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About English at UC Merced

"I have prospered in the UC Merced English department’s eagerness to push forward stories of all mediums, languages, and times; stories of the earth, its diverse communities, and the history being created in places like my home Merced.” –Darah Carrillo Vargas, class of 2023

The UC Merced English program offers a major and minor. Studies show that English majors and other humanities majors achieve substantially greater gains than business, technology, and engineering majors in writing ability, complex reasoning, and critical thinking—skills that today’s employers are actively seekingIn fact, these skills are so valuable, that recent analyses show that earnings for English majors are increasing.

Watch two students and two professors discuss our program's strenths, give advice on succeeding as an English major, and talk about careers for English majors in this Fall 2021 discussion.

We teach literature from around the world

Our many and varied courses cover literature of all kinds, from medieval England to 18th century India to modern day California, and most fulfill several General Education requirements including Literary and Textual Analysis, Societies and Cultures of the Past, Diversity and Identity, Global Awareness, and Sustainability.



Our classes are small

At UC Merced, 3/4 of all English classes offered each term have class size of 25 or fewer, giving students opportunities for personalized feedback from professors and small group discussion. In other words, our program has University of California faculty and resources, but class sizes similar to those of a small liberal arts college. By the time a UC Merced English major graduates, multiple professors know them by name, and know them well!


Our faculty are scholarly leaders and dedicated teachers

Bobcat DayOur faculty have an impressive record of research and scholarly accomplishment, and have published, collectively, nearly thirty books. We are members of department of Literatures, Languages, and Cultures at UC Merced, and proudly teach in the English undergraduate program as well as the Interdisciplinary Humanities graduate program.

Our students conduct original research and create artistic projects

In English classes, through the Senior Thesis class and Honors Progam, and through the UROC-H program, English majors work closely with faculty to conduct original research, adding impressive experience to their job or graduate school applications. Students put together extraordinary creative projects in our classes, sometimes collaboratively, and contribute meaningfully to community artistic work.

We offer emphasis tracks in Literature & Social Justice and Literature & the Environment

Beginning in Fall 2023, students have the option to add an emphasis track to their English major, getting an English degree with a Literature and Social Justice emphasis, or a Literature and the Environment emphasis. These tracks direct students to take electives focused on these issues, and prepare them for relevant careers related to social justice and/or environmental work in several growth fields: law and policy; nonprofit administration; social justice, human rights, and environmental advocacy; education and academia; lobbying and government; community organizing and social work; consulting and management; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) positions; and writing and creative work.

Our graduates are successful

Our UC Merced English majors have gone on to become tech entrepreneurs, lawyers, medical professionals, teachers, non-profit leaders, librarians, park rangers, and more and have been admitted to top literature, creative writing, theatre, and law graduate programs across the country. Employability is just one of many reasons to consider a major or minor in English. 

Updated 2024