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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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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
Best Online Bachelor's in Greater Boston

Success Story

English major Evan Applebaum writes as a sports journalist for the Eagle Tribune while completing a full-time online course load. Learn about his journey from aspiring sports writer to covering March Madness alongside the best journalists in the country.

Evan Applebaum

Evan Applebaum

Curriculum Outline

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

English Major Requirements (12-18 Courses / 36-54cr)

A maximum of 18 English courses (54cr) may count toward your degree program, and a total of 66 credits must be taken outside of the English major.

Required 2000-Level Courses (3 Courses / 9cr)

Theory/Composition/Language Requirement - Choose (1 Course / 3cr)

Major Author Course Requirement - Choose (1 Course / 3cr)

Additional major author courses are currently under development.

Capstone Course - (3cr)

Capstone Course: All students must complete one capstone course in English (3cr). Take one 4000-level English course to meet the capstone course requirement.

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 requirements.

2000-Level Electives (Minimum 2 Courses / 6cr)

3000/4000-Level Electives (Minimum 4 Courses / 12cr)

Note: This is a partial list of approved courses. View additional courses that may be used as English Electives.

Please speak with your advisor if you have any questions regarding these courses.

Approved online courses

  • ENGL.2460 Gay & Lesbian Literature (3cr)
  • ENGL.3330 American Autobiography (3cr)
  • ENGL.3350 American Women Novelists (3cr)
  • ENGL.3450 British Women Novelists (3cr)
  • ENGL.3780 Asian American Literature (3cr)
  • ENGL.4010 Selected Authors (3cr)

Approved courses, not presently available online

  • ENGL.2400 Literature and Women (3cr)
  • ENGL.2420 The Heroine in Modern Fiction (3cr)
  • ENGL.2430 Contemporary Women Writers (3cr)
  • ENGL.2580 Disability in Literature (3cr) - Available Fall 2024!
  • ENGL.2770 American Ethnic Literature (3cr)
  • ENGL.3420 Women Writers and the Past (3cr)
  • ENGL.3640 African American Drama (3cr)
  • ENGL.3760 African-American Literature (3cr)
  • ENGL.3790 Post Colonial Literature (3cr)

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

Breadth of Knowledge Requirements

  • ENGL.1010 College Writing I (3cr) - Available Summer 2024!
  • ENGL.1020 College Writing II (3cr) - Available Summer 2024!
  • 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/core-curriculum/

Foreign Language Requirement (4-5 Courses / 12-15 Credits)

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
    • 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
    • PHIL.3880 Latin American Philosophy
    • POLI.3700 Latin American Politics
    • WLSP.3050 World Ready Topic Spanish Track
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.

    • HIST.2740 Native American History
    • ENGL.3410 Studies in Film
    • HIST.2490 The Vietnam War
    • HIST.2740 Native American History

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

ENGL.1010 College Writing I (3cr)

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.

ENGL.1020 College Writing II (3cr)

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.

ENGL.2070 English Studies in a Digital Environment (3cr)

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.

ENGL.2110 Poetry (3cr)

Studies selections from the Renaissance through contemporary periods.




ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.2160 Monsters, Apes & Nightmares (3cr)

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).




ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.2170 The Horror Story (3cr)

Explores the genre from Poe to the present.




ENGL.1020 pre-req

ENGL.2180 Comedy (3cr)

Presents the theory and practice of comedy from the Greeks to the present.



ENGL.2240 Business Writing (3cr)

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.


Note: Students may not receive credit for both ENGL.2240 and ENGL.2260

ENGL.2320 Turning Fiction into Film (3cr)

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.




ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.2360 Science Fiction and Fantasy (3cr)

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.



ENGL.2400 Literature and Women (3cr)

A survey of literary attitudes toward women from the Judaic and Hellenic periods through the present.

ENGL.2420 The Heroine in Modern Fiction (3cr)

Provides a study of selected short stories and novels which deal sympathetically with the changing roles of women.




ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.2430 Contemporary Women Writers (3cr)

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).





