Which univsersity has the best English department?

Guest   Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:06 am GMT
Which univsersity has the best English department?
Guest   Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:39 am GMT
Oxford or Cambridge?
Guest   Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:47 am GMT
Could be anywhere, English is not really a resource demanding subject. It's not like science where the best universities are the ones with the biggest budget to buy expensive equipment.
Skippy   Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:08 am GMT
It really depends... It depends on what you want to study, English literature, American literature, poetry, scriptwriting, etc... or even a lot of English departments (at least in the US) have Old and Middle English literature and history of the English language...

The US News and World Report rankings for grad school English departments in the US list the top 10 as:

01. Harvard
01. UC Berkeley
01. Yale
04. Princeton
04. Stanford
06. Cornell
06. Univ. Chicago
08. Columbia
08. Johns Hopkins
10. UCLA
10. Univ. Pennsylvania
Guest   Wed Jul 09, 2008 6:16 am GMT
Then if the English department of Cambridge or Oxford is compared with the English department of Harvard or Yale or UC Berkeley , which one is better?
Damian in Edinburgh   Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:17 am GMT
Forgive my natural bias but it just HAS to be the English Department of the University of Leeds, England. I had the sheer pleasure of being a student there 2000-2004, and although I'm from Scotland, where I could have attended a Scottish university entirely free of all fees and charges, including that of my home city here in Edinburgh, I ultimately chose Leeds, an English university where I was liable for all fees (or rather my family was for the most part and which I am now dutifully repaying bit by bit. THe English Department at Leeds is undeniably one of the best in the UK for the quality of its teaching (and results) - and many say actually the best. I can't adequately tell you how amazingly dedicated and successful the teaching staff is there at Leeds.

Those years at Leeds were about the happiest of my life so far - very hard work but also very rewarding and the social life, including my part in the uni theatrical/drama society, among others, including the Outdoor Pursuits and sporting clubs, and the fantastic uni gay social group. Even off campus, the city of Leeds is very vibrant with so much going on so there was never a dull moment.

Guest   Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:35 am GMT
Damian in Edinburgh,oh, I appreciate your ardent affection for Leeds. Did you major in English there at Leeds University?
Damian in Linlithgow   Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:45 pm GMT
Yes, English, and also Social History. We tend not to use the term "major" over here, more specialisd subject, and then say what classification you achieved, eg a First and/or a 2:1 degree.

Are you familiar with Leeds Uni, or Leeds itself? I liked both a great deal, and some of my best mates are guys I met there and still see on a regular basis - one living in Wales, and the others all down in England, so good excuses to go "a travelling" around this fair land! I know I extract the urine from the English a lot (what Scot doesn't!) but all the English people I know are absolutely ace! Top rate! And i loved the Yorkshire people, too - the most outspoken, no messing, tell you how it is people ever! You always know where you stand with Yorkshire folk - there's that word again!

Bill Bryson, the American writer who fell in love with the UK and who lives in England permanently now, first encountered Yorkshire dry humour when he went to buy a single train ticket to Manchester at a small Yorkshire train station. He asked the guy if he could have a receipt for the money paid for the ticket as he needed it for subsequent refund as he was touring all over the UK in order to write his book about this country : "Notes From a Small Island". With a deadpan face the booking clerk said to him as he handed over both the ticket and the receipt: "The ticket's free, but the receipt costs £18.75". In his book Bryson said that if that had happened in America the average traveller would have yelled out "You what? Jeez! What kinda cockamammy outfit is this?" ;-)
Wintereis   Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:04 pm GMT
No, Damian, we would have laughed out of a desire to placate the poor conductor with his rather unoriginal joke.
Skippy   Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:45 pm GMT
It's tough to find world-wide rankings by subject... Wikipedia has an overall list. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_Ranking_of_World_Universities

Any one of which (at least in an English-speaking country) is bound to have a very good English department.
Wintereis   Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:48 pm GMT
People on one side of the Atlantic are going to say one thing while people on the other side are going to say something completely different. As if that weren't obvious. And, in all actuality, it is as Skippy said. It will depend entirely on what you want to get out of it. Certain schools have certain strengths. I did not study at any of the aforementioned places, but my Universities English department was well respected. I studied Shakespeare under a Guggenheim fellow (I am sure you have heard the name Guggenheim), I was able to see a U.S. Poet Lauriat and Pulitzer Prize winner every day in the halls and talk to him—a very friendly man and down to earth. I worked at one of the top literary journals in the U.S. It was home to the Whitman Archives and the Cather Archives, and yet I am not willing to say it was the best. I was, however, surprised not to see Iowa on the list that Skippy provided (which is not my University). It is known for being one of the best schools for avant gar writers in the nation. So again, it all depends on what you want. I would imagine that if you are looking to study the canonical works, England would be a good place to go, though we have great places for that here in the U.S. as well. But if you want to study contemporary works or look at diversity in regionalism, race, ethnicity, etc. America would be the better of the two. If you want to study the novel, I would suggest England. If you want to study poetry, I would suggest the U.S. (And I know I'm going to get some people who argue, so here: "By the 1960s, the young poets of the British Poetry Revival looked to their American contemporaries and predecessors as models for the kind of poetry they wanted to write. Toward the end of the millennium, consideration of American poetry had diversified, as scholars placed an increased emphasis on poetry by women, African Americans, Hispanics, Chicanos and other subcultural groupings. Poetry, and creative writing in general, also tended to become more professionalized with the growth of creative writing programs in the English studies departments of campuses across the country.")
and yet both countries can offer great programs for each.
Guest   Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:46 am GMT
Very informative information by Wintereis.