Literary Studies Major (B.A.)

Literary Studies Major (B.A.)

literacy studies

Shaping skillful writers and critical thinkers through literary exploration

Designed to focus on the skills that are central to professional success, our literary studies program emphasizes critical thinking, writing, communication, and collaboration through the exploration of English literature, drama, poetry and composition.

What is literary studies?

Literary studies explores literary works, films, media creations and cultural phenomena. Understanding and interpreting literature is multidimensional, taking into consideration the artistic, historical, cultural and theoretical contexts that inform imaginative creations. Literary studies is well suited for students interested in a rewarding career or graduate study in publishing, journalism, education, law and more.

Why study literary studies at UNH Manchester?

Designed to focus on the skills that are central to professional success, our literary studies program emphasizes critical thinking, writing, communication and collaboration through the exploration of English literature, drama, poetry and composition. This program offers courses in areas from graphic novels to crime fiction to film adaptations of literature. As a literary studies major, you will explore poetics, literary theory and literary analysis in print and digital literature. The literary studies program culminates with real-world experience through upper-level seminars, capstones and the opportunity for internships tailored to your career ambitions and focused on the applied skills that employers particularly value.

Potential careers

  • Business executive 
  • Copyeditor or copywriter 
  • Critic 
  • Government consultant 
  • Lawyer 
  • Professor 
  • Publisher 
  • Writer or journalist


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Curriculum & Requirements

Students in the Literary Studies program advance their power to analyze keenly and write incisively by studying leading-edge and foundational literary works in print, graphic and digital forms. Gaining a mastery of aesthetics and genre, literary theory and cultural history, our students learn to see how language shapes the world on every scale. Literary Studies students take an array of literature classes as well as core courses in digital language arts and professional and technical communication, making them just the sort of versatile, critically aware graduates prized in workplaces today.

For the Literary Studies program at UNH Manchester, students must complete a minimum of 128 credits and satisfy the University's Discovery Program and foreign language requirements, and complete a minimum of 40 credits in major coursework with a minimum grade of C-. The major requirements consist of a minimum of 10 courses. These 10 courses (40 credits) must include the capstone requirement.

Students in the major must earn C or higher to pass ENGL 419 Introduction to Literary Analysis, ENGL 502 Professional and Technical Writing, and ENGL 595 Literary Topics: Digital Creative Writing. One literary theory/poetics course is required. Two pre-1800 literature courses are required.


Core Courses
ENGL 419Writing About Literature4
ENGL 502Professional and Technical Writing4
ENGL 595Literary Topics (Digital Creative Writing)4
Select three courses of the following:12
Any 500 or 600-level ENGL courses in literature, literary theory, poetics, or narrative 1, 2
ENGL 787English Major Seminar 34
ENGL 797Special Studies in Literature 44
Select two courses of the following:8
Any 600 or 700 level ENGL electives in literature, literary theory, poetics, or narrative 1
Total Credits40

For more information, contact program coordinator Susanne Paterson  or contact the Office of Admissions, (603) 641-4150.

Explore Program Details

Central to the curricular experience of this program is the requirement to complete either an internship, which places you in a variety of business and organizational settings under the direction of a faculty adviser and workplace supervisor, or a capstone course. Our campus is in the heart of the region’s economic activity — putting unlimited internship opportunities at your feet. We’ve partnered with local businesses to give you the real-world experience that sets you apart. Digital language arts majors have interned at many high-profile organizations in the area, including: 

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Each year, two students will have the opportunity to work as editorial assistants for "Best American Experimental Writing" (BAX), an annual anthology of experimental poetry and prose published by Wesleyan University Press. As one of only twelve "Best American" anthologies in the United States—and the only one explicitly devoted to avant-garde writing—BAX has a very high profile nationally.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects positive growth in many professions associated with the literary arts between 2016 and 2026. As a literary studies major, you’ll graduate with a type of expertise and experience that is not just rare, but uncommonly transferable. The skill-sets organizations most covet — the ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and imagine audaciously — are all central to the program, preparing you for a rewarding career or graduate study in publishing, journalism, education, and more.

Learn more about career planning


Our innovative, interdisciplinary, and transmedia creative writing minor is tailored to your individual interests as a digital-age creator for print, stage and screen.


Our English minor helps you deepen your appreciation of literary analysis, exploring and writing about print, digital and multimedia texts focusing on a variety of periods and themes.


Develop the skill-sets and knowledge bases that will help you succeed in law school, as well as in any political, media or nonprofit career path in which strong oral and written advocacy skills are required by pursuing a legal advocacy minor.


Acquire skills in professional, technical, and cross-disciplinary writing and communication in our professional writing minor, as well as hands-on learning through an internship at a local business or organization. These skills are highly sought-after by employers, regardless of your major.


Acquire the academic skills necessary to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages outside the K-12 school setting. Our TESOL minor helps to lay a foundation for graduate study in Education and ESOL teaching certification, and to work with international communities, whether at home or abroad.

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