ENGL.2460 Gay & Lesbian Literature (3cr)

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).

ENGL.2580 Disability in Literature (3cr)

This course explores how texts -- including novels, short stories, poems, memoirs, essays, plays, and videos -- portray people with disabilities. We will consider the problematic stereotypes about disabilities that sometimes appear in popular culture and literary depictions, and read texts that provide insight into a diverse community of people with a range of disabilities.

ENGL.2770 American Ethnic Literature (3cr)

The course addresses the literature of America's immigrant and cultural groups and how it contributes to defining our national character. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA).


Pre-Req: ENGL.1020 College Writing II.

ENGL.2810 British Literary Traditions (3cr)

A survey of British Literary history from the medieval through the modernist periods.

ENGL.2820 American Literary Traditions (3cr)

A survey of American Literary history from early contact between Native American populations and European colonists through contemporary American writing.




ENGL.1020, or English Majors

ENGL.3020 Creative Writing: Fiction (3cr)

Studies the theory and practice of fiction. Conducted as a workshop with close analysis of student work.

ENGL.3030 Creative Writing: Poetry (3cr)

Discusses the theory and practice of poetry. Conducted as a workshop with close analysis of student work.

ENGL.3070 History of the English Language (3cr)

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.

ENGL.3150 Old English Language and Literature (3cr)

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.


ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.3200 Personal and Reflective Writing (3cr)

A workshop format encourages peer criticism of individual writings and discussion of models from various texts.

ENGL.3330 American Autobiography (3cr)

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).


ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.3350 American Women Novelists (3cr)

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).


ENGL.1020 pre-req

ENGL.3410 Studies in Film (3cr)

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





ENGL.3420 Women Writers and the Past (3cr)

Women Writers and the Past. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA) and Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE).


Pre-Req: ENGL.1020 College Writing II.

ENGL.3450 British Women Novelists (3cr)

Selected novels by writers such as Austen, the Brontes, Eliot, Woolf, Bowen, and Drabble. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA) and Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE).


ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.3640 African American Drama (3cr)

A study of the history and development of African American drama, with emphasis on major aesthetic, political, and social movements in African American culture. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA) and Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE).


Pre-Req: ENGL.1020 College Writing II.

ENGL.3760 African-American Literature (3cr)

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).


ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.3770 Theories of Rhetoric and Composition (3cr)

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).

ENGL.3780 Asian American Literature (3cr)

Asian Americans hold an intriguing place in the cultural imagination: as perpetual foreigners, as so-called 'model minorities' that serve to maintain hegemonic power relations, and as living embodiments of America's memory of its involvement in recent wars. As artists, however, Asian Americans have contributed and impressive body of literary work, and we'll examine some of the most enduring and provocative of these texts. We'll explore themes such as trauma and the immigrant experience, issues of exile and dislocation, Asian Americans' embattled place in our country's history, and the intersections of race and ethnicity with gender and sexuality. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Diversity and Cultural Awareness (DCA) and Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE).


ENGL 1020 pre-req

ENGL.3790 Post Colonial Literature (3cr)

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.





ENGL.3880 Undergraduate Seminar on the Teaching of Writing (3cr)

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.


ENGL 2000,or 227,or 238,or 239

ENGL.3920 Visual Rhetoric (3cr)

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.

ENGL.4010 Selected Authors (3cr)

A study of selected works. Authors to be announced each semester.



ENGL.4230 Shakespeare I (3cr)

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


ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.4240 Shakespeare II (3cr)

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


ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

ENGL.4290 Introduction to Literary Theory (3cr)

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.


ENGL.1010/1020 pre-req

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.

Fall 2024 Tuition

Cost Per Credit Cost Per 3-Credit Course*


Online and On Campus $385 $1,155
*Tuition is priced on the listed credit hour unless the contact hour is different. Tuition is then based upon the listed contact hour.

Additional Costs

Term Registration Fee $30
Returned Check Fee $30
Undergraduate Degree Application $60

Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.

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Looking for Financial Assistance?

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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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