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Prospective Students

Message from the Director of Undergraduate Studies
Margaret Loose


Professor Jin-kyung Lee

The Department of Literature at UC, San Diego is a place where the study of history and culture takes place through our analytical and creative engagement with various kinds of texts, i.e., literature (poetry, fiction, drama), literary theories and philosophy, film and other visual and multimedia productions (TV dramas, musical videos, photography among others). We believe that the earlier and more recent history of the world and its citizens can be most effectively grasped and thoroughly appreciated through an access to their cultural achievements.

We offer courses that can be grouped as eight distinct and yet overlapping and combinatory clusters.

• Literary Studies
• Creative Writing
• Film Studies
• Language Studies
• Translation Studies
• Cultural Studies
• Transnational/Trans-regional Studies and Globalization Studies

In addition to the horizons of knowledge and information about the world that the Literature Department courses open up, they teach foundational skills, i.e., critical reading, thinking and writing. These skill sets will prepare you for a wide range of careers and will prove to be your most prized and lifelong assets for the profession you choose for yourself upon graduation. Please refer to Careers in Literature

There are eleven undergradute majors and eleven undergraduate minors within the Literature Department. Below you will find an overview of each of the eleven majors. If you have any question about the Literature Department or our undergraduate program, please send an email to litprospective@ucsd.edu.

Composite Literature

The composite major in literature permits a student to develop a solid foundation in two literatures while remaining within one department. Because the UCSD Literature Department houses literatures that are divided among different departments at most universities, our composite major allows students to coordinate their studies with a single, closely-knit group of faculty, and to arrange their program without repeating two different sets of major requirements. (For example, since a composite major necessarily combines literatures written in two different languages, it automatically fulfills the foreign language requirement for the literature major.

You can view the official major requirements for Composite Literature in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' Composite Literature major page.

Literature/Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies at UCSD offers courses on topics such as affection and memory, critical theory, diaspora, empire, gender and queer discourse, film and multimedia, migrant subjects, postcolonial studies, religion and spirituality, science and technological imagination, Trans-Asian popular culture, visuality and identity, among others. Our faculty work together across cultures and disciplines. We link cultural theory to everyday practices, looking upon culture as a site of active engagement among structures of knowledge, power, and representation. Through taking seminars, students are to familiarize themselves with research methods and matters as advocated by thinkers ranging from Adorno to Zizek. They have plentiful choice in designing their concentrations and minor fields, in forging intellectual depth and in developing versatile, analytical skills.

You can view the official major requirements for Literature/Cultural Studies in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' Literature/Cultural Studies major page.

Literatures in English

To study Literatures in English at UCSD is to become acquainted with the wide range of Anglophone writing both here at home and in the rest of the world. Our major gives students the opportunity to read English-language literature written by writers located in the United States, the British Isles, and many other locations worldwide, such as India, South Africa, and the Caribbean. We offer courses on a wide and varied range of topics, including the British novel, African-American Prose, Contemporary Caribbean Literature, the American Renaissance, Chaucer, Chicano Literature, New American Poetry, Asian American Literature, Victorian Poetry, Animals in Literature, Literature of the U.S. West, Science Fiction, and many more. The LTEN major introduces you to the history of literature and writing, acquaints you with a variety of historical periods and geographical and cultural regions of English language and writing, creates an awareness of methods and theories of literary and cultural analysis, and provides continued training in critical writing.

You can view the official major requirements for Literatures in English in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' Literatures in English major page.

French Literature

The Literatures in French Major has the following requirements: 

  1. Nine upper-division courses as follows:
    • LTFR 115-116, Themes in French Intellectual and Literary History.
    • Seven additional upper-division courses in French literature, including at least one course in each of the following periods: seventeenth or eighteenth century; nineteenth century; and twentieth century.
  2. Three courses in a secondary literature, that is, a literature taught in a language other than French. At least one of these courses must be upper division.
  3. Upper-division electives chosen from Department of Literature offerings to make a total of twelve upper-division courses.
You can view the official major requirements for French Literature in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' French Literature major page.

German Literature

There are more native speakers of German than any other language in the European Union. Germany also has the strongest economy in the European Union and plays a central role in European and global politics. The German-speaking lands of Central Europe have a rich cultural legacy that includes such giants as Goethe, Kafka, Nietzsche, and Beethoven, while today’s reunified Germany has become a vibrant center for the production of new literature, film, and the visual arts. Whether you dabble with the language, dip into the literature, or devote a lifetime to its study, German at UCSD has much to offer.

You can view the official major requirements for German Literature in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' German Literature major page.

Italian Literature

The Literatures in Italian Major has the following requirements:

  1. Nine upper-division courses in Italian literature as follows:
    • LTIT 100, Introduction to Italian Literature
    • LTIT 115, Medieval Studies
    • LTIT 161, Advanced Stylistics and Conversation
    • One course in Italian North American Culture
    • Five additional upper-division courses in Italian literature taught in Italian
  2. Three courses in a secondary literature, that is, a literature taught in a language other than Italian. At least one of these courses must be upper division.
  3. Upper-division electives chosen from Department of Literature offerings to make a total of twelve upper-division courses.
You can view the official major requirements for Italian Literature in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' Italian Literature major page.

