About the Department

The study of literature at UCSC 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, cross-cultural inquiry and current theoretical debates, and new media.

Students and faculty adopt comparative and transnational perspectives and may work in more than one linguistic tradition. The department has strong Anglophone, Classical, Europeanist, Hispanic, Francophone, Literature of the Americas, and Asia-Pacific faculty clusters. Three undergraduate concentrations are offered: General Literature, Creative Writing, and Language Literature; students in the Language Literature concentration may choose to focus on French, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, or Spanish/Latin American/Latino language and culture.

Areas of interdisciplinary distinction and innovation include postcolonial and ethnic literatures, medieval and early modern literatures, feminist and queer theory, cultural studies, nineteenth-century studies, Mediterranean studies, modernist and avant-garde studies, and literature and film. The distinctive undergraduate concentration in Creative Writing attracts many students to the campus.