Office: Building 460, Room 201
Mail Code: 94305-2087
Phone: (650) 723-2635
Web Site:

Courses offered by the Department of English are listed under the subject code ENGLISH on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

Mission of the Department of English

To study English at Stanford is to explore, deeply and rewardingly, the rich legacy of literature written in English, past and present. The department offers a wealth of courses on individual authors, the history of literary genres, literary theory, new media, and creative writing. Given the emphasis on critical thinking and interpretation, the English major is in turn an excellent preparation for many professional fields, including teaching, journalism, law, publishing, medicine, and business. The graduate program features rigorous training in the research and analysis of British, American, and global literary histories and texts, preparing students to produce scholarship of originality and importance, and to teach literature at the highest levels.

Learning Outcomes (Undergraduate)

The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department's undergraduate program. Students are expected to demonstrate:

  1. an understanding of major theories, methods, and concepts of literary study and critical analysis.

  2. an awareness of how authors and texts develop in relation to their historical contexts.

  3. a comprehension of the formal qualities of key literary genres, forms, and styles.

  4. an effective style of writing and a powerful use of language.

Bachelor of Arts in English

In the undergraduate program, students explore the traditions of literature in English. Courses emphasize interpretive thinking and creative writing, examining the dynamics of literary and cultural history, the structures of literary form and genre, and the practices of reading, writing, and critical analysis.

Doctor of Philosophy in English

The graduate program features rigorous training in the research and analysis of British, American and Anglophone literary histories and texts, preparing students to produce scholarship of originality and importance, and to teach literature at advanced levels.

Learning Outcomes (Graduate)

The purpose of the master's program is to further develop knowledge and skills in British, American and Anglophone literary histories and texts and to prepare students for a professional career or doctoral studies. This is achieved through completion of courses, in the primary field as well as related areas, and experience with independent work and specialization.

The Ph.D. is conferred upon candidates who have produced substantial scholarship and demonstrated the ability to conduct independent research and analysis in English. Through completion of advanced course work and rigorous skills training, the doctoral program prepares students to make original contributions to the discipline of English Literature and present the results of such research.

Other Programs in English

Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature

Stanford also offers a Ph.D. degree in Modern Thought and Literature. Under this program, students devote approximately half of their time to a modern literature from the Enlightenment to the present, and the other half to interdisciplinary studies. Interested students should see the "Modern Thought and Literature" section of this bulletin and consult the director of the program.

Creative Writing Fellowships

The Creative Writing Program each year offers five two-year fellowships in poetry and five two-year fellowships in fiction. These are not degree-granting fellowships. Information is available in the Creative Writing office, 650-723-0011.


Emeriti: (Professors) John B. Bender (English, Comparative Literature), George H. Brown, W. B. Carnochan, W. S. Di Piero, Kenneth W. Fields, Albert J. Gelpi, Barbara C. Gelpi,  Shirley Heath, Andrea A. Lunsford, Franco Moretti, Stephen Orgel, Nancy H. Packer, Marjorie G. Perloff, Robert M. Polhemus, Arnold Rampersad, David R. Riggs, Lawrence V. Ryan, Elizabeth C. Traugott, Tobias Wolff; (Associate Professor) Sandra Drake; (Professor, Teaching) Larry Friedlander; (Senior Lecturer) Helen B. Brooks; (Lecturer) David MacDonald

Chair: Ato Quayson

Director of Graduate Studies: Mark Algee-Hewitt

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Vaughn Rasberry

Director of Creative Writing Program: Patrick Phillips

Professors: Terry Castle, Margaret Cohen,  Michele Elam, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Denise Gigante, Roland Greene (English, Comparative Literature), Blair Hoxby, Adam Johnson, Gavin Jones, Chang-rae Lee, Mark McGurl, Paula Moya, Patricia A. Parker (English, Comparative Literature), Peggy Phelan (English, Theater and Performance Studies), Patrick Phillips, Ato Quayson, Nancy Ruttenburg, Ramón Saldívar (English, Comparative Literature, Elizabeth Tallent, Elaine Treharne, Blakey Vermeule (on leave), Alex Woloch

Associate Professors: Mark Greif, Nicholas Jenkins (on leave), Vaughn Rasberry 

Assistant Professors: Mark Algee-Hewitt, Michaela Bronstein, Roanne Kantor, Ivan Lupić, Thomas Owens, Esther Yu

Senior Lecturer: Judith Richardson, Alice Staveley

Courtesy Professors: Joshua Landy, Bernadette Meyler, David Palumbo-Liu, Kathryn Starkey

Lecturers:  Molly Antopol, William Brewer, Kai Carlson-Wee, Keith Ekiss, John Evans, Sarah Frisch, Richard Hofmann, Sterling HolyWhiteMountain, Scott Hutchins, Tom Kealey, Mark Labowskie, Sara Michas-Martin, Brittany Perham, Ryan Perry, Edward Porter, Shannon Pufahl, Nina Schloesser Tarano, Michael Sears, Michael Shewmaker, Monica Sok, Shimon Tanaka, Ruchika Tomar, Jennifer Alandy Trahan, Rose Whitmore

Adjunct Professor: Valerie Miner

Visiting Professors: Louise Glück

Graduate Advising Expectations

The Department of English is committed to providing academic advising in support of graduate student scholarly and professional development. When most effective, this advising relationship entails collaborative and sustained engagement by both the advisor and the advisee. As a best practice, advising expectations should be periodically discussed and reviewed to ensure mutual understanding. Both the advisor and the advisee are expected to maintain professionalism and integrity.

Faculty advisors guide students in key areas such as selecting courses, designing and conducting research, developing of teaching pedagogy, navigating policies and degree requirements, and exploring academic opportunities and professional pathways.

Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship, proactively seeking academic and professional guidance and taking responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements for their graduate program.

For a statement of University policy on graduate advising, see the "Graduate Advising" section of this bulletin.