English Department students around a table, working on a project.

English is at the heart of the liberal arts. One of the largest departments in the UW College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of English makes major contributions to the intellectual vitality, academic excellence, and educational mission of the University. The many interests and instructional programs of the Department — including literature, rhetoric, culture, theory, criticism, history, pedagogy, and creative writing — are linked by the study of this common language.



  • The Department of English has the highest enrollment among the humanities departments at the University of Washington, serving more than 13,000 students each year, many of them non-majors fulfilling UW writing and general education requirements.
  • USA Today has ranked the Department’s BA program as third in the U.S., and the Creative Writing Program has been ranked among the top ten in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
  • The Department’s Master of Arts for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) was granted the English Language Fellow Top Producing Institution Award by the US State Department, awarded only to five institutions in the US.
  • The Department’s Expository Writing Program was awarded a 2019 Certificate of Excellence from the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the only program in the US to receive this honor.

  • Since 2008, nearly 90% of UW English PhDs hold positions in higher education in the United States and abroad.


Undergraduate majors


The Department offers five degree programs: the Bachelor of Arts with concentrations in literature and culture and creative writing; the Master of Arts in language and literature; the Master of Arts for Teachers (of English to Speakers of Other Languages); the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing; and the Doctor of Philosophy. It also offers an undergraduate minor in English and a writing minor.

Among special programs are internships for undergraduates, study abroad programs in London and Rome, and a departmental honors program. A number of graduate and undergraduate courses are cross-listed with Comparative Literature; Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; American Ethnic Studies; and American Indian Studies.

Department of English alumni have translated their versatile English degrees into successful careers in business, education, law, medicine, library science, advertising, and journalism. English Department graduates excel in the non-profit sector and the Northwest’s e-commerce and technology economy.

Department of English faculty are among the most accomplished in their respective disciplines, publishing prize-winning books and organizing numerous public initiatives. They are dedicated teachers and mentors, whose courses engage with the most pressing questions of our time, from racism and economic inequality to climate change, from book history to video games.


Spring 2021

  • 412 Undergraduate majors
  • 86  Undergraduate minors
  • 102 Graduate students
  • 11,465 Total student enrollment (2020-2021)
  • 66,123 Total student credit hours (2020-2021)

Degrees Awarded

July 2020 - June 2021

  • 167 Bachelor of Arts degrees
  • 5 Master of Arts degrees
  • 11 Master of Fine Arts degrees
  • 11 MATESOL degrees
  • 14 PhD degrees

Major Student Awards

Since 2015

  • 5 President’s Medalists
  • 2 Dean’s Medalists
  • 4 Husky 100 honorees
  • 4 Bonderman Travel Fellowships
  • 1 Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship
  • 2 Mary Gates Research Scholarships
  • 3 Commencement Gonfalonieri
  • 1 Graduate Medal in the Humanities
  • 1 Graduate School Presidential Fellowship
  • 1 McNair Scholar
  • 1 Beinecke Scholarship
  • 1 Rhodes Scholarship Finalist


Graduation Photo

Autumn 2021

The Department of English has 57 faculty and 35 emeritus faculty, including:

  • 26 Professors 
  • 16 Associate Professors
  • 4 Assistant Professors
  • 5 Teaching Professors
  • 5 Associate Teaching Professors
  • 1 Assistant Teaching Professor
  • 35 Emeritus Faculty

Selected Faculty Awards & Honors

  • 3 ACLS Fellowships
  • 8 Fulbright Fellowships
  • 4 Guggenheim Fellowships
  • 2 MacArthur Fellowships
  • 6 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships
  • 2 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships
  • 1 Rhodes Scholarship
  • 5 UW Distinguished Teaching Awards
  • 2 UW Graduate Faculty Mentor Awards
  • 1 UW Sterling Munro Public Service Award
  • 1 UW Thorud Leadership Award
  • 2 Washington State Book Awards
  • 1 Yale Younger Poets Prize
  • 1 Sullivan Prize for Short Fiction
  • 1 Conference on College Composition and Communication Research Impact Award
  • 1 Newsweek's Future of Travel Best Book Award
  • 1 Sarah A. Whaley Best Book Award
  • 1 LitHub’s list of most important books of the last decade


The faculty’s scholarly and creative publications are extensive, including studies of literature, literary theory, criticism, and history; cultural studies; English language and pedagogy; rhetoric and composition; and creative writing in fiction, literary nonfiction, screenwriting, poetry, and drama.

Areas of Scholarship

  • Books

    Literature of America, England, and the English-speaking World

  • Literary Theory, History, and Criticism
  • Cultural Studies
  • Feminist Theory and Criticism
  • Gender and Queer Studies
  • Language History, Theory, and Acquisition
  • Sociolinguistics, Discourse Analysis, and Critical Applied Linguistics
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Genre and Popular Culture Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Textual Studies
  • Translingual and Transnational Literacy
  • Pedagogy
  • Rhetoric and Composition
  • Environmental and Public Humanities
  • Visual and Digital Literary and Cultural Representations


  • Andrew R. Hilen Professorship in American Literature and Culture
  • Grace and S. Wilson Pollock Professorship in Creative Writing
  • Loren B. Milliman Writer-in-Residence
  • Milliman Endowed Chair in the Humanities
  • Nancy K. Ketcham Endowed Chair


The Department sponsors numerous literary readings and lectures by faculty, students, and invited visitors. The annual Scheingold Lecture in Poetry and Poetics attracts audiences across the community.

Poster for 2021 Shiengold lecture.

The Literature, Language, and Culture video and podcast series highlights faculty research and teaching, including the ways our work contributes to how we experience and seek to understand global challenges. Each episode includes resources to support viewers’ learning.

Through UW in the High School and the Texts and Teachers Program, the Department participates in teaching parallel versions of courses at the University and high school levels, enrolling nearly 7,000 students across the state since 2013.

Master of Fine Arts students work as writers-in-residence at local schools, and as interns at presses and literary arts centers.

Undergraduate students volunteer with numerous community organizations and tutor in area schools, frequently through department service-learning courses. Over the last ten years, students provided nearly 75,000 hours of community service.

Sponsored journals — Seattle Review and Bricolage — publish scholarly and creative work by both local and national writers.

Through participation in the Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau lectures, Reflection Point (formerly Books@Work), University Beyond Bars, Red Badge Project, the Washington Institute for the Study of Inequality and Race, and the Sacred Breath Writing and Storytelling series, English department faculty engage in partnerships that promote social justice.


Department of English
Box 354330
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-2690

last update: October 2021