spanish or French.

  • ----.---- Foreign Language Level 1 (3cr)
  • ----.---- Foreign Language Level 2 (3cr)
  • ----.---- Foreign Language Level 3 (3cr)
  • ----.---- Foreign Language Level 4 (3cr)

Option 2: World Ready Track

Take two consecutive courses in a foreign language and three World Ready Track courses. World Ready Track courses are conducted in English and focus on the culture, civilization, philosophy, literature, history, politics of the region(s) in which the language you declared is spoken.

  • ----.---- Foreign Language Level 1 (3cr)
  • ----.---- Foreign Language Level 2 (3cr)
  • ----.---- World Ready Pre-Approved or Flex Course (3cr)
  • ----.---- World Ready Pre-Approved or Flex Course (3cr)
  • ----.---- World Ready Pre-Approved or Flex Course (3cr)
World Ready French Courses
World Ready Spanish Courses
    • ARHI.3151 Islamic Art and Contemporary Society
    • PHIL.3880 Latin American Philosophy
    • WLSP.4045 Cervantes' Don Quijote in translation
    • ARCH.3140 American Architecture (Formerly ARHI.3140)
    • ARHI.3250 Studies in Latin American Art
    • ARHI.3350 The Golden Age of Spanish Art
    • PHIL.3880 Latin American Philosophy
World Ready Flex Courses

To receive credit for World Ready Flex Courses, students must submit an Exception Form signed by the instructor by the end of the course acknowledging that the student completed substantive course work related to their chosen language track.

For additional details on the foreign language requirements, visit the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences website https://www.uml.edu/FAHSS/Languages-Cultures/Language-Requirement.aspx.

Course Descriptions

A workshop course that thoroughly explores the writing process from pre-writing to revision, with an emphasis on critical thinking, sound essay structure, mechanics, and academic integrity. Students will read, conduct rhetorical analyses, and practice the skills required for participation in academic discourse. Students will write expository essays throughout the semester, producing a minimum of four formal essays. 3 credits.
A workshop course that thoroughly explores the academic research writing process with an emphasis on entering into academic conversation. Building on the skills acquired in College Writing I, students will learn to write extensively with source material. Key skills addressed include finding,assessing, and integrating primary and secondary sources, and using proper documentation to ensure academic integrity. Students will produce analytical writing throughout the semester, including a minimum of four formal, researched essays. 3 credits.
Much of what we consider contemporary was born out of the modernist period, roughly 1900-1950, and was considered radical, even salacious, in its time.This course provides a sampling of modernist literature. Students will explore this period by examining exemplary texts, numerous historical and social events, and a few films. 3 credits. LT

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

Students build on skills acquired in College Writing to gain English Studies discipline-speific mastery of the writing conventions, research, and citation practices used in departments of English. In addition, students practice the digital skills that will support them as they join the online learning community of the UML Department of English. 3 credits.
Presents a study of plays from the classical period to the present. 3 credits. LT

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

Studies selections from the Renaissance through contemporary periods. 3 credits. LT

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

This course teaches students how to sharpen their critical reading skills by learning to think about the short story in terms of its evolution over the last 200 years and by studying its literary techniques and themes. Student practice close, active reading as they examine and express their reactions to authors' works Readings may include authors such as Alexie, Alvarez, Baldwin, Bambara, Bechdel, Chekhov, Diaz, Faulkner, Gilman, Hawthorne, Hemingway, Irving, LeGuin, Lispector, Marquez, O'Connor, Poe, and Tolstoy. 3 credits. AH

ENGL.1020 pre-req

This course examines literary responses to science in England and the United States from the early Nineteenth Century to the present. Readings include novels--Frankenstein, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jurassic Park--essays, and poems. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE). 3 credits. AHE

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

Explores the genre from Poe to the present. 3 credits. AH

ENGL.1020 pre-req

Presents the theory and practice of comedy from the Greeks to the present. 3 credits. LT
Studies the theory and practice of writing letters, memoranda and reports on specific business and technical problems. Registration preference for students enrolled in Business programs. 3 credits. Note: Students may not receive credit for both ENGL.2240 and ENGL.2260
Studies the theory and practice of letters, memoranda, reports and oral presentations on specific scientific and technical problems. 3 credits. Students may not receive credit for both ENGL.2240 and ENGL.2260; Students will learn about scientific and technical communication by engaging with lab reports, step-by-step instructions, technical manuals and so forth. This course gives students the opportunity to write two chapters in a technical manual by the end of the course. These chapters will include step-by-step instructions on how to fix, prepare, create, or describe a function or process related to a specific individual project.