Russian Literature

Literatures in Russian majors will take 3 language courses (LTRU 104 A, B, and C), and the three courses that constitute the Russian literature series (LTRU 110 A, which covers the first part of the 19th Century, B, which covers the second half of the 19th Century through the Bolshevik Revolution, and C, which covers literature from 1917 to the present). In addition to these six required courses, majors will choose from a selection of upper division LTRU (Russian Literature) courses. These include courses devoted a single author (such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogol, or Nabokov), courses in Russian cinema, and thematic courses such as Russian Jewish Literature. If a course contains adequate Russian or East European content, but is not listed under LTRU, it is possible to petition to count this course toward the major. It is also possible to set up a directed reading with a faculty member in an area of Russian literature of your choice. We urge Russian majors to see one-on-one courses with a professor as an opportunity to work on an author of your choice in the original language. Each Russian major will also take a minimum of three literature courses outside the Russian section.

Russian majors may also count courses they have taken abroad toward the Russian major, and you are encouraged to spend part of your time as an undergraduate in Russia, Eastern Europe, or Eurasia. It is a good idea, before leaving for Russia, to meet with a Russian literature advisor, as well as a Literature Department staff member, to be sure that your credits will be automatically transferred.

We encourage Russian Literature Majors to become engaged in the large Russian community of San Diego by attending events on and off campus, and volunteering their time through academic internships. The Russian culture club, "Cactus" holds regular concerts and talks on the UCSD campus, which are open to the public. For more information about local events, please see the UCSD Russian and Soviet Studies Program page.

You can view the official major requirements for Russian Literature in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' Russian Literature major page.

Spanish Literature

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.

You can view the official major requirements for Spanish Literature in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' Spanish Literature major page.

U.S. Latino/a & Latin American Literatures

The Department offers a bilingual major that allows students to do half their coursework in English and half in Spanish: the U.S. Latino/a and Latin American Literatures major.  Requirements:

  1. Two lower-division courses:
    • LTSP 50B. Latin American Literature or LTSP 50C. Latin American Literature
    • LTEN 29 or TWS 22
  2. Five upper-division courses from Latin American literature offerings taught in Spanish. At least one of these courses must deal with literature written before 1900.
  3. Five upper-division courses dealing with Latino/a- Chicano/a cultural production; these Literature courses may be Literatures in English courses, Literature of the Americas courses, or Cultural Studies courses, all taught in English.
  4. Two additional upper-division courses from the Department of Literature for a total of twelve upper-division courses. Students may petition to have up to two relevant courses from other departments or programs count towards this requirement.
You can view the official major requirements for U.S. Latino/a & Latin American Literatures in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' U.S. Latino/a & Latin American Literatures major page.

Literatures of the World

The Literatures of the World major offers students an opportunity to design a more flexible and individualized program, allowing them to combine their interests in regional literatures (for example, Europe, the Americas, East Asia, Africa, Near East) or national literatures (for example, Chinese, French, Russian, Filipino, German, Italian) with more topical studies (for example, genre, period, gender, ethnic literature, literature and the visual arts, cultural studies, writing, Third World studies). The World Literature major provides students with solid expertise in a single regional or national culture, while allowing them to explore beyond it comparatively and critically. In a rapidly globalizing world where we are increasingly crossing national, cultural and linguistic boundaries, the Literatures of the World major is a good place to start for those who would like to feel more at home in the world at large.

You can view the official major requirements for Literatures of the World in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' Literatures of the World major page.

Literature/Writing

When Professor Rae Armantrout (recipient of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry) asked a former student about her time at UCSD this is what she had to say"

"The thing I love about UCSD's literature/writing major is that the program gives you a lot of space to figure out your interests. There are so many genres available for you to explore. You can take a class in experiemental cross genre work or science fiction and fantasy. You can write epic poems. You can do whatever you need to do to grow as a writer.  The program is also situated within a larger literature department, so there's an understanding of the connection between reading deeply and writing deeply and you have access to all these amazing literature classes while you're taking writing workshops. For instance, I was able to take a world mythology class which gave me a deeper understanding of the archetypes I was using in my poems when I made mythological references. Also, the teachers are working writers passionate about their craft and that shows in the way they teach. I really enjoyed my time in the program."

-Keely Hyslop
BA in Literature/Writing, UCSD, 2006

Keely's book manuscript "Things I Say to Pirates on Nights when I miss you" was recently chosen by the SFSU's Michael Rubin Book Award and will be published this October.

You can view the official major requirements for Literature/Writing in the UCSD General Catalog. We also have more detailed information on our current students' Literature/Writing major page.

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