Best Undergraduate English Programs in the US

Read about undergraduate English programs in the United States. Find out what's unique about the degree programs at three high-profile schools, and find an overview of other colleges and universities in the U.S. that offer undergraduate degrees in English.

School Information

English majors usually take courses in writing, critical thinking, poetry and literature. After completing an undergraduate English program, such as those offered by the Ivy League and high-ranking schools below, students are typically awarded a Bachelor of Arts in English.

1. Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT

School Highlight: Students can apply for a James M. Myer grant to cover travel expenses for a non-fiction research project.

Middlebury College was ranked seventh among national liberal arts schools by U.S. News & World Report in 2015. Its Department of English and American Literatures has a rigorous undergraduate curriculum that places emphasis on literary theory, criticism and historical perspectives. Undergraduates are expected to conduct independent research during their senior year in the form of a semester-long essay or a 2-semester-long thesis. Undergraduate students can also enroll in workshops through Middlebury's creative writing program.

2. Princeton University in Princeton, NJ

School Highlight: The English department offers a number of prizes for superior work from undergraduate students.

In 2015, Princeton University was ranked first among national universities by U.S. News & World Report. Individuals interested in the school's undergraduate English program can concentrate in a number of optional sub-disciplines, such as arts and media, theory and criticism, British literature, comparative studies or creative writing. Undergraduate English students can also apply to the semester-long study abroad program in London. With 15 libraries, this Ivy League private school houses millions of archival and circulating publications.

3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Highlight: The department hosts regular lectures from prominent authors and literary scholars.

This public university was ranked first on The Princeton Review's 'Top Ten Best Value Public Colleges' list in 2014. Faculty members consist of published authors and poets, and the school is known for its professional and student-run publications, such as the Keats-Shelley Journal and The Carolina Quarterly. English majors can work toward a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English or Comparative Literature; minors in creative writing and Latino studies are also available. The school sponsors study abroad programs at Oxford and Lancaster University in England and Rome, Italy, as well as several clubs for undergraduate English students.

List of Ten Good Undergraduate English Programs in the U.S.

School Name Distinction Location
Amherst College Department of English offers 15 different prizes Amherst, MA
Columbia University The Senior Essay Program in the English Department New York, NY
Middlebury College Creative writing program at the Department of English & American Literatures includes respected authors Middlebury, VT
New York University The Re:Enlightenment Project with the New York Public Library New York, NY
Princeton University Department of English offers nine interdisciplinary certificate programs Princeton, NJ
Stanford University The Center for the Study of the Novel (CSN) Stanford, CA
University of California - Berkeley The Undergraduate Study Learning Initiative (USLI) Berkeley, CA
University of Iowa Famed Iowa Writer's Workshop Iowa City, IA
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill People, Ideas, and Things (PIC) a student-run journal Chapel Hill, NC
University of Pennsylvania Students can pursue both a B.A. and a Master of Arts in English at the same time Philadelphia, PA

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