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All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice.

The Department of Literature at UC San Diego is unique both conceptually and structurally in that it combines all literary study in a single department, enabling students to concentrate on single-language or national literatures, while at the same time facilitating student engagement in dialogue across literatures and languages. The department also houses undergraduate and graduate study in the craft and theory of creative writing. The department brings together writers, teachers, scholars, and students of several different languages and literatures, uniting them by the nature of the studies they pursue. This lends a comparative aspect to both undergraduate and graduate programs, which lead to the bachelor of arts, master of fine arts, the candidate in philosophy, and doctor of philosophy degrees. All literature students require knowledge of a second language. Courses are offered not only in the literatures themselves but also in the theoretical aspects of literature and—often in cooperation with other departments—in the relationship of literary study to other disciplines such as philosophy, visual arts, music, sociology, history, psychology, linguistics, and communication. With special permission, undergraduates may take graduate courses for credit, and graduate students may also take undergraduate courses for credit.

The Mandeville Special Collections Library, located in the Geisel Library, offers the undergraduate and graduate literature student an excellent range of resources, including single-author collections, rare and out-of-print books, tapes, maps, and historical archives. Of special interest are the Southworth Collection of Spanish Civil War materials, the Hill Collection of South Pacific Voyages, the Don Cameron Allen Renaissance collection, and the Archive for New Poetry. Within the latter collection are an extensive series of single-author archives, including the papers of Paul Blackburn, Donald Allen, Lew Welch, Charles Reznikoff, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg, and others. The Archive for New Poetry is one of the largest collections of contemporary poetry in the United States. Graduate students also have access, facilitated by travel grants, to all other University of California research collections.

Literature majors in languages are trained

  • To write effectively, marshalling textual evidence in their engagement with complex and diverse ideas.
  • To read texts and other cultural productions in a nuanced manner, sensitive to factors of historical context and aesthetic form.
  • To develop a critical vocabulary and framework that will promote and facilitate their engagement with texts.
  • To work at an advanced level in a second language/literature.
  • To read, evaluate, and apply secondary sources to their analyses of primary texts.
  • To develop a lifelong appreciation of the subtleties of cultural texts and the ongoing need to engage with and evaluate their meanings.

Literature majors in writing are trained

  • To write clear expository prose.
  • To work at an advanced level in a second language/literature.
  • To produce original works of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.
  • To demonstrate in-depth familiarity with the literary history of their chosen genre, including canonical and alternative texts across some breadth of time.
  • To develop a critical vocabulary for understanding, discussing, and evaluating literary techniques and aesthetic arguments while honing editorial skills.
  • To become active, sophisticated, articulate consumers and producers of a variety of texts.

Careers for Literature Majors

Literature majors develop skills and perspectives that prepare them for careers in education and numerous other professions. The writing, analytical, and cultural breadth of majors makes them attractive as preparation for professional schools as well as advanced graduate studies. A degree in literature provides a strong background for the LSAT and law school. Medical schools seek out students who are prepared not only in the sciences, but also in the humanities and writing. The business world seeks college-trained English majors, and international corporations actively recruit students with a specialty in French, German, Italian, Russian, or Spanish. Literature majors’ skills also prepare them for work in advertising, editing, publishing, journalism, communications, mass media, and other professions where writers and editors are in demand. The knowledge of a second language and culture provides literature majors with a decided career advantage.

Secondary School English Teaching

The literature department offers an excellent preparation for teaching English/ESL in secondary schools. Suggested majors include World Literature and Culture, Literatures in English, and Literature/Writing. If you are interested in receiving a California teaching credential from UC San Diego, contact Education Studies (EDS) for information about prerequisites and professional preparation requirements. Please consult EDS and the Department of Literature early in your academic career to plan an appropriate literature curriculum.

The Undergraduate Program

The Major in Literature

There are four majors available to students within the Department of Literature: Literatures in English, Literatures in Spanish, World Literature and Culture, and Literature/Writing. Requirements vary from major to major as described below. Once a student has decided upon a major in literature, he or she is required to meet regularly with an adviser in the Department of Literature. Worksheets defining major requirements are available in the literature undergraduate office to help students organize their course work.

