Best California Colleges for Students Majoring in English and Literature

Having a good command of English is a necessity for a career in any English speaking country. Completing a degree in English literature leads to the acquisition of skills, such as: creativity, communication, critical analysis, and effective writing.

An English literature degree can help a student prepare for a career as a technical writer, interpreter and translator, writer/author, editor, reporter, correspondent and much more.

What Are the Best California Colleges for Students Majoring in English and Literature?

California State University, Los Angeles 

California State University, Los Angeles offers several English related programs. For example, the university features the Bachelor of Arts in English, which offers several options.  Students of California State University, Los Angeles can become elementary school teachers through the BA in liberal studies with the elementary teacher preparation option.  California State University, Los Angeles also offers two English related minors in creative writing and English. A Master of Arts degree in English is also available at CSU Los Angeles.

Notable Alumni of California State University, Los Angeles department of English include:

  • Octavia Butler: Science fiction author
  • Leo Leyson: Author, ‘The Boy on the Wooden Box’
  • Lorin Morgan Richards: Author and illustrator of children’s books
  • Marilyn Reynolds: Young adult fiction author
  • Joseph Wambaugh: Bestselling novelist
  • Christopher Sherwood: British novelist, writer of ‘Berlin Stories’

Stanford University

Stanford University offers creative a writing program that is one of the best known in the country. It brings together a vibrant community of writers and creates the power of individual expression.  The English department requires students to be proficient in analyzing various works of literature.  Masters and Ph.D. degrees are also available in English as well as literature.

Stanford university is continually on the cutting edge of educational trends- offering students the hottest degrees on the market.  For example:

  • A minor in digital humanities that combines humanistic inquiry with digital methods and tools to foster innovative research
  • A computer science + English major that allows students to earn a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree by combining core skills in computer science and English.

Fact: Stanford University’s general English and literature program is ranked 7 out of 642 institutions in the nation.  A student who graduates from Stanford University with a degree in English or literature will make early career earnings of $47,000.

Notable alumni of Stanford University’s English Department include:

  • Ted Koppel: Former anchor for ABC’s ‘Nightline.’ He has been awarded 37 Emmy awards
  • Sigourney Weaver: A renowned actress
  • Paulette Franklin: Artist, courtroom artist
  • Edith Head: Costume designer
  • Allegra Goodman: Novelist

University of Southern California

The English and literature programs at the University of Southern California are offered through the Department of English, in the USC Dornsife College of Letters and Arts Department.  The department boasts highly accomplished faculty that includes recipients of Guggenheim fellowships, The National Book Award, Pushcart Prizes, and National Endowment for the Arts grants among others. The university features a unique dual Ph.D. program that combines the discipline of literature and creative work, forming a unique single educational experience: the USC Ph.D. in creative writing and literature program.

Fact: University of Southern California’s English and literature program is ranked 27 out of 651 colleges across the United States.  According to Pay Scale, students who graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in English will earn an average early career salary of $48,000.

Alumni of Southern California’s Department of English include:

  • Chris Abani: Composer and poet
  • Neil Aitken: Author of ‘The Lost Country of Sight,’ awarded 2007 Philip Levine Prize for poetry
  • Andrew Allport: Author
  • Josh Bernstein: Fiction editor of Tikkum Magazine and an assistant professor of English at the University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Amaranth Borsuk: Scholar and poet
  • Jillian Burcar: Writer of fiction

University of California, Berkeley

The English and literature major sits at the top of Berkeley’s most popular majors. Literature courses focus on major authors, historical periods, genres, critical theories and methods and cultural as well as multicultural studies.   The department offers a wide-ranging Ph.D. program engaging in all historical periods of British and American literature, Anglophone literature and cultural theory.  Students in the English department can combine a Ph.D. in English with studies in other designated disciplines. The disciplines include film studies, medieval studies, women, gender, and sexuality.

University of California, Berkeley’s English and literature program is ranked 23 out of 644 institutions nationwide.   According to pay scale students who graduate from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in English and literature will earn an early career salary of $42,000.

Notable alumni of University of California, Berkeley Department of English include:

  • Mischa Berlinski: Novelist, author of fieldwork 2007
  • Kate Braver man: Poet, novelist
  • James Chapman: Novelist
  • Sara Davidson: Renowned author
  • Joan Didion: Renowned writer, author
  • Barbara Guest: Renowned Poet

Are you interested in pursuing an English or literature degree? Visit California College Bound for reviews, facts, and answers on schools who offer these programs in California.

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