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Literature: Changing the World

The Literature major is ideal preparation for a career in law, publishing, health care, government, arts, activism, business, and communications. In a world where the average person now has more than 10 different careers, English provides the flexibility to take you where you want to go.

Literature is the major of choice for people who want to change the world.

Our students work closely with faculty in small, discussion-based classes and have extraordinary freedom to pursue the subjects they love. Our courses include an unusual variety of classic and special topics, such as detective fiction, experimental film and performance, environmental literature, early modern revenge tragedy, war films, and visions of the future. Students read works by Jane Austen, Octavia Butler, Charles Dickens, William Faulkner, Chang Rae Lee, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, William Shakespeare, and many more.
stefanie dunning teaching

Flexible and Vital Curriculum

In the age of artificial intelligence, the English literature major gives you the power to forge your own future. Stories shape the world. Literature hones critical thinking about complex social issues. And literary study cultivates expressive excellence—what employers rank as the single most important skill they seek. From Shakespeare to contemporary social media, the curriculum is varied and dynamic.

Program Highlights

  • Choose from more than 40 courses in a wide range of topics
  • Hone communication skills in small, discussion-based classes
  • Explore the diversity of human experience and cultural history
  • Read transformative works of imagination and wrestle with enduring human questions
  • Work closely with prominent scholars and award-winning teachers
  • Join a vibrant community of student-run organizations and clubs
  • Conduct independent research and compete for scholarships and awards
  • Advance your degree in a study abroad program or internship
melley in class

Career Prospects and Placement: Preparing for Your Future

Miami's English literature students have gone on to become lawyers at top firms, professors at Stanford, Ohio State, Wisconsin, University of Virginia, Bryn Mawr, and other universities, publishers, editors, advertising and marketing executives, doctors, and managers at companies including American Express, Politico, Oxford University Press, HarperCollins, IBM, and Goldman Sachs.

We love to hear from our alumni and share their success with current students. If you are a graduate, reach out and let us know how you are changing the world!


Interested in continuing your literary studies?

Check out Miami's English and American Literature graduate programs. You could earn both your Bachelor's and Master's degree in four to five years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I declare a Literature major or minor?

Contact the English Department and request to be added via email ( or phone (513-529-5221), or visit us in person at 356 Bachelor Hall.

What experiences, skills, and outcomes will I learn in Literature?

  • Generate arguments and other writing based on close reading and analysis of texts
  • Analyze literature within a historical and/or cultural context
  • Explain and appraise the methodologies and theories of literary studies
  • Apply methodologies and theories to literature within a particular historical and/or cultural context

Can I participate in an internship with this major?

Yes. You can earn credit while enrolling in ENG 340: Internship course. Students have had internships in places as diverse as film sets and in British marketing companies.

What Prizes and Awards can I apply for in Literature?

  • The Carl R. Greer/Andrew D. Hepburn Awards in English
    Four awards: Past awards ranged from $700 to $5000.
  • The Edward J. Montaine Awards in English
    Three awards: Past awards ranged from $1000 to $3000.
  • The Almy Awards in Critical Studies
    Two awards, about $400 to $600 each.
For more information, see the English Department Awards website.

What Study Abroad Opportunities are there?

Students can study in the following programs taught by our faculty: Literary London, London Calling, Sea Islands of the South, Paris Cultural Capital, and Florence: Visions and Contrasts programs. For more information, look here.

What are recent Literature course offerings and descriptions?


What are examples of projects Literature majors have done?

Literature majors have worked on a range of topics such as:

  • "Decameron, Epidemics, and the Role of Literature"
  • "Risk Consciousness in the Fiction of Don DeLillo"
  • "Going to the Mountains is Going Home: Constructing Early 20th-Century American Wilderness and National Parks"
  • "The Adaptive-Haptic Gaze of Dance: Subverting Female Identification in the Transition from Page to Screen"
  • "Off the Script: Performing Female Identities in Victorian Literature"
  • "Reconsidering the Unreliability and Treatment of Mentally Ill Narrators"
  • "Risk Consciousness in the Fiction of Don Delillo"
  • "A Stifled Carnival: Stand-Up and the Audience"
  • "The Myth of the New Heroine: The Protoevangelium in Young Adult Fiction"
  • "Staging Race in Early Twentieth-Century America"
  • "The Daily Grind: Performing a Comedy Sketch"
  • "Ophelia and Virginity: An Analysis of Early Modern and Modern Ideas"
  • "Coming out Films: Speech, Cinema, and the Making of a Queer Subject in Film"
  • "Language, Temporality, and Ecology in Kingsnorth's The Wake"
  • "Echoes of Pleasure and Audiophilic Cinema"

What do students have to say about the Literature major?

Our Faculty