All departmental courses taken to satisfy the requirements of the literature major, including courses in the secondary literature, must be taken for a letter grade. No grade below C– is acceptable for a course taken in the major.

At least six of the upper-division courses for the major, including a minimum of four in the primary literature, must be taken at UC San Diego.

Lower-Division Preparation

Lower-division requirements vary, depending on the literature major in which the student elects to concentrate. However, the department strongly recommends that, as part of the first-year/sophomore course work, students who have chosen or are considering a major in literature begin an appropriate lower-division language sequence in the Departments of Linguistics or Literature. All literature majors require knowledge of a second language.

Secondary Language and Literature

In order to broaden their preparation, all students in literature must undertake study of a secondary language. The range of languages includes ASL, French, German, Classical Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. For those concentrating in Literatures in Spanish, English is also an option. Students will satisfy this requirement by completing the lower-division course sequence in a second language, through the designated terminal lower-division course in that language as outlined below. Students should consult an adviser to confirm the selection of the specific courses that will be taken to satisfy the secondary language and literature requirement.

The terminal course for each secondary language is as follows: American Sign Language 1E; French (LTFR) 2C; German (LTGM) 2C; Hebrew (JUDA) 3 (see “Jewish Studies”); Italian (LTIT) 50; Korean (LTKO) 2C; Greek (LTGK) 3; Latin (LTLA) 3; Russian (LTRU) 2B; Spanish (LTSP), choice of 2C or 2E. For literatures in Spanish majors, English (LTEN), choice of 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, or 31. Alternative secondary languages are subject to approval and petition.

Intensive Track Option

The department also offers an intensive secondary language and literature track, which will be noted on the student’s transcript. This track is encouraged for students who intend to attend graduate school or are interested in international careers. In addition to the secondary language requirements above, students in the intensive track will complete at least two upper-division literature courses taught in the language used to fulfill their secondary language requirement. Students should consult with the faculty adviser for that language when choosing their upper-division course for the intensive track.

Writing Component in Literature Courses

It is the departmental expectation that students in lower-division courses will write a minimum of 2,500 words per course. In upper-division courses the minimum requirement is 4,000 words per course.

Honors Program

The department offers a special program of advanced study for outstanding undergraduates majoring in literature. Admission to this program requires an overall GPA of 3.5, a literature major GPA of 3.7, and enrollment in one of the literature capstone courses (LTWR 194 for writing majors and LTWL 194 for all other majors) at the beginning of the senior year. During fall quarter, students meeting these requirements will be invited to participate in the Honors Program. Interested students who anticipate that they will not meet the established criteria may petition to participate in the program. During the winter quarter of their senior year, all honors students will write their theses (LT__ 196), under the supervision of a faculty member who specializes in the literature of the student’s primary concentration. The Honors Program concludes with each student presenting his or her thesis at the Honors Program conference (within the department). Students from this program will also be recommended for the Burckhardt and Williams Prizes, which are awarded for outstanding achievement in the literature major. The capstone course and thesis course may be applied toward the primary concentration in the literature major, if applicable.

Special Studies

These upper-division independent study opportunities are intended for advanced students, able to work on their own, and interested in a topic not normally covered by departmental offerings.

Students with upper-division standing, a departmental GPA of at least 3.0, an overall GPA of at least 2.5, and completion of lower-division prerequisites in the subject, are eligible to take special studies courses (198s and 199s). Those not satisfying these criteria may, with justification supported by the proposed special studies instructor, petition for an exception to the regulation. 198s and 199s require at least 4,000 words of writing or an equivalent project as determined by the instructor. Information and Special Studies Enrollment forms are available in the literature undergraduate office. Enrollment requires departmental approval. Special studies courses may not be taken for a grade. These courses may not be used to satisfy upper-division requirements for majors or minors.

Study Abroad

Study abroad can significantly enhance a student’s major, particularly in ways in which it relates to international issues. Literature students are encouraged to study abroad before their senior year. Students who take Education Abroad Program or Opportunities Abroad Program (EAP/OAP) courses in a country appropriate to their major may use up to five upper-division courses to satisfy major requirements and up to three toward a minor. These must be approved by the department after they have been entered on the student’s official record at UC San Diego. The approval process is described in a handout on receiving transfer credit, available in the Literature Undergraduate Office. Before leaving to study abroad, students should meet with an adviser to identify which EAP courses are appropriate to fulfill the major or minor requirements.

