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2021 Best Colleges for English Language & Literature

Approximately 55,573 English language and literature degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be difficult finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for English Language & Literature ranking analyzed 430 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in English language and literature. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 colleges for English Language & Literature students.

Choosing a Great English Language & Literature School

Best Colleges for English Language & Literature Your choice of English language and literature school matters. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. To make it into this list a school must excel in the following areas.

Overall Quality is a Must

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To take this into account we include a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a collection of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 8% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 16%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 111 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Better Early and Mid Career Salaries

English Language & Literature graduates from schools on this list tend to earn more after college than those from other schools. A English language and literature bachelors degree from a school in the United States helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 make $27,043 a couple years later.

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on English Language & Literature students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other English language and literature students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized English language and literature related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for English Language & Literature students.

Best Schools to Study English Language & Literature in United States

Learn about the top ranked colleges and universities for English language and literature majors. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 430 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best English Language & Literature Colleges

It is difficult to beat Columbia University in the City of New York if you wish to pursue English language and literature as a major. Located in the city New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 32 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Columbia is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Columbia also offers 2 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#2

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

It's hard to beat Georgetown University if you want to study English language and literature. Located in the city Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 55th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

There are approximately 112 English language and literature undergraduates studying this degree at Georgetown.

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Every student who is interested in English language and literature has to take a look at University of Washington - Seattle Campus. Located in the large city Seattle, UW Seattle is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 97th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There are about 241 English language and literature undergraduates studying this degree at UW Seattle.

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#4

Duke University

Durham, NC

It's hard to beat Duke University if you wish to study English language and literature. Duke is a large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Durham. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Duke is a great school overall.

Duke University is one of the most popular college to study English language and literature in United States with more than 66 graduates last year.

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#5

Brown University

Providence, RI

Brown is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Providence. A Best Colleges rank of 13 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Brown is a great college overall.

There are approximately 147 English language and literature undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Brown.

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UT Austin is a very large public school located in the large city of Austin. This college ranks 91st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There are approximately 330 English language and literature undergrads studying this program at UT Austin.

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#7

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

Located in the large city Chicago, UChicago is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 19 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UChicago is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UChicago also offers 2 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#8

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA

Holy Cross is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Worcester. A Best Colleges rank of 31 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Holy Cross is a great school overall.

With 67 undergraduates, College of the Holy Cross is one of most popular schools to study English language and literature in United States.

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UC Berkeley is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley. This college ranks 69th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UC Berkeley also offers 2 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#10

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

UPenn is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 9 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UPenn is a great college overall.

With 82 students enrolled, University of Pennsylvania is one of most popular schools to study English language and literature in United States.

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#11

University of Miami

Coral Gables, FL

Located in the city Coral Gables, U Miami is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. This college ranks 103rd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Florida.

University of Miami is a fairly popular college to study English language and literature in United States with over 59 graduations last year.

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#12

Emory University

Atlanta, GA

Located in the large city Atlanta, Emory is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 34 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Emory is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Emory also offers 2 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#13

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Harvard is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Cambridge. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great college overall.

There are roughly 128 English language and literature undergraduates enrolled in this program at Harvard.

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#14

Williams College

Williamstown, MA

Williams is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Williamstown. A Best Colleges rank of 7 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Williams is a great college overall.

A popular choice for English language and literature undergraduates, there are roughly 60 learners enrolled in this program at Williams.

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#15

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

GMU is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Fairfax. This college ranks 271st out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

There are approximately 373 English language and literature undergrads enrolled in this program at GMU.

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#16

Barnard College

New York, NY

Barnard is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York. This school ranks 77th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

With 68 undergraduates, Barnard College is one of most popular schools to study English language and literature in United States.

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#17

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

Located in the city Waltham, Brandeis is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. This college ranks 75th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

Brandeis University is a fairly popular school to study English language and literature in United States with over 45 graduates last year.

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U of Michigan is a fairly large public school located in the city of Ann Arbor. A Best Colleges rank of 38 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means U of Michigan is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, U of Michigan also offers 2 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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UCLA is a very large public school located in the large city of Los Angeles. This college ranks 65th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCLA also offers 2 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#20

Binghamton University

Vestal, NY

Binghamton University is a large public school located in the suburb of Vestal. This school ranks 177th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, Binghamton University also offers 2 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship).

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#21

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Chestnut Hill. This college ranks 61st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

With 124 undergraduates, Boston College is one of most popular schools to study English language and literature in United States.

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#22

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN

Located in the large suburb Notre Dame, Notre Dame is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 14 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Notre Dame is a great school overall.

There are roughly 84 English language and literature undergraduates enrolled in this program at Notre Dame.

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Located in the fringe town Oxford, Miami of Ohio is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 230th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

There are roughly 185 English language and literature undergraduates enrolled in this program at Miami of Ohio.

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#24

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA

University of Virginia is a fairly large public school located in the small suburb of Charlottesville. This school ranks 42nd out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

For those interested in something more advanced, University of Virginia also offers 2 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#25

Rice University

Houston, TX

Located in the city Houston, Rice is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 11 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Rice is a great college overall.

A popular choice for English language and literature undergraduates, there are roughly 35 students enrolled in this degree at Rice.

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Rest of the Top Best Colleges for English Language & Literature

#27

Dartmouth College

Hanover, NH
#29

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT
#30

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
#31

Spelman College

Atlanta, GA
#32

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
#33

Fordham University

Bronx, NY
#34

Boston University

Boston, MA
#35

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
#36

Baylor University

Waco, TX
#37

Clemson University

Clemson, SC
#39

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, CA
#40

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA
#41

Villanova University

Villanova, PA
#42

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI
#43

Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, PA
#44

Texas Tech University

Lubbock, TX
#45

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
#46

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY
#47

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, VA
#48

Amherst College

Amherst, MA
#49

Hollins University

Roanoke, VA
#50

Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT

Additional Award Winners

This list shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Colleges for English Language & Literature badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 430 different United States English language and literature schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
52 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
53 University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA
54 Monmouth University West Long Branch, NJ
55 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
56 Wellesley College Wellesley, MA
57 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
58 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
59 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
60 Colgate University Hamilton, NY
61 University of Maryland - College Park College Park, MD
62 Drake University Des Moines, IA
63 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
64 Mills College Oakland, CA

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for English Language & Literature award.

Rank College Location
65 Tufts University Medford, MA
66 Oberlin College Oberlin, OH
67 Northeastern University Boston, MA
68 Grand Valley State University Allendale, MI
69 Kenyon College Gambier, OH
70 Saint Anselm College Manchester, NH
71 University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI
72 Sewanee - The University of the South Sewanee, TN
73 Truman State University Kirksville, MO
74 University of North Texas Denton, TX
75 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ
76 Smith College Northampton, MA
77 Rhodes College Memphis, TN
78 Lewis & Clark College Portland, OR
79 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
80 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
81 Assumption University Worcester, MA
82 Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
83 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
84 Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, MA
85 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
86 University of Denver Denver, CO

English Language & Literature by Region

View the Best Colleges for English Language & Literature for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
The Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

English Language & Literature Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
General English Literature 42,666
Writing Studies 14,629
English Literature (Other) 1,163
Literature 841

View All English Language & Literature Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities 547,539
Visual & Performing Arts 153,295
Foreign Languages & Linguistics 34,386
Theology & Religious Vocations 32,172
Philosophy & Religious Studies 16,252

View All English Language & Literature Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Mike Hazard. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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