Top Graduate Schools for English Majors

Read about the top-ranked schools where English majors can earn a graduate degree in their field. See what sets profiled schools apart, and get program information so that you can compare similarities among institutions.

School Information

Graduate programs in English include a variety of specialties in English literature, including literature theory and criticism, American literature, British literature and medieval literature. The following are two of the highest ranked graduate schools offering English programs.

1. University of California - Berkeley

School Highlight: Even though the overall program doesn't offer a master's degree, students can petition for an M.A. in creative writing after obtaining their Ph.D., if they submit a body of creative work.

In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of California - Berkeley's English Ph.D. program as the nation's top graduate program for English. This 6-year Ph.D. program, offered through the school's English Department, includes topics in cultural and critical theory, American and British literature, and Anglophone literature. A master's degree in English is not offered at Berkeley, but an undergraduate program is available.

2. Stanford University in Stanford, CA

School Highlight: The school's English program boasts several award-winning authors and poets among its alumni.

In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked Stanford the second-best graduate English program in the nation. Located 37 miles southeast of San Francisco, Stanford University's graduate English program provides expert instruction in many areas of study, from Renaissance literature to post-colonial studies, and is home to a renowned creative writing program. Alumni of Stanford's Graduate School of English include U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Haas, Pulitzer Price winner Jeffrey Eugenides, and Tobias Wolfe, author of This Boy's Life. Wolfe is professor of English and creative writing at Stanford, where he has been a faculty member since 1997.

Top Graduate English Programs

College/University Name Distinction Location
Columbia University Columbia ranked #4 on U.S. News & World Report's list of schools with graduate English programs. New York, NY
Cornell University In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Cornell #8 among schools with strong English graduate programs. Ithaca, NY
Harvard University Harvard ranks #2 on U.S. News & World Report's list of all National Universities. Cambridge, MA
New York University English faculty members at NYU have won the Pulitzer Prize, the Guggenheim, the National Endowment for the Humanities and more. New York, NY
Rutgers University - New Brunswick In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked Rutgers #6 among all Top Public Schools. New Brunswick, NJ
Stanford University Students have access to the Stanford Literary Lab, the Center for the Study of the Novel and the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking. Stanford, CA
University of California - Berkeley According to the university, its English Department faculty members have received more Distinguished Teaching Awards (26) than faculty in any other department. Berkeley, CA
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor In a National Research Council survey of graduate English programs, U-M's ranked among the top four (out of 120) in the nation. Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Students can contribute to eight journals, including Carolina Quarterly and Ethos. Chapel Hill, NC
University of Texas at Austin Graduate English students have access to the ninth-largest research library in the country as well as the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential library and several research centers. Austin, TX

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