Please visit COVID.RISD.EDU for details and the latest updates on RISD’s reponse to COVID-19. To request an update to content on this site, please email

Literary Arts and Studies

Overall, the LAS curriculum reflects faculty research interests in ancient, medieval and early modern literatures, African-American literature and culture, critical theory, ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, gender and sexuality, global literatures, performance studies, poetry and poetics, postcolonial studies, race and ethnicity, and visual and popular culture studies.

Students who wish to focus their Liberal Arts study in Literary Arts and Studies may opt to take a Concentration.

Concentration in Literary Arts and Studies

Students can pursue a concentration (like a minor) in addition to their studio major. Concentrations are offered by each of the departments in the Division of Liberal Arts: History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC), History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences (HPSS), and Literary Arts and Studies (LAS). Information, including requirements, on an undergraduate concentration in Literary Arts and Studies can be found below.

Undergraduate concentration in Literary Arts and Studies

RISD offers a 24-credit undergraduate concentration in Literary Arts and Studies (LAS) designed for students who wish to complement their studio major with more in-depth studies in literature, critical theory and writing.

All RISD BFA or BArch candidates are eligible to add an LAS concentration, which can be completed within a typical 4- or 5-year degree program. Interested students should contact LAS Concentration Coordinator Mairéad Byrne at or 401 454–6268, or fill out the LAS concentration form.

Curriculum Requirements for an Undergraduate Concentration in Literary Arts and Studies
(8 courses = 24 credits)

I. First-year Literature Seminar (LAS-E101; three credits)
II. From Literary to Cultural Studies (LAS-E501), Contemporary Critical Theory (LAS-E502) or an approved equivalent (one course, three credits)
III. Seminar in Literature or Creative Writing Workshop (one course, three credits)
IV. Literary Arts and Studies electives (five courses, 15 total credits)


  • All Literary Arts and Studies courses are labeled “LAS.” (Prior to academic year 2013-14, LAS courses were designated ENGL by the Registrar.)
  • Students who elect the concentration must fulfill all existing Liberal Arts distribution requirements for graduation. (The nine Literary Arts and Studies credits currently required for graduation will count as part of the twenty-seven comprising the concentration.)
  • Concentrators must study contemporary critical theory so that they are better able to participate in current critical discussions, and they must take at least one seminar course to experience in-depth, focused study of a specific topic, which culminates in a longer written project.
  • Three credits from relevant HAVC, HPSS, liberal arts elective or studio courses may be counted toward the Literary Arts and Studies electives requirement for the concentration provided that the course is approved by the concentration coordinator as part of a student’s particular program of study.