The study of literature at UC Santa Cruz is organized as an interdisciplinary field coordinated through a single Department of Literature, rather than through separate departments of English, modern languages, and classics. This structure fosters innovative and comparative approaches to literature among both faculty and students. Courses in the major encompass traditional literary history and interpretation as well as cross-cultural inquiry and current theoretical debates.
Study and Research Opportunities
- B.A. with the concentrations listed below; M.A.; Ph.D.
- Students in the creative writing concentration work with faculty in upper-division workshops to improve their creative writing skills. In the senior year, each student produces a senior project consisting of a significant body of creative work. Admission to this concentration is selective.
Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)
In addition to completing the courses required for UC admission, high school students planning to major in literature at UC Santa Cruz should emphasize reading and writing skills in high school. Background in a foreign language is helpful. The Literature Department faculty require that all literature majors have one year of college-level proficiency in a second language.
Information for Transfers
Transfer students planning to major in literature should have some training in analytical and expository writing; an introductory course in literary interpretation and one additional literature course are especially desirable. Transfer students are urged to complete the Literature language proficiency requirement before transferring to UC Santa Cruz. The Literature language proficiency requirement is as follows: one year (three quarters or equivalent) of college-level study of a non-English language or demonstrated reading ability at this level.
After graduation, students with degrees in literature typically begin careers in publishing across various media; in teaching at all levels; in public service, law, and international relations. Many also go on to graduate school. Whatever path they choose, their powers of expression and analysis are highly prized. Please visit the UCSC Career Center for career-related information associated with the literature major, including information on the following career paths:
- Civil service
- Library science
- Literary criticism
- Literary research
- Professional writing
Students who participate in a University of California Education Abroad Program (EAP) may use a maximum of three upper-division courses from EAP toward the literature major, or a maximum of two upper-division courses toward the literature minor. Education Abroad Programs are available in over 43 countries throughout the world.
The Dickens Project at UCSC, founded in 1981, focuses on the study of the novels of Charles Dickens and other Victorian-era writers. During the Project's annual summer conference, The Dickens Universe, undergraduates study with Dickens scholars from around the world in a series of events that includes discussion seminars, lectures, movie screenings, and even a Victorian dance!
Awards, Honors, and Recognitions
Lecturer Gary Young received the 2019-20 Dizikes Faculty Teaching Award in recognition of his commitment to excellence in teaching and its transformative impact for undergraduate students.
Assistant Professor Amanda M. Smith is the recipient of a 2019-20 UC Santa Cruz Excellence in Teaching Award.
Assistant Professor Zac Zimmer received a UC Office of the President Innovative Learning Technology Initiative grant.
Associate Professor Christine Hong is the recipient of a 2020-21 UC Santa Cruz Faculty Fellows award.
Reyna Grande (B.A., Literature, 1999) is an award-winning author whose books include Across a Hundred Mountains, The Distance Between Us, and A Dream Called Home.
Christopher Conway (B.A., Literature, 1991) is a professor at the University of Texas, Austin; his work focuses on Latin American literature and culture.
Laurence Yep (B.A., Literature, 1970), author of over 60 books for children, is a recipient of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for his lasting contributions to American literature.
General Catalog Information
Department of Literature
Humanities 1, room 303
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064