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2020 Best Colleges for English Language & Literature

Approximately 57,989 English language and literature degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be a challenge finding the best fit for you. This year's Best Colleges for English Language & Literature ranking analyzed 601 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 schools 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 consider 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  ( 121 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 college in the United States helped students who graduated in 2015-2017 earn $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 601 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best English Language & Literature Colleges

Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In WA

Every student pursuing a degree in English language and literature needs to check out University of Washington - Seattle Campus. Located in the large city Seattle, UW Seattle is a public school with a very large student population. This college ranks 84th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There are roughly 191 English language and literature undergrads enrolled in this program at UW Seattle.

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#2

Yale University

New Haven, CT
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In CT

Any student who is interested in English language and literature needs to take a look at Yale University. Located in the midsize city New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 4 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great school overall.

There are approximately 97 English language and literature undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Yale.

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#3

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In PA
11.1% Growth in Graduates

University of Pennsylvania is among your best bets if you want to study English language and literature. UPenn is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great college overall.

There are about 126 English language and literature undergrads studying this degree at UPenn.

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#4

Georgetown University

Washington, DC
Master Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In DC

It's difficult to beat Georgetown University if you wish to pursue English language and literature as a major. Located in the large city Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 42 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Georgetown is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Georgetown also offers a Master's Degree in English language and literature.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In CA
7.2% Growth in Graduates

UCLA is a fairly large public school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 49 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCLA also offers 3 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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#6

University of Miami

Coral Gables, FL
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
13th Most Popular In FL

U Miami is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Coral Gables. This school ranks 66th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Florida.

With 38 undergraduates, University of Miami is one of most popular colleges to study English language and literature in United States.

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#7

Brown University

Providence, RI
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In RI
0.8% Growth in Graduates

Brown is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Providence. A Best Colleges rank of 11 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Brown is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Brown 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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#8

Binghamton University

Vestal, NY
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In NY

Binghamton University is a fairly large public school located in the midsize suburb of Vestal. This school ranks 133rd out of 1,727 colleges 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 Master's Degree.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NY
19.3% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large city New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 26 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Columbia is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Columbia also offers 3 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#10

DePauw University

Greencastle, IN
7th Most Popular In IN

Located in the town Greencastle, DePauw is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This school ranks 82nd out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

With 48 students enrolled, DePauw University is one of most popular colleges to study English language and literature in United States.

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#11

Wesleyan University

Middletown, CT
3rd Most Popular In CT

Wesleyan U is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Middletown. This school ranks 54th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

There are about 81 English language and literature undergrads enrolled in this program at Wesleyan U.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In CA
7.1% Growth in Graduates

UC Berkeley is a very large public school located in the medium-sized city of Berkeley. This school ranks 65th out of 1,727 schools 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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#13

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
20th Most Popular In MA

Located in the city Waltham, Brandeis is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 68th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

With 41 undergrads, Brandeis University is one of most popular schools to study English language and literature in United States.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In MO

WUSTL is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Saint Louis. A Best Colleges rank of 19 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means WUSTL is a great school overall.

WUSTL offers English language and literature degrees as low as a First Year Certificates and all the way up to a Research / Scholarship Based Doctorate's.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In TX

UT Austin is a fairly large public school located in the city of Austin. This school ranks 78th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Texas.

There are about 337 English language and literature undergrads enrolled in this program at UT Austin.

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#16

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In VA

GMU is a fairly large public school located in the large suburb of Fairfax. This school ranks 230th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Virginia.

For those interested in something more advanced, GMU also offers 3 different higher degree levels in English language and literature, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree.

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#17

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In IN

Purdue is a fairly large public school located in the small city of West Lafayette. This college ranks 100th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

Purdue University - Main Campus is one of the most popular college to study English language and literature in United States with more than 89 graduates last year.

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#18

College of the Holy Cross

Worcester, MA
12th Most Popular In MA

Holy Cross is a small private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Worcester. A Best Colleges rank of 24 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Holy Cross is a great school overall.