ENGL.1020 pre-req

Analyzes and discusses the techniques and styles of selected professional essayists as well as the preparation of student essays. Emphasis will be placed on the writing process from prewriting through drafting and revising. English majors and minors only. 3 credits.


Often when we encounter narratives (in the movies or in books) we tend to practice a "suspension of disbelief" letting the story unfold, following the conventions of film and fiction without question This course will direct our critical focus on the mechanisms through whic writers and filmmakers convey meaning to their audiences. 3 credits. LT

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

Designed to introduce students to understand science fiction and fantasy within the broader context of literature and literary theory. It attempts to develop and hone student's skills of critical analysis as it supplies them with the tools to contextualize their reading experience - i.e., to understand the origins and politics of the books that they read. 3 credits. AH
A course for aspiring creative writers among freshman and sophomores which offers an introduction to the craft of creative writing in its primary genres: poetry, fiction, drama, creative non-fiction (emphases will vary depending upon instructor). The focus of this course will be on learning the fundamentals of craft techniques and peer review. 3 credits.

ENGL.1020, or instructor permission

Contemporary Women Writers introduces students to American women writers of the last fifty years. We examine the historical,socio-cultural, political, and personal influences on these writers' work by studying trends and events in recent American history and themes reflected in the works. By studying contemporary women's writing in this contextualized fashion, students can appreciate larger trends in our society, the role writing plays in examining such trends, and the value of literature as an exploration of human growth and struggle. Through discussion, group collaboration, critical analysis, and by designing their own graphic organizers, students gain a breadth of knowledge in the following areas: the themes and stylistic concerns of contemporary American women writers; the key historical events that influence contemporary American women's writing; the critical reading of literary texts. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA). 3 credits. LT, AH


Explores the treatment of homoeroticism and homosexual love in literature from Antiquity to the present. Emphasis is given to texts reflecting the construction of a homosexual identity and recurring motifs among gay, lesbian, and bisexual writers. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA). 3 credits.
A survey of British Literary history from the medieval through the modernist periods. 3 credits.
A survey of American Literary history from early contact between Native American populations and European colonists through contemporary American writing. 3 credits. LT

ENGL.1020, or English Majors

A survey course covering traditional and contemporary children's literature. Texts are selected to represent different historical periods and a diversity of authorial perspectives. Attention is given to changing views of children and childhood as reflected in selected texts. 3 credits.
An introduction to techniques of writing for the news media. 3 credits.

ENGL 1010,102, 227 or 229 or 2

Studies the theory and practice of fiction. Conducted as a workshop with close analysis of student work. 3 credits.
Discusses the theory and practice of poetry. Conducted as a workshop with close analysis of student work. 3 credits.
Explores the origins and structure of the English language, tracing the ways that English has evolved from Old English through Middle English to the varieties of Modern English in England and its former colonies, including the United States. We will also examine the literary, social, and political implications of these developments, for instance the evolution of Standard English or the use of dialects. The course does not assume any knowledge of Old or Middle English. 3 credits.
A study of English syntax examining traditional, structural, and transformational grammars. Attention to issues of dialect, usage, phonology, and morphology. 3 credits.

Pre-Req: ENGL.1010/102 College Writing I & II

A study of the writers, movements, and social culture of the South, from both the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries. 3 credits. AH

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

This course is designed for students who are interested in writing their own mysteries. Part of the course time will be spent discussing and workshopping student writing with emphasis on structure, plot and character. Time also will be spent studying the work of established mystery writers. Prerequisites: ENGL.1020 3 credits.


Students will acquire reading knowledge of the Old English Language, spending half the semester mastering grammar and vocabulary, and the second half translating texts such as The Wanderer, Dream of the Rood, and Beowulf. Attention will also be given to early medieval cultures in England. 3 credits.

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

A study of twentieth-century British short stories, poetry, and drama. 3 credits. LT
A workshop format encourages peer criticism of individual writings and discussion of models from various texts. 3 credits.
Writers throughout time have been thoroughly grounded in place. Students in this course will read and write on a variety of topics: travel, cities, suburbs, dwelling places, nature, environmental issues, etc., in a variety of genres: creative non-fiction, essays, journalism, short stories, poetry, journals. This course will be held in a workshop format with strong emphasis on revision. 3 credits.

ENGL 2270or 229or 238or 239 Pr

A study of the British novel in the eighteenth century, as it increased significantly in publication, sales, and cultural prominence. We explore the relation between formal elements (narrative, dialogue, plotting), philosophical questions (the nature of the self, the good society), and cultural and historical contexts (industrialization, middle class culture, the sexual double standard). Along with canonical authors such as Defoe, Richardson, and Austen, students will read other popular novels form the period, as well as texts such as spiritual autobiographies, criminal profiles, and advertisements. 3 credits.
A Study of autobiographical writing from Colonial America to the present. Works from the 17th to the 21st century will allow students to explore the genre of autobiography and related sub-genres, including the captivity narrative, the slave narrative, and the immigration narrative. Readings will also explore literary and political autobiographies. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA) and Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE). 3 credits.

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

A study of selected novels by American women. Focus on the female voice within the American tradition. Treatment of such issues as domesticity, education, and authorship. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA) and Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE). 3 credits.

ENGL.1020 pre-req

This course will consider works that fall under the very broad genre known as The Gothic. As this genre is one of highly contested boundaries, we will consider how to define the Gothic, and what exactly constitutes this form. We will look at texts from both England and America, and spanning from the late 18th century to our own times. Our study will focus on the form of the novel, and the development and emergence of the gothic novel from its beginnings in England to its contemporary manifestations in the United States. 3 credits.

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

A rigorous examination of a topic of current interests in film studies organized by particular themes, genres or filmmakers. 3 credits. AH


Will examine works in modern English translation from a variety of genres (romance, history, tragedy, epic) that tell stories of the mythical King Arthur and the knights and ladies of his courtly world. The course will focus primarily on texts of the medieval and renaissance periods, but will include attention to nineteenth- and twentieth-century versions in poetry, prose, art, music and film. 3 credits.
This course explores the literature of this vibrant, turbulent period within its historical and cultural contexts. Focusing roughly on the beginning of the seventeenth century through the Restoration, the course includes both well-known and lesser-known non-dramatic works in a variety of genres. Authors may include Donne, Clifford, Bacon, Cavendish, Herbert, Jonson, Milton, Behn, and others. 3 credits.

ENGL.1010, 42.102

Discusses novels and short fiction from World War II to the present. 3 credits. LT

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

A study of selected works by black American writers, such as Toomer, Wright, Ellison, Walker, and Morrison. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA) and Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE). 3 credits.

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

This course will examine the history and theories of composition and rhetoric, studying the field from its inception to more recent developments and challenges. We will also explore our own writing processes and literary practices. The course is furthermore grounded on the idea that literary practices are shaped by our culture. The course introduces practical approaches to as well as theoretical frameworks beneficial for those interested in composition studies. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Applied & Integrative Learning (AIL). 3 credits.
When the peoples of Africa, India, the Caribbean, Ireland, and Canada finally gained, to a greater and lesser extent, independence from the British during the 20th century, they found that their national, cultural, and individual identities had been radically altered by the experience of colonization. In this course, we will examine how authors have related this postcolonial condition. We will examine a diverse body of texts--poetry which eloquently describe the heroic journey out of colonialism, drama which lays bare the conflicts of assimilation, and novels which fantastically present political struggle--as we determine how postcolonial theory and literature affects and possibly redefines all literature. 3 credits. LT


A survey of theatre in its historical and social contexts from the 19th century to the present, focusing on innovations in design and technology, the advent of the director, the emergence of modern schools of acting, and the creation of new forms of theatre to suit the changing needs of a modern world. 3 credits.
Training in writing theory for direct application in peer tutoring. Discussion supplemented by experimental exercises, class presentations, reading, and writing. Meets two hours each week. Students tutor four hours each week. 3 credits.

ENGL 2000,or 227,or 238,or 239

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of visual communication. Students will explore what scholars mean by terms such as visual rhetoric and visual literacy in order to think concretely about how these concepts apply to the communication practices they will engage in their academic, professional, and everyday life. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which visual representations communicate culturally-specific meanings about race, gender, class, sexuality, age, nationality, and difference. Assignments include contributions to a course blog, rhetorical analyses of visual texts, design modules, and a multimodal project. 3 credits.
A study of selected works. Authors to be announced each semester. 3 credits.


