Literary Studies Curriculum
Faculty members in Literary Studies regard critical and theoretical writing as a process that is as creative as writing poetry, fiction, and drama. Students are encouraged to begin with 2,000-level courses in Literature (LLSL) and Writing (LLSW) as they consider one of these two tracks. Two required Literary Introductions courses (The Invention of Literature, offered every fall, and Literary Reinvention, offered every spring), focusing on texts from the classic to the contemporary, enable students to build a solid foundation in literary studies and provide them with a common language and literary experience as they proceed to more advanced study. Literary Studies students can also apply to continue their writing and literature coursework abroad beginning in their sophomore year, in Paris, London, Rome, or Verona.
In their junior or senior year, all students are required to take an intensive single-text course in which both critics and practitioners of writing explore the nuances of a major work, as well as a Reading for Writers course combining the reading of great works with creative writing.
Completion of the program in Literary Studies requires 13 courses to be completed as set forth below. In choosing courses to meet requirements, students are encouraged to meet with Elizabeth Kendall (212.229.5100 x2215) for questions about the Writing program and Carolyn Vellenga Berman (212.229.5400 x2294) with questions about the Literature program. Students who enrolled in spring 2008 or earlier may follow the rules for the old Writing or Literature areas of study (BA in Liberal Arts), or may opt to follow the new, more rigorous requirements for the BA in Literary Studies (Literature or Writing Concentration). Students who enrolled at Lang after spring 2008 must adhere to the new rules for the major. See prior requirements by year.
In addition to the major, students have the option, if majoring in a different program, to elect an academic minor in Literary Studies. Students interested in completing the minor in either track should review the minor curriculum below.
Students should download the program requirement worksheet for their concentration (Literature or Writing) to track their progress. For a semester-by-semester example of writing and literature tracks for a degree in literary studies, download this sample curricular path form (PDF).
Requirements for the Major in Literary Studies (BA, Literary Studies)
Core courses are required of all students majoring in Literary Studies (in either the Writing or Literature concentration) who started at Lang in fall 2008 or later. Students are advised to pay close attention to prerequisites included in course descriptions and to meet with the chair.
Two Literary Introductions Courses: ULEC 2740 The Invention of Literature and ULEC 2820 Literary Reinvention (preferably, but not necessarily, taken in sequence). The Invention of Literature and Literary Reinvention should be taken before advancing to 3000-level courses in Literary Studies.
One Advanced Course in Literary Studies (majors in the literature track must take two). All LLSL 3000-level courses satisfy this requirement.
One Single-Text Course, for example, Ulysses, Paradise Lost, Madame Bovary, War and Peace, or Don Quixote. With the exception of Shakespeare surveys, all single-author courses (i.e. Vladimir Nabokov, Franz Kafka, or Virginia Woolf) also satisfy the single-text requirement.
Nine additional courses in the chosen concentration as described below
All courses offered by Literary Studies must be passed with a grade of C or better, except sequenced Writing Workshops, which have a higher requirement: students may not take an Intermediate Writing Workshop unless they received a grade of B or higher in the Introductory Workshop in the same genre. Students who do not receive a B may retake the Introductory Workshop again. Students who do not meet the minimum grade requirements to advance in Literary Studies and who cannot retake the necessary course must meet with the chair to determine their options. (Lang recommends that students who are unable to meet the grade minimums in their workshops consider changing their major or switching to the Literature track in Literary Studies.) Students interested in Journalism are encouraged to consider Journalism + Design. Note that upper-level students who substituted writing workshops in journalism for writing workshops in nonfiction in previous years (prior to fall 2014) will have those substitutions fully honored. New School for Public Engagement writing workshops (bachelor's program) do not count toward the five writing courses for Lang Writing.
Literature Concentration (BA, Literary Studies)
Students interested in the Literature concentration must complete the courses as distributed below, at least four of which must be 3000 level or higher and no more than two of which may be taken (with the approval of the chair) at The New School for Public Engagement.
