Literature is the study of representation, ideas, language, and culture. As such, it is a source of knowledge and pleasure, as well as a field of study. Literary texts are social documents in artistic form which speak to us as much about historical issues as about aesthetic matters. Literature students learn to think critically and to understand the role that texts play in a given society, past or present.
All literature courses at UCSD are offered by a single Department of Literature. The department brings together teachers, writers, scholars, and students of several different languages and literatures. Here, they are united by the nature of the studies they pursue. This lends a comparative aspect to both the undergraduate and graduate programs, which lead to the B.A., M.F.A., and Ph.D. degrees.