Where in California Can I Earn a Degree in English?

Learn about English degree programs in California. Get information about degrees available and program requirements to make an informed decision about your education. Schools offering English Language & Literature degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Regardless of what level of degree in English you hope to pursue, a number of schools in California can meet your needs. A few strong options are highlighted below.

Studying English in California

In California, there are many colleges and universities that offer degree programs in English; the following article discusses programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels. Programs typically cover a range of topics in canonical and non-canonical literature, spanning literary genres and historical periods of English literature. In a 4-year bachelor's degree program, you can explore and develop your interests. In a graduate program, you can further specialize in a particular author, historical period, or genre; master's degrees take 2-3 years, and doctoral degrees take 4-6 years.

Master's degree programs may or may not require a thesis, and some are terminal programs. You may have to demonstrate foreign language competency and teach undergraduate classes. Qualifying exams may also be required. Doctoral degree programs generally require qualifying exams and a dissertation, which you must defend, prior to graduation. You may also need to prove your competency in understanding a foreign language. Some schools provide a full financial aid package to doctoral students. Keep reading to see if any of these degree programs offered by public universities are a good fit for you.

Bachelor's Degree Programs in California

University of California, Berkeley

The undergraduate program in the Department of English covers a diverse range of authors, cultures, genres, critical theories, and historical movements. In addition to writing and language courses, you'll be required to enroll in a series of courses that survey Anglophone literature, including works by Chaucer, Milton, and 20th-century authors. You'll also be required to take a specialized course on Shakespeare. One of the goals of this program is to prepare you for future specialization by providing a sound and multifarious foundation that spans the history of English literature.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Tuition and Fees: $13,431 per year for California residents, $38,139 per year for non-residents (for the 2015-2016 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • School Type: 4-year, public, nearly 40,000 students (almost 30,000 undergraduate)

University of California, Riverside

The university offers a program in Anglophone literature that spans a variety of genres and historical periods. You'll have the ability to choose courses that accord with your own academic goals. You can focus on literary periods, such as Medieval, Renaissance, Romantic Victorian, and 19th-century American. You can also study contemporary works written in a variety of genres and forms, take courses on creative writing, and study critical theory. Additionally, the English department offers coursework that focuses on particular authors, such as Chaucer, Dickinson, and Wilde.

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Tuition and Fees: $13,527 per year for California residents, $38,235 per year for non-residents (for the 2015-2016 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • School Type: 4-year, public, more than 21,000 students (nearly 19,000 undergraduate)

Master's Degree Programs in California

California Polytechnic State University

The M.A. program in English includes nine required courses on American literary periods, British literature, literary criticism, composition theory, and linguistics. You can also pursue elective topics in composition, creative writing, and English education. The program includes opportunities for acquiring experience in this field, including options to tutor students and teach undergraduate courses in composition. This program does not offer a thesis option; in order to graduate, you'll need to pass a comprehensive examination.

  • Program Name: Master of Arts in English
  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Tuition and Fees: $10,267 per year for California residents, $19,195 per year for non-residents (for the 2015-2016 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public, more than 20,000 students (around 1,000 graduate)

University of California, Riverside

The Department of English offers a terminal M.A. program in English; courses cover a range of authors, stylistic genres, and historical periods of American and British literature. If you enroll in this program, you'll be required to take a course that introduces you to graduate study, and you must complete nine seminars in a variety of topics to complete the degree. M.A. candidates are also expected to demonstrate competency in one foreign language and must take a qualifying examination to graduate.

  • Program Name: Master of Arts in English
  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Tuition and Fees: $13,284 per year for California residents, $28,386 per year for non-residents (for the 2015-2016 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public, around 20,000 (almost 3,000 graduate)

Doctoral Programs in California

University of California, Berkeley

The Berkeley English Department offers a PhD program focusing on American and British literature. You'll also study cultural and critical theory. This program requires ten courses distributed among the general areas of 16th- to 20th-century literature. You will also be expected to demonstrate advanced knowledge or proficiency in a foreign language. The program requires a qualifying exam and a dissertation.

  • Program Name: Doctor of Philosophy in English
  • Program Length: 4-6 years
  • Tuition and Fees: $13,431 per year for California residents, $28,533 per year for non-residents (for the 2015-2016 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public, nearly 40,000 students (around 10,000 graduate)

University of California, Los Angeles

The PhD program features courses in a range of areas, including 18th-century British and American literature, drama, textual studies, fiction, creative writing, Renaissance literature, theory and criticism, contemporary literature, and nonfiction prose. You will have access to colloquia, lectures, reading groups, and research centers. The faculty are engaged in a variety of specialized research topics, including Italian literature, Medieval Islam, Renaissance British literature, and environmental studies. Every student admitted to this program receives a fully funded package.

  • Program Name: Doctor of Philosophy in English
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Tuition and Fees: $12,629 per year for California residents, $27,731 per year for non-residents (for the 2015-2016 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public, more than 40,000 students (over 10,000 graduate)

As you can see, that state of California offers a wide range of schools where you can pursue an education in English no matter what degree level you seek.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

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