The Popular Culture concentration at MSU, administered by the Department of English is designed to provide students opportunities for in-depth study of popular culture texts, trends, and topics across a range of media. The concentration includes study of critical approaches and methods of research in popular culture studies, as well as opportunities for practical experience with the Journal of Popular Culture or by engaging in scholarly conferences or public conference events that center on science fiction and fantasy, comics, gaming, and pop music. The concentration draws on the extensive resources in MSU Libraries’ Special Collections and other library collections such as detective fiction, video games, and comic art, offering students options to explore in depth the world-renowned resources available at MSU.

ENG 142 – Introduction to Popular Literary Genres is a common starting point for students interested in Popular Culture Studies. 

The English requirements for the Popular Culture concentration (36-40 credits) are:

  • 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 340*: Theory and Methods of Popular Culture Studies (3 credits, substitution for ENG 280)
    • Examination of the theories and methods of studies in popular culture.

*Contact an advisor for an override into this course. 

  • 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 342: Readings in Popular Literary Genres (3 credits)
    • Extensive reading within a particular genre of popular literature such as science fiction, crime fiction or Gothic, with possible attention to media other than print.
  • ENG 325: Readings in Graphic Narrative (3 credits) [or ENG 342 with different topic]
    • Extensive Readings of graphic narratives across genres, historical periods, and/or print cultures and national traditions
  • ENG 440: Seminar in Popular Culture Studies (3 credits)
    • Advanced topics in theories and subjects of popular culture studies. Popular Culture’s intersection with theories of the other arts and media, politics, and identity.
  • 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 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 ENG 423, 428, or 429 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.