Nicholls English Department ranked one of the best online programs

Nicholls’ Online English program is rated number two on based on affordability and accreditation.

The tuition for Nicholls Online is $275 per credit hour for an undergraduate student. Students get eight weeks to complete the courses for the semester, or must pay an additional $100 per month to extend the time.

“The English department is based on the older model of the literary studies,” Ellen Barker, English department chair, said. “I think what sets us apart is that we offer advanced writing; a lot of other online schools don’t offer that.”

Nicholls’ Online English program has a huge writing component. Students can start and end their college careers without ever setting foot on campus and graduate with an English bachelor’s degree. The online English program currently only offers an English degree with a concentration in Literary Studies, but plans to further the program by offering concentrations in professional and creative writing.

“We have many 200 level literature courses that are very attractive to students,” Barker said. “We also have a good variety of courses on the 300 and 400 level. Other schools, online and on-campus, abandon writing after the freshman level, so we have the senior-level components.”

Michele Theriot, undergraduate advising coordinator, works with the students enrolled with Nicholls Online to schedule their courses. Barker and Theriot let students know what their major does and what jobs are available with their major.

“Most Nicholls Online professors are on-campus professors,” Barker said. “Most of them have a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) or a Master’s in Fine Arts degree, MFA.”

Two of the faculty work exclusively for Nicholls Online English program, while the remainder work full-time for the English department on campus and take on the online courses on the side.

Students have the opportunity to graduate in three years with the program’s accelerated 8-week semesters. Although it speeds up the graduation process, the courses are no walk in the park.

“Many believe an online course would be easier than the traditional format, but students need to be self-motivated to finish the courses,” Barker said. “Technology also becomes a problem. A student may not know how to use Moodle or how to get a PDF.”

According to, Nicholls’ Online English program has earned Nicholls the reputation of being “our Harvard on the bayou.”

“I think it’s clever that referred to us as “our Harvard on the bayou,” Barker said. “We like to think of ourselves as a little Harvard in this department. We hope it might attract more students and help the college grow.”

Nicholls Online offers about 20 majors and minors in Spanish and French. As students grow in interest with the site, more majors will be added.

Barker hopes the website’s accessibility draws international students to the program.

“A lot of what would bring a lot of growth for this department with international students would be if we had an ESL program,” Barker said. “We could be able to do that, but we haven’t been approached about putting one together.”

As of now, Nicholls Online students are restricted to online only courses. There might be changes in the future to allow students to freely swap between Nicholls Online and the traditional on-campus courses.