Information on EAP/OAP is given in the “Education Abroad Program” section of the UC San Diego General Catalog. Interested students should contact the Study Abroad UC San Diego Office in the International Center and visit its website at Financial aid can be used for EAP/OAP study, and special study-abroad scholarships are also available.

Individual Programs

Literatures in English

Literatures in Spanish

World Literature and Culture


Individual Program Requirements

Literatures in English Major

  1. Six lower-division courses:
    1. LTEN 21, 22, 23, 25, and 26
    2. One of the following: LTEN 27, 28, 29, or 31
  2. Eight upper-division courses from literatures in English offerings, including a course from each of the following four a–d categories:
    1. British Literature before 1660
    2. British Literature after 1660
    3. US Literature before 1860
    4. US Literature after 1860
  3. One upper-division course in the history of criticism or in literary/cultural theory and methods from among the following: LTTH 110; LTTH 115; or LTCS 100.
  4. Three upper-division courses in comparative breadth, consisting of the following:
    1. One course in Literatures of the Americas (LTAM)
    2. One course in Literatures of Europe (LTEU)
    3. One elective course from Literatures of Africa (LTAF), Literatures of the Americas (LTAM), Literatures of East Asia (LTEA), Literatures of Europe (LTEU), or Literatures of the World (LTWL)
  5. At least one course in a secondary language or literature; that is, a course taught in a language other than English. See “Secondary Language and Literature” above.

Literatures in Spanish Major

  1. Nine upper-division courses as follows:
    1. One course in advanced Spanish reading and writing: LTSP 100A or 100B.
    2. One course in Spanish Peninsular literature or Latin American literature before 1900, as follows:
      • Spanish Peninsular literature LTSP 100, 107, 115, 119AB, 119C, 122, or the following topics course when the topic is pre-twentieth-century literature: LTSP 123
      • Latin American literature before 1900: LTSP 116, 135A, or any of the following regional, genre, or topics courses when the topic is pre-twentieth-century literature: LTSP 134, 136, 137, 138, 140, 141, 142, 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178
    3. Seven additional upper-division courses in Spanish, Latin American, and/or Chicano literature (taught in Spanish)
  2. At least one course in a secondary language or literature; that is, a course taught in a language other than Spanish. See “Secondary Language and Literature” above.
  3. Upper-division electives from Department of Literature offerings, whether in Spanish or in another literature, to make a total of twelve upper-division courses.

Students majoring in Spanish can choose to concentrate on either Spanish or Latin American literature. All students, however, are encouraged to take courses in the various national literatures as well as in Chicano literature for a broad background in Spanish language literatures.

Students not having a solid linguistic base in Spanish are advised to take intermediate language courses from the LTSP 2A-B-C or LTSP 2D-E sequences for additional review of Spanish grammar, development of writing skills, and introduction to literary analysis.

World Literature and Culture Major

World Literature and Culture allows students to design an intellectually rigorous plan of courses with the flexibility to explore multiple areas of interest. Four broad options are possible: 1) focus on a single non-Anglophone language, literature, and culture; 2) focus on literature and culture of a historical period prior to 1800; 3) focus on the literature and culture of a geographical region (for example, Europe, the Americas, East Asia, Africa, or the Near East); 4) focus on cultural production in a variety of media, including courses on film and television, digital media, and music, as well as courses on the history of the book and translation.

In all of its variants, the World Literature and Culture major aims to provide students with broad cultural literacy and critical thinking skills—in language, literature, visual media, social practices, and theories of interpretation—which are basic, necessary cornerstones of a humanities education. The undergraduate major in World Literature and Culture seeks to develop literacy in a range of traditional and modern cultural forms (literature, film, and the visual arts) and methods for interpreting these cultural forms in a way that will prepare students to engage with a society whose literature and culture is, and will become increasingly, diverse, international, and multilingual.