A favorite choice for English language and literature undergraduates, there are about 58 students studying this program at Holy Cross.

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#19

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In IA

Located in the city Iowa City, Iowa is a public college with a very large student population. This school ranks 166th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Iowa.

There are about 278 English language and literature undergrads studying this program at Iowa.

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#20

Emory University

Atlanta, GA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In GA
6.7% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large city Atlanta, Emory is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 27 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Emory is a great college overall.

With 90 undergraduates, Emory University is one of most popular schools to study English language and literature in United States.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MI

U of Michigan is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Ann Arbor. A Best Colleges rank of 35 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means U of Michigan is a great college overall.

There are about 225 English language and literature undergrads studying this degree at U of Michigan.

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#22

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
5th Most Popular In MA
11.2% Growth in Graduates

Harvard is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Cambridge. A Best Colleges rank of 5 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Harvard is a great college overall.

Harvard University is a fairly popular school to study English language and literature in United States with more than 125 graduations last year.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
27th Most Popular In CA

USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 40 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means USC is a great school overall.

With 77 undergrads, University of Southern California is one of most popular schools to study English language and literature in United States.

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#24

Bates College

Lewiston, ME
3rd Most Popular In ME
2.3% Growth in Graduates

Located in the small city Lewiston, Bates is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This school ranks 64th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Maine.

There are about 44 English language and literature undergrads enrolled in this degree at Bates.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In OH

Located in the fringe town Oxford, Miami of Ohio is a public school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 271st out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Ohio.

For those interested in something more advanced, Miami of Ohio 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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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for English Language & Literature

Additional Award Winners

This section shows the remainder of the schools awarded a Best Colleges for English Language & Literature badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 601 different United States English language and literature schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
52 College of Saint Benedict Saint Joseph, MN
53 Bryn Mawr College Bryn Mawr, PA
54 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
55 Dartmouth College Hanover, NH
56 Baylor University Waco, TX
57 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
58 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
59 CUNY Brooklyn College Brooklyn, NY
60 Franklin and Marshall College Lancaster, PA
61 Seattle University Seattle, WA
62 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
63 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
64 University of Houston Houston, TX
65 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
66 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT
67 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
68 Truman State University Kirksville, MO
69 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
70 Clemson University Clemson, SC
71 Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA
72 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
73 Roanoke College Salem, VA
74 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
75 Loyola University Maryland Baltimore, MD
76 Denison University Granville, OH
77 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
78 Grinnell College Grinnell, IA
79 Kalamazoo College Kalamazoo, MI
80 Bowdoin College Brunswick, ME
81 Ithaca College Ithaca, NY
82 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
83 Wheaton College Illinois Wheaton, IL
84 Chapman University Orange, CA
85 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
86 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
87 George Washington University Washington, DC
88 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO
89 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
90 Davidson College Davidson, NC

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
91 Butler University Indianapolis, IN
92 Barnard College New York, NY
93 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
94 Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, MA
95 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
96 University of Denver Denver, CO
97 Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
98 Trinity College Hartford, CT
99 University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI
100 Colorado College Colorado Springs, CO
101 Skidmore College Saratoga Springs, NY
102 Gettysburg College Gettysburg, PA
103 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
104 Hamline University Saint Paul, MN
105 Boston University Boston, MA
106 Le Moyne College Syracuse, NY
107 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
108 Western Washington University Bellingham, WA
109 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
110 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
111 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC
112 Dickinson College Carlisle, PA
113 Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY
114 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
115 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
116 Drew University Madison, NJ
117 University of California - San Diego La Jolla, CA
118 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
119 San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA
120 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY

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 43,370
Writing Studies 12,624
English Literature (Other) 1,215
Literature 780

View All English Language & Literature Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities 516,754
Visual & Performing Arts 154,258
Foreign Languages & Linguistics 34,883
Theology & Religious Vocations 31,559
Philosophy & Religious Studies 16,163

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.

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