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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.

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: $14,469 per year for California residents, $45,013 per year for non-residents (for the 2019-2020 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • School Type: 4-year, public, 42,501 students (30,853 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: $13,930 per year for California residents, $44,474 per year for non-residents (for the 2019-2020 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • School Type: 4-year, public, 23,922 students (20,581 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: $11,250 per year for California residents, $20,754 per year for non-residents (for the 2018-2019 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public, 22,013 students (915 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: $13,584 per year for California residents, $28,686 per year for non-residents (for the 2018-2019 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public, 23,922 (3,341 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: $14,131 per year for California residents, $29,233 per year for non-residents (for the 2018-2019 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public, 42,501 students (11,648 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: $12,946 per year for California residents, $28,048 per year for non-residents (for the 2018-2019 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public, 44,537 students (12,960 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.