A study of the major works of Chaucer in Middle English. 3 credits.

Pre-Req: ENGL.1010/102 College Writing I & II

A study of selected histories, comedies, and tragedies. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Information Literacy (IL) and Written & Oral Communication (WOC). 3 credits.

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

A study of selected histories, comedies, and tragedies not covered in 42.243. Shakespeare I is not a prerequisite. 3 credits.

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

A solid introduction to major trends in contemporary critical theory. Emphasis on producing a sample critical paper treating one or more current critical approaches to reading a literary text. 3 credits.

ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

Gain professional experience, develop essential skills, grow your network, and investigate career paths through service-learning or other types of internships taken for academic credit that counts towards your degree. Pre-arranged internships are available, or students can find their own positions with instructor assistance/approval. Classroom time supports professionalization and career development through hands-on activities. 3 credits.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

All bachelor's degree candidates are required to earn a minimum 2.000 cumulative grade point average (GPA), to present a minimum of 120 semester hours, to fulfill the residency requirements, to conform to the general regulations and requirements of the University, to satisfy the regulations and academic standards of the colleges which exercise jurisdiction over the degrees for which they are matriculating, to satisfy the curriculum requirements established by the departments or programs in their major, and to complete the University's Core Curriculum requirements, which are listed within the program's curriculum outline. For additional information regarding the University's general policies and procedures, transfer credit information and residency requirements; please refer to our Academic Policies & Procedures.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition at UMass Lowell is typically half the cost of private colleges, and our online tuition is among the lowest in the nation. Tuition for online programs offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies is the same whether you live in-state, out-of-state or outside of the U.S.

Summer 2023 Tuition

Cost Per Credit Cost Per 3-Credit Course*


Online $380 $1,140
Online Business** $385 $1,155
On Campus Lowell $340 $1,020
On Campus Haverhill $300 $900
*If the number of contact hours exceeds the number of credits, tuition is calculated by multiplying by the total number of contact hours.
†Rate will increase slightly in Fall 2023

Additional Costs

Term Registration Fee $30
Late Fee $50
Undergraduate Degree Application $60

Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Bachelor's in English right for me?

If you enjoy reading, writing and clear communication, a B.A. in English is a good choice for you. Many students find English an enjoyable, flexible major. English courses are known for lively discussion and debate, enhancing your ability to articulate perspectives and ideas. A degree in English will open diverse job opportunities, so even if you are not interested in a writer or teacher career, you may still consider this degree path.

Is a degree in English worth it?

Yes, English graduates possess valuable skills that are in high demand by employers today. English majors are insightful critical thinkers and strong communicators who work in countless industries. An English degree is one of the most versatile degrees in the humanities. Graduates often pursue careers in editing, advertising and writing and work with various cultural organizations, including theatres, libraries, museums, and nonprofit organizations.

How hard is an English degree?

Studying English may come naturally if you are a fast reader and a good writer. However, even literary experts continuously hone their reading, writing and research skills. If you find the program's reading and writing requirements challenging, learning support services are available to ensure your success.

How long does it take to complete my degree online?

With our generous transfer policy, you can complete your bachelor's in as little as 12-36 months, but you have as much time as you need to complete the bachelor's degree program. There are no time limits placed on your progress.


Applying into an Undergraduate Degree Program

Complete the Online Undergraduate Degree Application Form (preferred), or print, complete and submit the Undergraduate Degree Application .pdf form. Please note: Your application will be processed once we have received your $60 application fee. Return your completed application along with your application fee to:

University of Massachusetts Lowell
Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies
GPS Admissions
839 Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01854

Questions? See our helpful Step-by-Step Guide to the Application Process.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for acceptance into a bachelor's degree program offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies, students must hold a high school diploma or have passed either the GED® or HiSET®. Graduate, Online & Professional Studies operates on a rolling admissions basis and each application is reviewed when the student's file is complete. Students must be admitted to a degree or certificate program in order to be eligible for most financial aid.

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Questions Regarding Your Undergraduate Application?

Email OCE_Admissions@uml.edu or call 978-934-2474.

For General Assistance:

Call the Advising Center at 978-934-2474 or 800-480-3190. Our academic advisors are here to help!

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