Degree Requirements

  • 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 

    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.

    Literary Studies Requirement Worksheets

    Students should track their progress in fulfilling the Literary Studies major by using the program requirement worksheet for their concentration (Literature or Writing). To see a semester-by-semester example of writing and literature tracks for a degree in literary studies, download this sample curricular path form (PDF). Download the requirements worksheet (PDF) for the year in which you declared your major in Literary Studies. NOTE: These worksheets are for the Literary Studies major:

    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 and download the appropriate worksheet above. To see which courses fulfill these requirements, visit the Lang Course Finder.

    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 (each has a lecture and discussion section), preferably, but not necessarily, taken in sequence:
      • The Invention of Literature (LLST 2003 Lecture + 2004 Discussion).
      • Literary Reinvention (LLST 2005 Lecture + 2006 Discussion)

    NOTE: Literary Introductions courses are co/prerequisites for all 3000-level Literary Studies courses, unless waived by the chair.

    • 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. 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. Schools of Public Engagement writing workshops (Adult Bachelor's program) do not count toward the five writing courses for Lang Writing.