• This page outlines the requirements for the major in Literary Studies (BA, Literary Studies). In addition to the major, Lang offers a Writing minor and a Literature minor. Students can also study literature and writing as part of a self-designed major (BA, Liberal Arts).

    Literary Studies Curriculum (BA, Literary Studies)

    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 Wendy Walters (212.229.5100 x3475) 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.

    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).

    General Requirements for the Major in Literary Studies (BA, Literary Studies)

    Below are the general requirements for the degree in Literary Studies. For specific requirements, see the Literature Concentration or the Writing Concentration.

    Core curriculum
    All Literary Studies students (in either the Writing or Literature concentration) take the following core courses. 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.

    All Literary Studies students must complete nine courses in their chosen concentration, either Literature or Writing.

    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 have they received a grade of B or higher in the Introductory Workshop in the same genre. Students who did 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.