Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers University

General Information

This section has been provided by the Graduate office for prospective students. Please visit this section of the web site for helpful links and information:

We caution prospective applicants against being swayed by national rankings, which are deeply flawed in a variety of ways.  In 2010, for example, the National Research Council, whose rankings were once considered authoritative, released its most recent survey.  Attempting to avoid the false air of precision that came from ranking one program #7 and another #8, the NRC used a methodology too complex for non-statisticians to understand, in order to produce a set of evaluative “ranges” too ambiguous to lead to definite conclusions.  For a good summary of the controversy when the report was first released, see: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2010/09/29/rankings

Programs that use the NRC report to claim an overall numerical ranking or that assert the NRC ranked them within some narrow range in specific evaluative categories are misleading prospective students.  Search engines that base their rankings on the NRC data are even more of a nuisance; many generate wild, preposterous numbers.

Rutgers consistently placed within the top twenty programs in the NRC’s array of  rankings, but for any program to make more precise claims than that would, in most cases, be deceitful.

In the absence of a reliable, mathematically defensible system of rankings, many of us fall back on the U. S. News and World Reports rankings, which put Rutgers at No. 17.  But these rankings are notoriously amateurish, since they depend on the “votes” of random faculty members who may or may not be familiar with the programs they’re judging, and since this kind of opinion poll is rarely well informed about the latest shifts of strength within a program’s particular fields.  Such rankings notoriously over-estimate hallowed, traditional programs, while they under-estimate up-and-coming schools.

We counsel prospective students to look askance at national rankings, and instead to research graduate programs on their own by comparing placement statistics, funding packages, faculty strength in their field(s) of interest, and whatever evidence of intellectual community and student morale they can glean (such as student publication records and the presence of interest groups in their area of specialization).

The Rutgers Graduate Program of Literatures in English is currently accepting applications for this graduate admissions cycle. The deadline to apply is December 15, 2021. Our admissions process reflects the anti-racist values of the department, and we are committed to admitting, recruiting and supporting a diverse community of exceptional scholars, including students of color, international applicants, and those whose socioeconomic or cultural backgrounds are underrepresented in our fields of study. 

The program is designed for students who wish to complete the Ph.D. Our nationally recognized faculty is remarkably diverse in fields and approaches. Our faculty teach in all the major periods of British, American, and global Anglophone literature, including Medieval and Early Modern studies, colonial American literature, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and American writing, modernism and postmodernism, postcolonial studies, and contemporary literary studies. We also have a commitment to non-traditional, non-canonical literatures. Our department is known for its work in feminist and gender studies, as is Rutgers as a whole, and we have specialists in women’s writing in every historical period. We also offer many courses in drama and performance studies, and in literary theory. One of our strongest concentrations is in African American and African Diaspora studies, in which we have a large group of faculty and students. Many faculty members are interested in comparative Anglophone studies and theories of world literature. We are eager to recruit exceptional candidates in all of these areas. 

This section is provided for prospective students interested in our program. Please visit this section of the Website frequently for up- to-date information.

General Information

Open House

  • Spring 2022 Open House information forthcoming

RU-info (732-445-info) is the information and referral service of Rutgers University Campus Information Services. Rutgers University is one of the nation’s leading research universities with an international reputation for excellence. RU-info is available to assist inquirers by telephone during the academic year.

Website: ruinfo.rutgers.edu


Students entering with an MA degree will have the option of using prior coursework, where appropriate, to meet up to (2) distribution requirements. The Associate Director will determine which, if any, courses are eligible for transfer. All students in the program take 12 courses, though students entering with an MA may be ready to specialize earlier, which the reduction of distribution courses can facilitate, and to use their 12th course to enroll in an article publication workshop. In consultation with department advisors, entering students will design a program that best meets individual needs and preparation.


why english wide

Live Chat

A green checkmark means an advisor is available; a red X means that there currently isn't a live chat session to join.


 Undergraduate Students


Graduate Program in English


Statue of "Willie the Silent"