Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of English
Literary Studies
Home > Undergraduate > Program Options > Literary Studies


This version of the major is effective for new majors. Students who were already in English majors as of Fall 2009 should consult their advisor about meeting the requirements of the previous version of the major, or they can choose to meet the new requirements. 

The most flexible program for undergraduate English majors, the Literary Studies program starts with a foundational sequence of three core requirements that focus on three core principles of literary study:

•skills for close reading, because literature is not self-evident but interpreted

•skills for theoretical analysis, because there are principles governing how we interpret and how the text-reader and text-author relationships work

•skills for understanding literary history and the methods used to apprehend the cultural context of earlier periods, because literature is situated within  a specific time and place, develops in relation to socio-cultural events, and access to texts from earlier periods is always mediated

The next stage encourages students to distribute their courses across a range of diverse perspectives, historical periods, and genre. In addition, students can choose from several options for their "capstone" to the major: capstone courses, independent research opportunities, or internships. Meanwhile, students can use 12 or more elective credits to explore the wide range of subjects and topics offered in the department, from creative writing to film to cultural studies to linguistics. Many students enjoy the flexibility of this program since there's much more to explore! Some students prefer to use their elective credits to pursue a topic of interest in more depth, while others prefer to sample a variety of offerings from many fields.

Graduates are ready for entry-level jobs in any field, industry, or profession searching for people with sharp minds, strong writing skills, and critical acumen. Who doesn’t want to hire employees like that?


•ENG 210

•ENG 280

•ENG 320A, B, or C


•Choose one diversity literature course: ENG 350-356, 360, 405, 431A, B, C; 448-450, 460, 466, 482

•Choose one pre-1800 course: ENG 318, 324, 368, 441, 454, 455, 457

•Choose one post-1800 course: ENG 340, 360, 362, 443, 445, 450, 452, 458, 460, 474

•Choose one genre-based course: ENG 223, 228, 229, 230, 318, 323-329, 333, 342, 422-429, 484A

•Choose a capstone option: Eng 484A, B, C, or D; 489H or 499; 493; 400+approved course 

ENG electives* to reach 36–40 credits

*Only one 100-level course may be used; ENG 204, 205, 206, 218, 226, and 232 cannot be used, as they are for non-English majors

University tier II writing is fulfilled by one of the 360s listed above, or see advisor or catalog for approved alternatives.

Degree Checklist