The BA in Literary Studies combines flexibility and grounding in important aspects of the study of literature, including close reading, literary history, genre, and the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives. With its flexibility, the program allows English majors to use 10 or more elective credits in English to explore the wide range of subjects and topics offered in the department, from creative writing, to film, to popular cultural studies, to linguistics. Some students prefer to use these credits to pursue a topic of interest in more depth, while others prefer to sample a variety of offerings from many fields. Graduates of the program have sharp analytical and writing skills, and are able to utilize these skills in jobs in a variety of fields, industries, or professions. Being the most flexible of the concentrations/ programs within the English major, Literary Studies is a good fit for a student who wants to read widely, analyze carefully, and remain open to different possibilities. 

The English requirements for the Literary Studies Program (36-40 credits) include:

  • ENG 210: Foundations of Literary Study I (3 credits)
    • Writing-intensive course in close reading, with substantial attention to poetry, drama, and narrative prose, drawing broadly on texts taken from more than one century and more than one national literature.
  • ENG 280: Foundations of Literary Study II (3 credits)
    • Literary and critical theory. How literature is constituted and how representation works. Assumptions behind and limits of a range of theoretical approaches. Application of theory to literary texts.
  • ENG 320A: Methodologies of Literary History: Genre (4 credits)
  • ENG 320B: Methodologies of Literary History: Region, School, or Movement (4 credits)
  • ENG 320C: Methodologies of Literary History: Canon Formation (4 credits
  • ENG 317: Readings in African and Caribbean Literatures (3 credits)
  • ENG 350: Readings in African, African American, or African Diaspora Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 351: Readings in Chicano and Latino Literatures (3 credits)
  • ENG 352: Readings in Asian or Asian American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 353: Readings in Women Writers (3 credits)
  • ENG 354: Readings in Native American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 355: Readings in Sexuality and Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 356: Readings in Jewish Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 360: Studies in Postcolonial and Diaspora Literature (W) (3 credits)
  • ENG 448: Seminar in Gender and Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 449: Seminar in Race, Ethnicity, Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 450 Seminar in African American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 460: Seminar in Global and Postcolonial Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 466: Seminar in Literatures of the Pacific Rim (3 credits)
  • ENG 482: Seminar in Feminist Literary and Cultural Theory (3 credits)
  • FLM 450: Studies in Ethnic Film (3 credits)
  • FLM 451: Studies in Postcolonial Cinema (3 credits)
  • FLM 452: Studies in Film, Gender, and Sexuality (3 credits)
    *If ENG 360, 450, or 460 is used to fulfill this requirement, it may not be used to fulfill the requirement for literature after 1800.
  • ENG 318: Readings in Shakespeare (3 credits)
  • ENG 324: Readings in Epic (3 credits)
  • ENG 368: Studies in Medieval/Early Modern Literature (W) (3 credits)
  • ENG 441: Seminar in Early American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 454: Seminar in Medieval Literature and Culture (3 credits)
  • ENG 455: Seminar in Early Modern Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 457: Seminar in 18th Century British Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 360: Studies in Postcolonial and Diaspora Literature (W) (3 credits)
  • ENG 362: Studies in Modern/Contemporary Literature (W) (3 credits)
  • ENG 443: Seminar in 19th Century American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 445: Seminar in 20th and 21st Century American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 450: Seminar in African American Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 452: Seminar in 20th and 21st Century British Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 458: Seminar in 19th-Century British Literature (3 credits)
  • ENG 460: Seminar in Global and Postcolonial Literature (3 credits)
  • PHL 474: Aesthetic Theory and Modernism (4 credits)
    *If English 360, 450, or 460 is used to fulfill this requirement it may not be used to fulfill the diversity requirement.
  • ENG 223: Introduction to Creative Non-Fiction Writing (3 credits)
  • ENG 227: Introduction to Playwriting (3 credits)
  • ENG 228: Introduction to Fiction Writing (3 credits)
  • ENG 229: Introduction to Poetry Writing (3 credits)
  • ENG 318: Readings in Shakespeare (3 credits)
  • ENG 323: Readings in Non-Fiction (3 credits)
  • ENG 324: Readings in Epic (3 credits)
  • ENG 325: Readings in Graphic Narrative (3 credits)
  • ENG 326: Readings in Drama and Performance Studies (3 credits)
  • ENG 328: Readings in Novel and Narrative (3 credits)
  • ENG 329: Readings in Poetry and Poetics (3 credits)
  • ENG 342: Readings in Popular Literary Genres (3 credits)
  • ENG 422: Seminar in Genre and Form (3 credits)
  • ENG 423: Advanced Creative Non-Fiction Writing (3 credits)
  • ENG 426: Seminar in Drama or Performance Studies (3 credits)
  • ENG 428: Advanced Fiction Writing (3 credits)
  • ENG 429: Advanced Poetry Writing (3 credits)
  • FLM 230: Introduction to Film (4 credits)
  • FLM 334: Introduction to Screenwriting (W) (3 credits)
  • FLM 355: Studies in Film Genres (3 credits)
  • FLM 434: Advanced Screenwriting (W) (3 credits)
  • FLM 455: Experimental Film and Media (3 credits)
  • ENG 484B: Critical Questions in Region, School, Movement (4 credits)
  • ENG 484C: Critical Questions in a Literary Period (4 credits)
  • ENG 484D: Critical Questions in a National Literature (4 credits)
  • ENG 489H: Senior Honors Independent Project (4 credits)
  • ENG 493: English Internship (4 credits)
  • ENG 499: Senior Thesis Research (W) (4 credits)
    *With the prior approval of the Department of English, English 400 (1 credit) in conjunction with any 3-credit, 400-level English course may be used to satisfy this requirement.
  • Additional credits in English courses as needed to meet the requirement of at least 36, but not more than 40, credits in courses in the major, including no more than 4 credits in a 100-level English course.
  • One ENG course must fulfill the Tier II writing requirement. Those that fulfill this requirement are marked with a (W) on the schedule.

See the “Undergraduate Courses” page for more information and examples of specific English courses.

Alongside the requirements for the major, students must complete requirements for the University and for the College of Arts & Letters:

  • Tier 1 Writing (4 credits)
    • WRA 101
  • Mathematics (1-2 courses, credits vary, see math website for more details)
  • Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities (IAH)*:
    • 1 course IAH 201-210 (4 credits)
    • 1 course IAH 211 or higher (4 credits)
  • Integrative Studies in Social Sciences (ISS)*:
    • 1 course ISS 200-level (4 credits)
    • 1 course ISS 300-level (4 credits)
  • Integrative Studies in Natural Sciences (ISB/ISP):
    • ISB 200-level (3 credits)
    • ISP 200-level (3 credits)
    • ISB or ISP lab (2 credits)

*At least one IAH/ISS course must have an international focus (I), and one must have a national focus (D) as marked on the schedule of courses.

  • Foreign Language Requirement (credits variable)
    • Must demonstrate Second-Year Competency through “202” level
    • Certain AP credit, tested proficiency, transfer credit at the appropriate level, or MSU coursework can fulfill this requirement
    • Some languages have online placements tests
    • See your advisor for more information
  • Cognate (15 credits)
    • An additional major, minor, 2nd degree, or thematically linked courses as approved by an advisor
    • Minimum 15 credits, with 3 credits at 3xx/4xx level
  • Experiential Learning (3 credits)
  • College Distribution Requirement
    • At least 30 credits overall must be at the 300/400 level

Most students are left with room for general electives, and 120 total credits minimum are needed to graduate.

For more information about the program and/or your progress, speak with an advisor, visit Academic Programs, and review your information on student information systems.