Best Colleges For English Language and Literature

Reading book in library for article on the best colleges for English literature and language.

English as an undergraduate major typically is a stepping stone to a graduate school program for many students, whether in English literature or language, or completely different fields, such as law, journalism and business. This ranking of the best colleges for English Language and English Literature majors analyzes the renown, reputational and real-world value excellence of the English departments as a whole. English is a core humanities requirement at most top universities, meaning virtually all offer degree tracks as well. For the top colleges in the field we expect students to have opportunity to freely expand their analytic inquiry into literature and writing, as a tool that enhances society as a whole through this type of intellectual pursuit.

Top 50 Best Colleges for English Language and Literature Majors

We have analyzed over 200 colleges in ranking the best colleges for English majors.

1Yale UniversityNew HavenCT
2Princeton UniversityPrinceton NJ
3Stanford UniversityPalo AltoCA
4Harvard UniversityCambridgeMA
5Columbia UniversityNew YorkNY
6University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaPA
7University of ChicagoChicagoIL
8Duke UniversityDurhamNC
9Brown UniversityProvidenceRI
10University of Texas - AustinAustinTX
11Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleTN
12Northwestern UniversityEvanstonIL
13Johns Hopkins University BaltimoreMD
14University of California - BerkeleyBerkeleyCA
15New York University New YorkNY
16Cornell UniversityIthacaNY
17University of California - Los AngelesLos AngelesCA
18University of MichiganAnn ArborMI
19The Ohio State UniversityColumbusOH
20University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleVA
21Rice UniversityHoustonTX
22Emory UniversityAtlantaGA
23Georgetown UniversityWashington DC
24University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesCA
25University of IllinoisChampaignIL
26Indiana UniversityBloomingtonIN
27Williams CollegeWilliamstownMA
28Dartmouth CollegeHanoverNH
29Amherst CollegeAmherstMA
30University of Notre DameSouth BendIN
31Swarthmore CollegeSwarthmorePA
32Pomona CollegeClaremont CA
33University of WashingtonSeattleWA
34University of IowaIowa CityIA
35University of North CarolinaChapel HillNC
36Washington University St. LouisMO
37Rutgers UniversityNew BrunswickNJ
38University Of WisconsinMadisonWI
39Penn StateUniversity ParkPA
40Boston CollegeChestnut HillMA
41University of California - DavisDavisCA
42University of MarylandCollege ParkMD
43Michigan State UniversityEast LansingMI
44Tufts UniversityMedfordMA
45University of PittsburghPittsburghPA
46University of MinnesotaTwin CitiesMN
47Scripps CollegeClaremont CA
48University of Illinois - ChicagoChicagoIL
49Tulane UniversityNew OrleansLA
50Wellesley CollegeWellesleyMA

More information on our RealRankTM analytics used in creating this ranking can be found on the About page.

Economic Value of An English Degree

English Language and English Literature specific careers, like humanities careers in general, are somewhat limited.  Generally the entry level positions available to English majors are relatively low paying. Many students who major in these fields will gravitate towards graduate schools, pursuing more specific careers. For example many English majors move on to pursue careers as teachers, journalists, film and television writers, and attorneys. For pure English careers, these are some typical options:

  • High School English teachers.
  • College teaching.
  • Writing.
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