  1. Lower division (three courses):

    All World Literature and Culture majors are required to complete a sequence of three lower-division courses.*

    There are many ways to fulfill this requirement, including:

    LTCS 50, 52, and a third course selected from LTEN 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31; LTWL 4A-B-C-D-F-M; TWS 21-22-23-24-25-26; or LTWL 19A-B-C.

    Or: a three-course sequence in literature chosen from any section in literature. For example, students can take a yearlong sequence of intermediate language courses: LTFR 2A-B-C; LTGM 2A-B-C; LTGK 1, 2, 3; LTIT 2A-B, 50; LTKO 2A-B-C; LTLA 1, 2, 3; LTRU 2A-B; LTSP 2A-B-C.

    Students can also combine courses in an original national language/literature with courses in translation to satisfy this requirement, such as LTFR 2A-B plus LTWL 4A (Film and Fiction in Twentieth-Century Societies: French).

    Students may also use either the Revelle College Humanities sequence (HUM 1–5), Eleanor Roosevelt College’s Making of the Modern World (MMW 11–15), Marshall College’s Dimension of Culture (DOC 1–3), or Sixth College’s Culture, Art, and Technology sequence (CAT 1–3) to satisfy the lower-division sequence for the World Literature and Culture major.

    *Courses not listed in the examples above may be petitioned for credit. Please see an academic adviser.

  2. Upper division (twelve courses):
      1. Upper-Division Concentration: Students may choose one concentration from the options below. Double concentrations are not permitted. (Choose a minimum of six courses, maximum of nine courses):
        1. Language: Focus on literary and cultural production in a single non-Anglophone language.
          1. Course Options:
            1. Chinese: LTCH 100–190
            2. French: LTFR 100–190
            3. German: LTGM 100–190
            4. Greek: LTGK 100–190
            5. Italian: LTIT 100–190
            6. Korean: LTKO 100–190
            7. Latin: LTLA 100–190
            8. Russian: LTRU 100–190
            9. Spanish: LTSP 100–190
          2. Any languages or courses not listed above must be petitioned through the department.
        2. History: This concentration focuses on literature written prior to 1800.
          1. Course Options: LTEN 107, 110, 112, 113, 117, 120, 138; LTFR 121, 122; LTGK 100–190; LTIT 115; LTLA 100–190; LTEA 110A; LTEU 105; LTWL 100, 106, 110B, 111, 158A
        3. Media: Includes courses on film and television, digital media, and music as well as courses on the history of the book and translation.
          1. Course Options: LTCS 108, 119, 132, 170, 172, 173; LTEN 155, LTGM 134; LTAF 120; LTEA 120A-B-C, 138, 142; LTWL 134, 144, 157, 159, 180, 181, 183, 184
        4. Region: Focus on non-Anglophone literature and cultural production of a single region such as Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Mediterranean, or Europe. Other regional concentrations can be petitioned.
          1. Course Options:
            1. Africa: LTAF 100–190
            2. The Americas: LTAM 100–190; LTEN 152, 154, 155, 156, 158, 159, 169, 171, 172, 174, 175A-B, 176, 180, 181, 183, 185, 186, 188; LTSP 116, 130B, 133, 134, 135A, 135B, 136, 137, 138, 140, 141, 142, 150A-B, 151, 154, 159, 160, 162, 166, 170, 171, 172
            3. Asia: LTEA 100–190; LTCH 100–190; LTKO 100–190
            4. The Mediterranean: LTEU 105, 140, 145, 146; LTGK 100–190; LTLA 100–190; LTIT 100–190; LTFR 100–190; LTSP 101, 119C, 122, 123, 129, 130A; LTWL 106, 158A-B-C
            5. Europe: LTEU 100–190; LTFR 100–190; LTGM 100–190; LTGK 100–190; LTIT 100–190; LTLA 100–190; LTRU 100–190; LTSP 101, 119C, 122, 123, 129, 130A; LTWL 106, 111, 166
          2. Any region or courses not listed above must be petitioned through the department.
      2. Three upper-division courses in comparative breadth, comprised of the following:
        1. One course in Literatures of the Americas (LTAM)
        2. One course in Literatures of Europe (LTEU)
        3. One elective course from Literatures of Africa (LTAF), Literatures of the Americas (LTAM), Literatures of East Asia (LTEA), Literatures in English (LTEN), Literatures of Europe (LTEU), or Literatures of the World (LTWL)
      3. The remaining upper-division electives, to total twelve upper-division courses can be from any literature subject.
  3. At least one course in a secondary language or literature; that is, a course taught in a language different from that of the primary literature. See “Secondary Language and Literature” above.

