Best Colleges and Universities for English Degrees

The best English and literature degree programs are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best English degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding Literature faculty.

Best Colleges and Universities for English Degrees

A bachelor’s degree in English (also referred to as an literature major in many schools) is an excellent starting point for a career in journalism, education, publishing, and a host of other exciting and creative fields. As an English major, you’ll refine your compositional skills, engage in critical reading, and explore the connection between literature and a vast array of other disciplines, including philosophy, history, and business. The best schools for English / literature are those which are regionally accredited, which offer a full array of literature and English concentrations, and which give you the chance to work with the best and most influential professors and classmates.

Degree popularity: English bachelor’s degrees are the 23rd most popular undergraduate degrees across all student demographics, ranking much higher for women at 15th versus 39th for men. It’s most popular among White women for whom it ranks 14th, followed by Hispanic women for whom it ranks 24th, according to the number of degree earners reported by the National Center for Educational Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About English Bachelor’s Degrees

Mastering the English language has value well beyond the field of literature. Gaining greater depth, versatility and confidence with the English language will make you a better writer, a more confident speaker, and a more perceptive listener. These skills will pay dividends in fields such as public relations, marketing, teaching, and human resources, just to name a few.

In fact, the most influential literary scholars go on to achieve acclaim as bestselling authors, prominent professors, noted historians, and more. Today, top influencers in English are breaking new ground in historical fiction, graphic novels, poetry, and much more.

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Literature is an excellent major because it can provide a pathway into countless fields and career opportunities. If you’re looking for a well-paying and secure job, a literature degree is a great place to start. As an English major, you’ll be doing more than just reading literature. The primary objective of an English major is to achieve greater appreciation and understanding of the written word. This means you’ll learn how to deconstruct literature in search of meaning, character and culture; and to explore the innovative ways that language can be used as a form of expression. In short, you won’t be a passive participant in your reading. As an English major, you will learn to read actively, with thought, insight, and analysis. This means that literature majors bring strong communication, critical thinking, and creativity to a wide range of employment settings.

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Your concentration will determine many of the courses you’ll take as an English major. Likewise, you will be required to take a number of requisite courses on foundational topics such as Literary Critical Analysis and Comparative Literature. However, as an English major, you will also have the chance to develop your curriculum around the themes, cultural traditions, and literary periods that most interest you. Examples of traditional literature courses include:

  • Translating World Literature
  • Narrative Negotiations
  • Dreams and Literature
  • Children’s Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Rhetoric and Composition
  • The Ancient Greek Hero
  • Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking

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The English degree is actually quite versatile. Earning a degree in literature can qualify you for a number of stimulating jobs in both practical and creative fields. In some cases, you’ll get a chance to use your compositional and communication skills, whereas in other instances, you’ll use what you have learned to help others navigate the English language. The following are among the most popular jobs for literature majors:

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Best Colleges and Universities for English Degree Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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The Best Colleges and Universities for English Degrees

Best English Major Research Universities

  1. Harvard University
  2. Columbia University
  3. Yale University
  4. Stanford University
  5. Princeton University

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Best English Major Liberal Arts Colleges

  1. Weslyan University
  2. Amherst College
  3. Williams College
  4. Swarthmore College
  5. Barnard College

Go to The Best English Major Liberal Arts Colleges

Best English Major Online Colleges

  1. University of Missouri
  2. Texas Tech University
  3. University of Memphis
  4. University of Central Florida
  5. Marshall University

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The Best English Schools in Your State

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Learn More About English and Literature

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