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Literature

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Literature
202-885-2971
Fax: 202-885-2938
lit@american.edu
Battelle Tompkins, Room 237

Literature
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8047

Literature (BA)

Offered by the Department of Literature, College of Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the Program

Formal admission to the major requires a grade point average of 2.00 (on a 4.00 scale) and departmental approval.

  • 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better
  • Completion of college writing requirement
  • Completion of university mathematics requirement

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 42 credit hours with grades of C or better, with at least 21 credit hours at the 300 level or above
  • Tracks: Literary Studies, Cinema Studies, Creative Writing, or Transcultural Studies

Course Requirements

Core (18 credit hours)

Survey Courses (6 credit hours)

Complete two survey courses from the following:

Literature before 1900 (6 credit hours)

  • Two courses in literature written before 1900

Note: Creative Writing Track students must complete at least one course in literature written before 1800.

Required (6 credit hours)

Tracks (24 credit hours)

Complete one of the following tracks:

Literary Studies

One course (3 credit hours) from the following:
One additional survey course (3 credit hours) from the following:
Literature before 1800 (6 credit hours)
  • Two additional courses (6 credit hours) in literature written before 1800
One course (3 credit hours) from the following:
Electives (9 credit hours)
  • Three additional courses offered or approved by the Department of Literature

Cinema Studies

Required (6 credit hours)
Two courses (6 credit hours) from the following:
Film or Interdisciplinary Topics (6 credit hours)
  • Two additional 300- or 400-level courses in film or interdisciplinary topics
Electives (6 credit hours)
  • Two additional 300- or 400-level courses offered or approved by the Department of Literature

Creative Writing

Required (6 credit hours)
Three courses (9 credit hours) from the following:

Note: Students may take the same creative writing course no more than twice.

Electives (9 credit hours)
  • Three additional courses offered or approved by the Department of Literature

Transcultural Studies

Required (6 credit hours)
World Literature (3 credit hours)

Complete one course (3 credit hours) from the following:

Two courses (6 credit hours) from the following:
Electives (9 credit hours)
  • Three additional courses (9 credit hours) offered or approved by the Department of Literature

Combined BA and MA in Literature

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees for more information.

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for combined bachelor's/master's programs:

  • Undergraduate literature majors should consult with the MA program director prior to applying. Admission decisions follow the procedures used to evaluate graduate applicants to the MA in Literature. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Students will be admitted formally to MA status only if they have completed all requirements for the BA in Literature with at least an overall 3.00 grade point average and a 3.20 grade point average in literature courses.

Senior Year Requirements

Senior year requirements include courses LIT 498: The Value of Literature and LIT 480: Senior Project.

Learn more

Undergraduate Handbook

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