Literature/Writing Major

The writing major is designed to provide direct experience in writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as engage the student writer in both the world of “writing culture”—public readings, publication, and the media—and literary theory and practical critique. An indispensable feature of this program is that it engages students with one another’s work, both critically and communally. Writing majors will move through a sequence of courses within (and between) genres in order to develop their own style and confidence in the work of writing and critique. Students who are interested in teaching writing will find this major an opportunity both for writing extensively and dealing critically with the act of written composition. The major requirements are as follows:

  1. LTWR 8A, 8B, and 8C.
  2. Three lower-division courses:
    1. LTEN 26
    2. Any two of the following: LTEN 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 31; TWS 21, 22, 23, 25, 26
  3. Twelve upper-division courses:
    1. Six upper-division courses in Literature/Writing from the writing workshop sequence (LTWR 100–129). These workshops may be repeated for credit (see course listing for number of times workshops may be repeated), but the requirement should show a range of writing experience in at least two major writing types. No other courses may be substituted for this basic requirement of six upper-division workshops.
    2. One course from the group numbered LTWR 140–148.
    3. Three upper-division courses in comparative breadth, consisting of the following:
      1. One course in Literatures of the Americas (LTAM)
      2. One course in Literatures of Europe (LTEU)
      3. One elective course from Literatures of Africa (LTAF), Literatures of the Americas (LTAM), Literatures of East Asia (LTEA), Literatures of Europe (LTEU), or Literatures of the World (LTWL)
    4. Two upper-division electives chosen from Department of Literature offerings, excluding LTWR 100–148 courses.
  4. At least one course in a secondary language or literature; that is, a course taught in a language other than English. See “Secondary Language and Literature” above.

Double Major within the Department of Literature in Literature/Writing and Another Literature

Students who wish to major both in Literature/Writing and in literature (any section) should see the department for information regarding appropriate double major requirements. Generally, all requirements for each major must be completed, though the secondary language and literature course(s) and two upper-division courses, where appropriate, may overlap from one major to the other.

Students must submit a double major petition for approval by the department and the student’s provost office.

The Minor in Literature

The department offers a wide range of possibilities for noncontiguous minors. The options include courses in a single regional or national literature, courses in more than one literature, and a combination of language and literature courses. The minors require seven courses. All courses taken to complete a literature minor must be taken for a letter grade. No grade below C– is acceptable. Advanced Placement (AP) credit will not satisfy minor requirements.

Please see the department undergraduate office for specific minor requirements.

    • A minor in literature will consist of seven courses as described below.
    • French, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, Russian, or Spanish literature: seven courses, at least four of which must be upper-division in the same literature.
    • Literatures in English, Literatures of the World, and Literature/Writing: seven courses, at least five of which must be upper division.
    • Lower-division courses applicable toward minors:

English—LTEN 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31

French—LTFR 2A-B-C

German—LTGM 2A-B-C

Greek—LTGK 1, 2, 3

Hebrew—JUDA 1, 2, 3 (see “Jewish Studies”)

Italian—LTIT 2A-B, 50

Latin—LTLA 1, 2, 3

Russian—LTRU 2A-B

Spanish—LTSP 2A-B-C-D-E

Writing—LTWR 8A-B-C

Literatures of the World—seven literature courses, at least five of which must be upper division—usually 1) a two- or three-course lower-division sequence and 2) five upper-division courses with a single unifying theme. Students may use either the Revelle College Humanities sequence (HUM 1–5) or Eleanor Roosevelt College’s Making of the Modern World (MMW 11–15) to satisfy the lower-division sequence for the LTWL minor.

Writing minor—seven courses, at least five of which must be upper division. The minimum of five upper-division courses must cover at least two major writing genres, with course work chosen from writing courses (LTWR) numbered 100 through 148.

Please see the department for further information and specifics regarding minors in literature.