Literature & Criticism

Application front image, student in the libraryLiterature & Criticism

A student in the Literature and Criticism Option of the English Major examines texts and ideas in historical, formal, cultural, theoretical, and other contexts. The program develops the student's general knowledge of literature and requires focused study of specific writers and works.

Works studied represent the traditional genres of literature — poetry, drama, and fiction — as well as literary criticism, the history of the language, and new and emerging genres like creative nonfiction. The option in Literature and Criticism develops students' abilities to think critically and communicate effectively for a range of purposes and in a variety of formats. Formats include:

  • literary analysis
  • persuasive argument
  • critical exposition
  • presentation

The Literature and Criticism concentration allows students to address fundamental questions about the nature, function, and value of literature in a broadly comparative context. Majors read and write about a wide variety of literary works across periods, genres, and national traditions. They investigate traditional and contemporary approaches to literary study, literary theory, both ancient and modern, and the relationship of literature to other branches of the arts and sciences.

Traditionally, literature has involved the close reading and evaluation of valued writings. But it also involves even closer attention to what writing is and how it comes to be valued. An understanding of the concept of literary culture is central to students majoring in English at UMass Dartmouth and to any informed understanding about the current state of art and communication in the Age of Information.

The critical thinking and writing skills students develop with a major or minor in English are invaluable in nearly every imaginable field. University of Massachusetts Dartmouth English majors have gone on to careers in publishing, teaching, freelance writing, public relations, grants writing, technical writing, journalism, screenwriting, medicine, law and many other fields.

For degree requirements in the Literature and Criticism option, download the "English Major - Literature and Criticism Tracking Sheet" (.pdf) on the Forms page.