Where in California Can I Earn a Degree in English?

Learn about English degree programs in California. Get information about degrees available and program requirements to make an informed decision about your education. Schools offering English Language & Literature degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Studying English in California

In California, there are many colleges and universities that offer degree programs in English; the following article discusses programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels. Programs typically cover a range of topics in canonical and non-canonical literature, spanning literary genres and historical periods of English literature. In a 4-year bachelor's degree program, you can explore and develop your interests. In a graduate program, you can further specialize in a particular author, historical period, or genre; master's degrees take 2-3 years, and doctoral degrees take 4-6 years.

Master's degree programs may or may not require a thesis, and some are terminal programs. You may have to demonstrate foreign language competency and teach undergraduate classes. Qualifying exams may also be required. Doctoral degree programs generally require qualifying exams and a dissertation, which you must defend, prior to graduation. You may also need to prove your competency in understanding a foreign language. Some schools provide a full financial aid package to doctoral students. Keep reading to see if any of these degree programs offered by public universities are a good fit for you.


Bachelor's Degree Programs in California

University of California, Berkeley

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Tuition: $5,610 per semester for residents, $17,049 per semester for non-residents (for the 2011-2012 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • School Type: 4-year, public
  • Address: 322 Wheeler Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1030
  • Phone: (510) 642-3467

The undergraduate program in the Department of English covers a diverse range of authors, cultures, genres, critical theories, and historical movements. In addition to writing and language courses, you'll be required to enroll in a series of courses that survey Anglophone literature, including works by Chaucer, Milton, and 20th-century authors. You'll also be required to take a specialized course on Shakespeare. One of the goals of this program is to prepare you for future specialization by providing a sound and multifarious foundation that spans the history of English literature.

University of California, Riverside

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Tuition: $3,740 per quarter for residents, $11,366 per quarter for non-residents (for the 2012-2013 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma
  • School Type: 4-year, public
  • Address: 1202 Humanities and Social Sciences Building, English Department - 40, Riverside, CA 92521
  • Phone: (951) 827-5301

The university offers a program in Anglophone literature that spans a variety of genres and historical periods. You'll have the ability to choose courses that accord with your own academic goals. You can focus on literary periods, such as Medieval, Renaissance, Romantic Victorian, and 19th-century American. You can also study contemporary works written in a variety of genres and forms, take courses on creative writing, and study critical theory. Additionally, the English department offers coursework that focuses on particular authors, such as Chaucer, Dickinson, and Wilde.


Master's Degree Programs in California

California Polytechnic State University

  • Program Name: Master of Arts in English
  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Tuition: $3,359 per semester for residents, $3,359 per semester plus $248 per unit for non-residents (for the 2011-2012 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public
  • Address: Building 47 Room 32, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
  • Phone: (805) 756-2596

The M.A. program in English includes nine required courses on American literary periods, British literature, literary criticism, composition theory, and linguistics. You can also pursue elective topics in composition, creative writing, and English education. The program includes opportunities for acquiring experience in this field, including options to tutor students and teach undergraduate courses in composition. This program does not offer a thesis option; in order to graduate, you'll need to pass a comprehensive examination.

University of California, Riverside

  • Program Name: Master of Arts in English
  • Program Length: 2-3 years
  • Tuition: $3,740 per quarter for residents, $8,774 per quarter for non-residents (for the 2012-2013 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public
  • Address: 1202 Humanities and Social Sciences Building, English Department - 40, Riverside, CA 92521
  • Phone: (951) 827-5301

The Department of English offers a terminal M.A. program in English; courses cover a range of authors, stylistic genres, and historical periods of American and British literature. If you enroll in this program, you'll be required to take a course that introduces you to graduate study, and you must complete nine seminars in a variety of topics to complete the degree. M.A. candidates are also expected to demonstrate competency in one foreign language and must take a qualifying examination to graduate.


Doctoral Programs in California

University of California, Berkeley

  • Program Name: Doctor of Philosophy in English
  • Program Length: 4-6 years
  • Tuition: $5,610 per semester for residents, $13,161 per semester for non-residents (for the 2011-2012 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public
  • Address: 322 Wheeler Hall #1030, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1030
  • Phone: (510) 643-9084

The Berkeley English Department offers a PhD program focusing on American and British literature. You'll also study cultural and critical theory. This program requires ten courses distributed among the general areas of 16th- to 20th-century literature. You will also be expected to demonstrate advanced knowledge or proficiency in a foreign language. The program requires a qualifying exam and a dissertation.

University of California, Los Angeles

  • Program Name: Doctor of Philosophy in English
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Tuition: $4,872.63 per semester for residents, $9,906.63 per semester for non-residents (for the 2011-2012 academic year)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • School Type: 4-year, public
  • Address: 149 Humanities Building, Box 951530, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1530
  • Phone: (310) 825-4173

The PhD program features courses in a range of areas, including 18th-century British and American literature, drama, textual studies, fiction, creative writing, Renaissance literature, theory and criticism, contemporary literature, and nonfiction prose. You will have access to colloquia, lectures, reading groups, and research centers. The faculty are engaged in a variety of specialized research topics, including Italian literature, Medieval Islam, Renaissance British literature, and environmental studies. Every student admitted to this program receives a fully funded package.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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