303 Humanities 1
(831) 459-4778

Programs Offered

Literature B.A.

Literature Minor 

Italian Studies Minor

Literature M.A.

Literature Ph.D.

Literature Designated Emphasis

Other Programs of Interest

Classical Studies

Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

East Asian Studies

Feminist Studies


History of Art and Visual Culture

History of Consciousness 

Jewish Studies

Languages and Applied Linguistics

Language Studies

Latin American and Latino Studies



Spanish Studies

The study of literature at UCSC is organized as an interdisciplinary field coordinated through a single Department of Literature, including modern and ancient literatures in the original language and in translation, literary theory, and creative writing. This structure fosters innovative and comparative approaches to literature among both faculty and students. Courses in the department encompass traditional literary history and interpretation, cross-cultural inquiry and current theoretical debates, and new media. The Literature Department also sponsors the Italian studies minor.

Undergraduate Program

Literature majors learn to read, think, and write critically. These skills have wide applicability, and offer pathways into related disciplines such as history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, politics, and the history of art and visual culture. Literature majors enter a variety of careers ranging from law and journalism to management, government, international studies, publishing, technical writing, and teaching at all levels. The literature major prepares students for careers in digital storytelling and electronic media; film, television, and video; theater and the visual arts; and many other fields.

The Literature Department faculty requires that all literature majors have basic proficiency in a second language. Proficiency in more than one language enhances understanding of any literature and culture. Graduate programs in literature and other humanities disciplines generally require competence in at least one language other than English.

Graduate Program

The graduate program in literature is relatively small, and students work closely with an internationally recognized faculty throughout their graduate careers. Graduate students are able to take advantage of a rich array of intellectual and cultural events, to participate in collaborative research clusters, and to attend lectures by scholars whose work is transforming the discipline. The goal of the program is to develop scholars who will be qualified to teach in departments of national and comparative literatures, cultural studies, ethnic studies, and interdisciplinary programs.

Graduate study in literature includes Ph.D. and free-standing M.A. programs. M.A. students typically take two years to complete the degree and are well prepared to continue in a doctoral program elsewhere. Normative time for the Ph.D. is seven years, and graduates go on to teach at institutions of higher learning across the world. Ph.D. students are required to be able to read proficiently in at least two languages that are integral to their intellectual work, one of which may be English. Within these guidelines students create their own programs of study, with dissertations on a range of comparative, translingual and interdisciplinary projects. (See list of recent titles.)

Courses for Non-Majors

The Literature Department invites students from all disciplines to take courses in the LIT 60/LIT 61 and LIT 80/LIT 81 series.