2014-2015 Catalog 
    Apr 18, 2021  
2014-2015 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Literature Major

Major Requirements

Literature majors take at least nine literature courses, distributed as follows:

  1. LIT 057 CM - British Writers I  
  2. LIT 058 CM - British Writers II  
  3. LIT 100 CM - Literary Theory Since Plato  
  4. One creative writing course  
  5. One course emphasizing literature before 1700  
  6. One course emphasizing literature between 1700-1900  
  7. One course in American literature  
  8. Two elective courses in literature  


One of these nine courses must qualify as a single-author course . With the exception of the single-author requirement, no course may be counted toward more than one requirement.

Senior Thesis in Literature

The senior thesis is a general education requirement and the capstone experience of a student’s undergraduate education. Students must complete a senior thesis in at least one of their majors under supervision of a faculty reader who teaches within that major, unless granted a special exception.

Literature majors should select a thesis advisor as early as possible in the spring of their junior year, or earlier if they will be abroad that semester. Students choosing a creative writing thesis are required to provide their prospective advisors with a writing sample in their chosen genre.

The senior thesis and the research course may not be counted as courses in the major. Literature majors writing a two-semester thesis must take a grade of P (in progress) in the first semester so that the two semesters’ work can be graded at the end. For further information on honors, see Honors in Literature  below.

Special Options for Majors

Dual Majors

Dual majors must complete at least 7 courses including all requirements for the full major except LIT 100 CM - Literary Theory Since Plato  and one elective. Dual majors are also encouraged to write a senior thesis in literature. For further information, see Senior Thesis in Literature  above.

Note the restrictions on honors in the major for students with a dual major under Honors in Literature  below. For further information on dual majors and the requirements for the other discipline of the dual major, check the appropriate sections of this catalog.

Honors in Literature

To be eligible for departmental honors in literature, students majoring in literature, including students with a dual major, must:

  • Earn at least a 10.50 GPA in all literature courses.
  • Write a thesis in literature and receive at least an A- (11.00) in all thesis courses.

Departmental honors are conferred by vote of the department.

Students with a dual major including literature who wish to be considered for honors in literature will only receive honors if they:

  • Have completed all requirements for a full major in literature and are granted honors, or
  • Qualify and receive honors in both disciplines of their dual major. See Academic Honors at Graduation  for details.

Literature Department Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Literature Department learning goals and outcomes have been formulated in the context of CMC’s college-wide student learning outcomes and are available from the department chair.

Learning Goals

The Learning Goals of the literature program are:

  1. To enhance students’ knowledge of the history of literature
  2. To enhance students’ technical understanding of how literature works
  3. To enhance students’ abilities to engage in perceptive reading and critical thinking
  4. To enhance students’ understanding of the cultural roles of literature and rhetoric
  5. To enhance students’ skills in writing and research

Student Learning Outcomes

The Student Learning Outcomes for the literature program are:

  1. Students will demonstrate mastery of the basic conceptual vocabulary used in the study of literature-i.e. the ability to define and use terms appropriate to literary genres, literary techniques, rhetorical figures, and critical theory.
  2. Students will demonstrate a clear understanding of the standard periodizations of English literature and some of the major authors and works in each period.
  3. Students will be able to demonstrate detailed knowledge of at least one major author’s work.
  4. Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to analyze a poem in terms of its meter, structure, argument, imagery, tone, and other stylistic features.
  5. Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to analyze a narrative (in a play, film, short story, or novel) in terms of its plot, characters, ethical concerns, themes, and structure.
  6. Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to write clear and cogent prose.
  7. Students will be able to demonstrate familiarity with various forms of research, including use of the library, the internet, and databases.
  8. Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to give a considered and coherent rationale for the study of literature and its place among the humanities.

General Education Requirement Information

FWS 010 CM  requirement: The English composition and literary analysis requirement is met by FWS 010 CM - Freshman Writing Seminar . Students with a score of 5 in one or both of the English Language or Literature Advanced Placement examinations, or a higher level score of 7 on the English International Baccalaureate exam, may substitute a CMC literature course numbered above 60 for FWS 010 CM  to meet the general education requirement. This course may not be counted for the humanities general education requirement in literature.

All students, unless exempted by the chair of the literature department, must complete FWS 010 CM  or the substitute course during their first year at the College.

Literature Requirement (humanities): All CMC literature courses numbered 50 or above may be used to fulfill the literature portion of the general education requirement in humanities, except as otherwise noted in the course descriptions.

Literature Majors: For the general education requirement in the social sciences and the humanities, CMC students majoring in literature must take designated courses in three of the four fields of the social sciences (economics, government, history, and psychology), and in three of the four fields of the humanities (literature, philosophy, religious studies, and literature in a foreign language). Literature majors with a dual or double major in either the humanities or the social sciences will be required to take an additional course in those categories.

Study Abroad

All CMC students are encouraged to consider study abroad during the junior year. Students planning to study literature abroad should consult with the chair of the Literature department to determine which off-campus courses will be accepted by the department. Consult the chair of the Literature department for further information.