Michigan State University

The most flexible program for undergraduate English majors, the Literary Studies program starts with a foundational sequence of three core requirements that focus on three core principles of literary study:

  • skills for close reading, because literature is not self-evident but interpreted;
  • skills for theoretical analysis, because there are principles governing how we interpret and how the text-reader and text-author relationships work; and
  • skills for understanding literary history and the methods used to apprehend the cultural context of earlier periods, because literature is situated within a specific time and place, develops in relation to socio-cultural events, and access to texts from earlier periods is always mediated.

The next stage encourages students to distribute their courses across a range of diverse perspectives, historical periods, and genre. In addition, students can choose from several options for their “capstone” to the major, including capstone courses and internships. Meanwhile, students can use 12 or more elective credits to explore the wide range of subjects and topics offered in the department, from creative writing to film to cultural studies to linguistics. This innovative, flexible curriculum allows students to explore their interests while providing experience in a diverse array of critical practices. Some students prefer to use their elective 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 literary studies concentration are ready for entry-level jobs in any field, industry, or profession searching for people with sharp analytical and writing skills.

Contact 

Andrew Murray, Undergraduate English Advisor: murraya8@msu.edu
Kristin Mahoney, Director of Literary Studies: mahone95@msu.edu
David Stowe, Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies in English: stowed@msu.edu

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