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 27-credit undergraduate concentration in Literary Arts and Studies designed for students who wish to complement a studio major with more in-depth studies in literature, critical theory, and writing. The Literary Arts and Studies concentration at RISD is designed to allow students the flexibility to create their own programs by drawing on our rich and innovative curriculum. The Department offers courses in diverse, global literary histories and traditions, critical theory, and creative writing (including workshops in poetry and fiction), all of which emphasize strong critical thinking, writing, research and communication skills. The Department curriculum therefore accommodates many possible avenues of study: students may opt to take as many different types of courses as possible, or choose to focus on one particular area of inquiry; they may also develop their own interdisciplinary course of study in dialogue with their studio major.

Possible areas of concentration include:

  • Global literatures
  • Postcolonial literatures and cultures
  • Environmental literature and film
  • The politics of identity: Race, Gender and Sexuality
  • Literature and Visual Cultures (including Film)
  • Creative Writing

The undergraduate Literary Arts and Studies concentration can be completed within a 4 or 5-year degree program. All RISD BFA candidates are eligible to add this concentration to their program of study. Interested students should contact the Literary Arts and Studies Concentration Coordinator, Avishek Ganguly (401 427-6949 / or utilize the LAS Concentration Form.

Typically, concentrators meet or communicate with the concentration coordinator once or twice a year to discuss course options and to update their records. As part of the process, LAS concentrators may preregister for 2 Literary Arts and Studies courses in the fall and spring semesters. The concentration coordinator will contact all concentrators with the relevant instructions shortly before the official registration period.

Curriculum Requirements for an Undergraduate Concentration in Literary Arts and Studies
(9 courses = 27 credits)

I. First-Year Literature Seminar (LAS-E101): 1 course (3 credits)
II. From Literary to Cultural Studies (LAS-E501), Contemporary Critical Theory (LAS-E502), or an approved equivalent: 1 course (3 credits)
III. Seminar in Literature or Creative Writing: 1 course (3 credits)
IV. Literary Arts and Studies electives: 6 courses (18 credits)
Total: 9 courses (27 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.