Top Schools for English Language and Literature

Review the typical characteristics of a school with a strong English program. Read about three schools with nationally ranked English programs, and explore the language and literature degrees they offer. Schools offering English Language & Literature degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Some Characteristics of Top Schools for English Language and Literature?

A top school could match your literary passion with faculty specialties. Some schools offer broad opportunities, such as joining the editorial board of a literary publication, entering writing contests or participating in special interest reading groups. Noted authors may visit campus. Special library facilities or collections could be available. The following schools might be of interest to you.

What Are Three Top Schools for English Language and Literature?

Duke University in Durham, NC

Duke was 31st in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities (shanghairanking.com). It was ranked eighth in U.S. News & World Report's national university rankings in 2015 and tied for tenth in the best graduate English programs in 2013 (www.usnews.com). In 2010, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported Duke's English language and literature faculty to be 17th for scholarly productivity (www.chronicle.com). The Duke University Press publishes several literary online and print journals, including South Atlantic Quarterly, American Literature and NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction. Undergraduates may take independent studies in creative writing or research.

Students can join the Poetry Working Group, attend the Americanist Speaker Series or enroll in the English Majors Union by committing to an honors thesis. Only ten doctoral candidates are allowed into the graduate program each year. There is no terminal master's option, but a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Arts is possible. Duke sponsors the Center for Philosophy, Arts, and Literature. Access to the library blogs, including the Digital Collections Archive and Devil's Tale for the rare book, manuscript and special collections, may help your research. You could receive these degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in English
  • Doctor of Philosophy in English

Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers tied for 64th in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities. In 2011, it tied for 72nd among U.S. News & World Report's 2015 national universities and also tied for 17th place in the publication's graduate English program list in 2013. Rutgers' English language and literature faculty were 25th in scholarly productivity, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2010. The Department of English offers as many as 100 courses per term. Winners of contests for poetry, creative writing, African American literature, Shakespearean interpretation, essay writing or new media projects are able to read their work at an annual Honors Symposium.

The English honors program, which is for juniors with a B+ GPA, requires a thesis and an independent research class for credit. You must pursue the Doctor of Philosophy to be admitted to the graduate program, though the master's degree can be awarded if you've completed certain doctoral requirements. You could enroll in a Writing Seminar to help you produce a dissertation chapter that could be published. The Plangere Writing Center in the School of Arts and Sciences offers workshops, tutoring, guest lecturers, conferences and opportunities for undergraduates to pursue upper-level writing courses. Plangere produces creative spinoffs like Writers House where students can focus on their writing or participate in filmmaking or Web design. These degrees are offered:

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Master of Arts in Literatures in English
  • Dual Bachelor of Arts/ Master of Arts in English
  • Doctor of Philosophy in English

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in 2010 that University of Pennsylvania (Penn)'s English language and literature faculty were fourth in scholarly productivity. The Academic Ranking of World Universities listed Penn at number 17 in 2015. The school tied for fourth for graduate English in U.S. News & World Report's 2013 list and was ranked ninth among the publication's national universities rankings in 2015. As an English major, you can design an individualized program or choose from among 14 other concentrations, such as American Literature and Culture, Celtic Studies or Law and Literature. The Honors Program admits 12-15 students per year and requires you to prepare a thesis, subject to committee approval.

The L. Barry Pick Prize for Best Undergraduate Thesis and other prizes and competitive awards can be earned. You might win a travel or research grant. All admitted doctoral candidates receive the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, covering tuition, fees and health insurance for five years. Penn offers interest-based reading groups, like the Eighteenth-Century or Film Studies group. The library system includes the Rare Book and Manuscript Library and sponsors events that include readings by noteworthy authors. These degrees are available:

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in English
  • Master of Arts in English
  • Doctor of Philosophy in English

More Top English Language and Literature Graduate Schools

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
University of California - Berkeley4 year, PublicBerkeley, CA
Harvard University4 year, PrivateCambridge, MA
Stanford University4 year, PrivateStanford, CA
Columbia University4 year, PrivateNew York, NY
Princeton University4 year, PrivatePrinceton, NJ
Yale University4 year, PrivateNew Haven, CT
Cornell University4 year, PrivateIthaca, NY
University of Chicago4 year, PrivateChicago, IL
University of California - Los Angeles4 year, PublicLos Angeles, CA
University of Virginia 4 year, Public Charlottesville, VA

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University

    Purdue University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint John's University

    Saint John's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint John's University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Queens University of Charlotte

    Queens University of Charlotte responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Queens University of Charlotte:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »