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Top Schools for English Language

Read about the top schools for English language programs, through which students can build their critical thinking and creative writing skills, examine literary genres and conduct research. Learn about the programs at four top-notch institutions, and find an informative list of other schools in the U.S. that offer English language studies.

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Students can find great schools that offer bachelor's, master's and/or doctoral degrees in English and/or creative writing. Once enrolled, students have the opportunity to explore both contemporary and traditional literature.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • American Literature
  • British Literature

School Overview

The four schools selected below are high-ranking national institutions that have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report for their educational quality. Noteworthy university features also include low student-faculty ratios ranging from 6:1 to 9:1.

Columbia University in New York, NY

School Highlight: Columbia University awards the Richmond B. Williams Traveling Fellowship to English majors.

The fifth-oldest college in the United States, Columbia University ranked fifth among national universities for 2017, according to U.S. News & World Report. In 2013, the university's graduate English program also received a fourth-place ranking from USN&WR.

Through the Department of English and Comparative Literature, students can pursue a wide range of course topics, including English and American literature, feminist theory, postmodern poetry and African-American literature. In addition to an undergraduate English major, Columbia University offers Master of Arts, Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy programs in English. Students interested in learning to write poetry, drama or fiction can pursue bachelor's degree and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in creative writing.

Duke University in Durham, NC

School Highlight: At Duke University, English students can join the English Majors Union.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Duke University ranked eighth among national universities for 2017, as well as tenth among graduate English programs for 2013. Undergraduate English majors can study contemporary literature, along with works from the 18th-century and early modern era. In conjunction with the university law school, the English Department offers a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Arts program. A Ph.D. in English program is also available. Additional university features include an extensive library system.

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

School Highlight: Cornell University was the first school in the world to offer a degree in journalism.

For 2017, Cornell University in Ithaca was ranked 15th among national universities by U.S. News & World Report. According to USN&WR in 2013, its English program placed eighth overall for the same year. The Department of English at Cornell University offers an undergraduate degree and honors program to students who would like to conduct independent research. Graduate programs include an MFA, Ph.D. and joint MFA/Ph.D. for students who would like to pursue writing workshops in poetry or fiction and take literature courses.

Amherst College in Amherst, MA

School Highlight: Amherst is part of a 5-college consortium that allows students to take courses at Smith College and Mount Holyoke, among other schools.

Amherst College was ranked #2 among national liberal arts colleges for 2017, per U.S. News & World Report. The school has a student-faculty ranking of 8:1, and English is one of the school's five most popular majors. English majors study literature, film, culture and creative writing. Unique course offerings include Arthurian literature, playwriting, and narratives of suffering.

List of Good English Language Schools in the U.S.

Here are some more top schools with excellent English offerings:

  • At Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, the Houghton Library houses the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, which contains the former president's personal correspondence.
  • At Indiana University - Bloomington, the creative writing program is one of the oldest in the country.
  • At Princeton University in Princeton, NJ, the library houses a collection of over 8 million books.
  • Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, offers interdisciplinary courses and collaborative projects to undergraduate students through its Writers House.
  • At Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA, the student-faculty ratio is 8:1.
  • Williams College in Williamstown, MA was ranked first among national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

Prospective English majors can enroll in programs at top-ranked universities with a wide range of educational offerings in the field.

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