One additional Advanced Course in Literary Studies
One course in poetry
One course in drama**
One Reading for Writers course
Four additional literature courses, one of which may be in another discipline, such as philosophy and psychology, if approved by the chair. Advanced-level foreign language courses in which literature is studied may also count toward this requirement.
One Senior Capstone chosen from Senior Seminar or Individual Independent Project (Senior Thesis). See details about the Literature Senior Capstone (PDF).
**With approval of the chair, LLSW Introduction to Playwriting or LLSW Intermediate Playwriting may be applied to this requirement. Courses offered in other departments, such as The Arts, with an emphasis on reading plays, (i.e, a course on Shakespeare's plays) may also fulfill this requirement.
Writing Concentration (BA, Literary Studies)
Students interested in the Writing concentration must complete:
Five Writing Workshops
Three sequenced courses in a primary genre (fiction, poetry, nonfiction)*
Two sequenced courses in a secondary genre (fiction, poetry, nonfiction, playwriting)**
One Reading for Writers Course (LLST)
Two Literature courses, one of which may be a second Reading for Writers course
One Senior Capstone in the primary genre, either Senior Seminar, Editorial Process (competitive application process), or Individual Independent Project/Senior Thesis (competitive application process). See details about the Senior Capstone in Writing (PDF).
*Students may not take an Intermediate Writing Workshop unless they received a grade of B or higher in the Introduction Workshop in the same genre. Students who do not receive a B may retake the Introduction Workshop again. A minimum grade of C is required for all other courses taken toward the major. Students who do not meet the minimum grade requirement to advance through the major and who cannot retake the necessary course must meet with the chair to determine their options. (Lang recommends that students who are unable to meet the grade minimums in their workshops consider changing majors or switching to the Literature track in Literary Studies.) Students interested in Journalism are encouraged to consider Journalism + Design. Note that upper-level students who substituted writing workshops in journalism for writing workshops in nonfiction in previous years (prior to Fall 2014) will have those substitutions fully honored. New School for Public Engagement writing workshops (bachelor's program) do not count toward the five writing courses for Lang Writing.
**Playwriting, offered in conjunction with The Arts, may be chosen in Writing as a secondary genre only. Students may use playwriting toward either The Arts or Literary Studies—Writing concentration. If used toward The Arts, all Arts requirements govern, except that all LLSW prerequisites and minimum grade requirements apply for all students. If used toward the Literary Studies writing concentration, all Literary Studies requirements apply, including core requirements, and writing concentrators may elect playwriting ONLY as a secondary genre.
Students have opportunities to attend public readings and lectures throughout the city and in The New School graduate writing program. Elective courses, as well as internships, introduce the qualified student to the professional standards and opportunities they may encounter after graduation. Master classes allow contemporary writers to teach their own work to students (satisfies Reading for Writers requirement).
The New School Free Press, the student newspaper, is a credit-bearing course in which students write, edit, and produce a newspaper. Release, the writing program literary magazine, is edited and produced by students.
Minors in the Literary Arts
Undergraduate students from any college in the university who are not majoring in Liberal Arts can elect to minor in Literature or Writing, which requires the completion of the following courses.
Requirements for the Minor in Literature
One introductory 2000-level course (lecture or seminar)
One single text/single author course (can be prose, drama, poetry, or nonfiction)
Three LLSL or LLST electives, at least one of which should be an LLST course that is 3000-level or higher
Requirements for the Minor in Writing
One-LLSW Introductory Writing Workshop in Primary Genre of choice
One-LLSW Intermediate Writing Workshop in Primary Genre of choice
One-LLSW Advanced Writing Workshop in Primary Genre of choice
One-LLST Single Author Literary Studies course
One-LLST Reading for Writers Literary Studies course
Self-Designed Major (BA or BS, Liberal Arts)
Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts cannot elect an academic minor; however, they can pursue a deeper study in the literary arts through the self-designed major. To explore this option, contact an academic advisor and read more about the self-designed option at Lang.