Literary Arts and Studies

Overall, the Literary Arts and Studies (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 LAS 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 three of the departments in the Liberal Arts division: History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences (HPSS), LAS and Theory and History of Art and Design. Information, including requirements, on an undergraduate LAS concentration can be found below.

Undergraduate concentration in Literary Arts and Studies

RISD offers a 24-credit undergraduate concentration in 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 THE LAS concentration coordinator (listed above) 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 LAS credits currently required for graduation will count as part of the 27 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 HPSS, THAD, liberal arts elective or studio courses may be counted toward the LAS 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.