About this Program

Studying literature provides an avenue into a deeper and more discerning understanding of culture. At EMU, students learn about literary traditions, major authors, movements and genres. Our courses emphasize analytic reading, thinking and writing skills. Students not only become literary scholars, they also gain an understanding of how the humanities can reflect and shape culture. Students complement their studies by selecting from an array of elective and restricted elective courses. These courses feature diverse literary topics and historical periods, from British literature of the Middle Ages and Shakespeare to studies in contemporary poetry and global fiction. All our courses are profoundly engaged with contemporary cultural studies and critical theory.

In EMU's literature program you have the opportunity to explore in depth some of the world's greatest literary works, broaden your literary horizons, and reflect on your own place in the world. Our goal is not merely to produce scholars of literature, but to give students a sense of the power of the humanities to reflect and shape culture. Students leave our program with ample skills for a variety of professions, including fields such as publishing, the law, teaching and communications.

EMU's literature faculty bring diverse experiences to the classroom and are globally educated, with international faculty from Canada, Germany and Serbia, as well as faculty who have trained in countries ranging from Switzerland to Jamaica. They are also award-winning scholars and teachers, receiving EMU Distinguished Faculty Awards in all teaching and research categories. Our program offers a highly personalized learning experience. We keep class sizes small to encourage faculty-student mentoring. As our faculty members learn about your aspirations, they can help create a learning experience that matches your interests. Thanks to successful mentoring, our undergraduate students present their work regularly at regional and national conferences and routinely win major academic awards and fellowships.

  • New! Jodi A. Byrd and Shailja Patel at 2019 JNT Dialogue

    Join us on Thursday, March 28, 2019 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Mckenny Ballroom of the EMU Student Center for light refreshments and an informal conversation with our featured speakers, Jodi A. Byrd and Shailja Patel. For more information, see the Journal of Narrative Theory.
  • Journal of Narrative Theory Internship

    Assist faculty members in the creation of the Literature Department's journal: the Journal of Narrative Theory (JNT).

    This one-semester (possibly two-semester) internship introduces students to the work of editing a scholarly journal in literary studies. The internship emphasizes the multiple steps in editing a journal, from vetting manuscripts to preparing them for publication (copy-editing) to finalizing an entire issue (proof-reading).

    In this internship, you will work closely with one of the editors of the JNT. You are expected to keep a work log and be able to respond promptly to time-sensitive tasks, like proof-reading the proofs of an upcoming issue.

    This internship is a 10-hour per week commitment with a $2,000 stipend.

    Eligibility Requirements

    Applicants must be a junior or senior in literature or language, literature and writing, show interest in advanced scholarship and theory in literary and cultural studies, and be contemplating a career in editing, which involves interest in the detail-oriented work of editing and publishing. Applicants must also demonstrate strong writing and research skills, including familiarity with MLA.

    Application process

    Please send a letter of application outlining your qualifications and interest in the internship to Elisabeth Däumer at [email protected] by April 16, 2018. Also attach a writing sample of 12 pages or less. For more information, please contact Elisabeth Däumer. 

  • Current Courses

    View the Literature Program's course offerings for upcoming terms by visiting the course schedule page.

  • Careers We Get

    Our program is renowned for its collaborative atmosphere, in which faculty help students explore professional goals and intellectual interests. Perhaps more than any other major, English provides an amazing variety of career paths and opportunities. Our graduates pursue careers in education, law, journalism, social media, advertising, public relations, cultural institutions, film and theater, community advocacy, the non-profit sector, web development and design, and entertainment.

    Too many English majors are doubting their choice of degree, and too many would-be English majors are choosing other degrees because "you can't make any money with an English degree," "there aren't any jobs," "I don't want to teach," etc. Below are some examples of our alumni who are making a difference in the world.

  • Department Digital Publications

    Literature faculty edit several journals such as the Journal of Narrative Theory and The Once and Future Classroom. Faculty and students also collaborate on several projects in digital humanities such as the Muriel Rukeyser archive and 19th Century Jewish Life. Finally, graduating literature students publish their creative work in the Slughorne Journal.

Additional Information

The JNT Logo

Journal of Narrative Theory

JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory is a refereed, international journal published three times a year by the Department of English at EMU.

Two male students skateboarding on campus

Social Media

Follow us on social media! EMU Literature maintains a Facebook page.

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Graduate Programs

Interested in continuing your studies in literature? Eastern Michigan University also offers a master's in literature.