Overview: What Is a College Program in Literature?

Literature is viewed as being one of the most versatile educational programs available because literature students  learn to communicate and analyze information effectively.  During their coursework literature students will study various literary genres, forms of criticism, eras, and more.  These students will also learn to become better, more effective writers.

Literature Classes and Learned Skills

In their course of study, literature students will study works by authors from a range of different cultures and eras, as well as by those with differing philosophical viewpoints.  Some courses that a student of literature might take include:

  • Composition
  • Creative Writing
  • American Literature
  • Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Drama

There are also different variations of these courses that a student might take that offer a specific focus.  Some such courses include modern drama, British literature, or contemporary poetry.

Available Learning Formats for Literature Programs

Literature programs are available in both traditional and distance learning formats.  Traditional classes are attended at particular times in a classroom setting at a college or university campus, whereas distance learning, or in online college, classes can often be completed at the pace and leisure of the student.  Traditional and distance learning classes also vary in price, so students should carefully consider the pros and cons offered by each format before settling.

Levels of Education Available for Literature

Literature degrees are primarily offered at the bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctoral degree levels.  Associate's degrees and certificates in this area of study are scarce, and those that are available are usually general liberal arts degrees that have a special emphasis on literature.  Bachelor's degrees and higher are usually more beneficial in the long run.

Outlook for Careers in Literature

Earning a degree in literature can be a great first step to pursuing work in a number of different fields, including jobs in education and in law.  Some jobs that might suit someone with a degree in literature include:

  • Writer
  • Journalist
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Editor
  • Manager

Competition is high for authors, writers, and editors, and is expected to continue to be so through at least 2018.  Writing and editing jobs for online publications and websites have begun to grow in number due in part to the transition of print publications into digital formats.

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