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The Literature program embraces the centuries-long history and variety of genres of literatures written in English. With a curriculum that emphasizes the wide diversity of authors and their readerships, our program offers unique courses and research opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students who wish to deepen their literary knowledge and develop their critical reading and writing skills. The courses we offer are small and discussion-based, and taught by our accomplished and award-winning faculty. Literature students are also eligible for a number of awards and scholarships.

Undergraduate Literature Degree Programs

Undergraduate students majoring in English can pursue the Literature (general English) BA option, which provides an overview of literature in English from the medieval period to the present plus the opportunity to study American, British, and world literatures through a variety of thematic, historical, cultural, interdisciplinary, and theoretical approaches. The skills and experiences our majors gain through their degree prepare them for a variety of professions, and our graduates have gone on to successful careers in education, law, technical writing, advertising, business, entrepreneurship, health professions, politics, and more. 

Literature courses are also integral to other English BA degree offerings, including the Creative Writing, Screen Studies, and Pre-Law options, as well as the English Minor. Students in the College of Education and Human Sciences majoring in Secondary Education may also pursue the English option, which includes in-depth study in literature.


Graduate Literature Degree Programs

Graduate students pursuing the MA or PhD in English with a concentration in Literature undertake advanced study of Anglophone literatures and of critical and interdisciplinary methodologies in literary study through small seminar courses and individual research. Students work closely with their advisory committee to devise a curriculum that reflects their own intellectual interests and professional goals. Teaching assistantships and tuition waivers are available to the majority of our graduate students. Many graduate students teach their own composition classes, work as Writing Center tutors, and participate in workshops on pedagogy. Opportunities to teach other courses and to work as research assistants–including as part of the editorial staff of the field-leading journals American Indian Quarterly and Milton Quarterly–are periodically available for distinguished students. The combined emphasis on research and practical teaching experience prepares our graduates for faculty positions at colleges and universities, as well as other careers in and beyond higher education.

MA students complete 30 hours of coursework (including 6 thesis hours), write and defend a thesis or thesis portfolio, and demonstrate knowledge in a language other than English. More information about the MA Degree Requirements.

PhD students complete a total of 60 hours (including 18-20 dissertation hours) beyond those required for the MA, take PhD qualifying exams in two subject areas, write and defend a dissertation, and demonstrate knowledge in a language other than English. More information about the PhD Degree Requirements.



Find out about undergraduate and graduate Literature course offerings at the Course Offerings Page.



Andrew Belton

  • African American Literature
  • Aesthetics
  • Comparative Literature

William Decker

  • American literature colonial to contemporary
  • Ethnicities and color lines
  • Critical Race Theory

Richard Frohock

  • Early American Literature
  • Early Caribbean Literature
  • 18th-Century British Literature 

Elizabeth Grubgeld

  • Modern British and Irish literature
  • Autobiography/ Life Writing
  • Critical Disability Studies

Cailey Hall

  • 18th and 19th-century British literature
  • Romanticism
  • Food Studies

Katherine Hallemeier

  • Postcolonial literature and theory
  • Contemporary Anglophone African fiction
  • Studies in Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights

Lisa Hollenbach

  • Post-1900 American Literature
  • Poetry and Poetics
  • Sound Studies

Alyssa Hunziker

  • Native American and Indigenous Literatures
  • U.S. Empire
  • Transnational American Studies

Shelby Johnson

  • Colonial and early American literature
  • Indigenous and African Diaspora studies
  • Gender and sexuality studies

Edward Jones

  • John Milton and the English Civil War
  • 17th-Century British Literature
  • Archival Records of the English Church, State, and Parish

Tim Murphy

  • Modern & contemporary fiction
  • Critical Theory (Post-Structuralism, Modernism/Postmodernism, Marxism, Globalization Studies)
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy

Chelsea Silva

  • Middle English literature
  • Medical humanities
  • Disability studies

Lindsey C. Smith

  • American Indian Studies
  • Global Indigenous Studies
  • Racial Healing

Lindsay Wilhelm

  • Victorian literature
  • Aestheticism and Decadence
  • History of Science

Learn more about other OSU faculty on the profile pages.


Research Clusters

Students may use the below research groupings to facilitate the formation for their exam and dissertation committees. These clusters are intended to be suggestive, not definitive or restrictive.

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