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 10,000 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., while Steppingblocks recognized English for graduating the third largest number of English majors in the Western US. 
  • Our new undergraduate curriculum features three overlapping distribution areas (Historical Depth; Power and Difference; and Genre, Method, and Language), each with detailed learning goals.
  • We offer a mentoring program for English majors who are interested in teaching careers, a course focused on Professionalization and Public Life, and a Humanities Data Studies Lab.
  • 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 Program in Writing and Rhetoric 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 2023

  • 412 Undergraduate majors
  • 86 Undergraduate minors
  • 96 Graduate students

Degrees Awarded

July 2022 - June 2023

  • 143 Bachelor of Arts degrees
  • 23 Master of Arts degrees
  • 12 PhD degrees

Major Student Awards

Since 2015

  • 5 President’s Medalists
  • 3 Dean’s Medalists
  • 4 Husky 100 honorees
  • 4 Bonderman Travel Fellowships
  • 1 Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship
  • 2 Mary Gates Research Scholarships
  • 3 Commencement Gonfalonieri
  • 2 Graduate Medals in the Humanities
  • 1 Graduate School Presidential Fellowship
  • 2 Graduate School Distinguished Dissertation Awards
  • 2 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellows
  • 1 McNair Scholar
  • 1 Beinecke Scholarship
  • 2 Rhodes Scholarship Finalists


Graduation Photo

Autumn 2023

The Department of English has 58 faculty and 35 emeritus faculty, including:

  • 25 Professors 
  • 13 Associate Professors
  • 7 Assistant Professors
  • 4 Teaching Professors
  • 5 Associate Teaching Professors
  • 4 Assistant Teaching Professors
  • 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
  • 3 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships
  • Rhodes Scholarship
  • 5 UW Distinguished Teaching Awards
  • 2 UW Graduate Faculty Mentor Awards
  • Lisa Ede Mentoring Award
  • UW Sterling Munro Public Service Award
  • UW Thorud Leadership Award
  • 2 Washington State Book Awards
  • Yale Younger Poets Prize
  • Sullivan Prize for Short Fiction
  • Conference on College Composition and Communication Research Impact Award
  • Career Enhancement Fellowship, Institute for Citizens and Scholars
  • MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize for Outstanding Book
  • Mellon/Mozilla Responsible Computing Grant
  • Newsweek's Future of Travel Best Book Award
  • Sarah A. Whaley Best Book Award


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
  • Technical and Professional Writing
  • 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.

In recent years our undergraduate students have published books, founded journals — including Bricolage, AU (Alternate Universe), Capillaries, and Grey Matters — and are regular contributors to UW’s student newspaper, The Daily.

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: November 2023