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  • Concentration Requirements

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  • This page outlines requirements for the BA in Literary Studies with a concentration in Literature. Students can also study Literature as a  minor  or as part of a  self-designed major  (BA or BS Liberal Arts).


    Literature students develop a distinctive critical-analytical voice and firm grounding in literary theory and history and their vocabularies. Many of the faculty teaching literature are also creative writers and understand approaches to the study of literature from the perspectives of practitioner, scholar, and critic. Although many students in literature classes are themselves creative writers, writing for the Literature concentration almost always takes the form of critical essays or research papers. Learn more about the Literature program.

    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 2000-level courses in Literature (LLSL) and Writing (LLSW) as they consider one of these two concentrations. 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.

    Gain an understanding of this concentration through the Fall 2019 Overview of Literature at Lang (PDF) presented to students considering this concentration.


    Read this helpful overview. All students must receive grades of C or better in all courses taken to fulfill major requirements. 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.

    Only specific courses satisfy the major requirements, including electives. In choosing courses to meet requirements, students are encouraged to meet with Juan E. De Castro (212.229.5400 x2257) with questions about the Literature program.

    Program Requirement Worksheet

    Track your progress using the program requirement worksheet (see below) for the year in which you declared your major in Literary Studies.

    Requirements for the BA in Literary Studies with a Concentration in Literature

    The major in Literary Studies with a concentration in Literature requires 13 courses to be completed as set forth below. At least four of these courses must be 3000 level or higher,and no more than two may be taken (with the approval of the chair) at the Schools of Public Engagement.

    See the university course catalog for spring 2020 Literature courses that fulfill requirements in this concentration.


    • Two Literary Introductions Courses (each has a lecture and discussion section), preferably, but not necessarily, taken in sequence (total 8 credits): 
      • 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 the requirement is waived by the chair.

    • One single-text or -author LLST course (4 credits)
    • One poetry course* (4 credits)
    • One drama course** (4 credits)
    • One Reading for Writers (LLST-RFW) course (4 credits) open to juniors and seniors
    • Two advanced courses in Literary Studies (ALS). These must be LLSL courses at the 3000 level or above (8 credits)
    • Four literature electives (total 16 credits). One of these may be a literature-based course 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.
    • Choose one senior capstone (4 credits) from the following. See details of the Literature Senior Capstone for fall 2019 and spring 2020.
      • Senior seminar  
      • Independent Senior Project

    Total credits: 52

    *An LLSW poetry workshop may fulfill this requirement, with approval from the chair.
    With the 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 (e.g., a course on Shakespeare's plays) may also fulfill this requirement.

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