Literature term papers

What is Literature?

Literature is a broad term used to describe written work, although the written work is not required to be formally published to fall under the term.  There are four major recognized types of literature, which include fiction, non-fiction, prose, and poetry.  The study of literature at an academic level comprises of studying these four major types of literature and examining these types of literature in various time periods and from a variety of geographic regions.   


The Basics of Studying Literature

A true literature major allows the student to study a vast array of literature across national boundaries and languages, as opposed to literature majors who major in English Literature, American Literature, French Literature, Spanish Literature, etc.  According to Yale, “The Literature Major allows students to address fundamental questions about the nature, function, and value of literature in a broadly comparative context.  Majors read and write about a wide variety of literary works across periods, genres, and national traditions.  They investigate traditional and contemporary approaches to literary study, ancient and modern literary theory, and the relationship of literature to film and to other branches of the arts and sciences.”    


Majoring or Minoring in Literature

Depending on the educational institution, literature can either be studied on an undergraduate or graduate level.  As an undergraduate, the student has the choice to either pursue literature as a major, for a Bachelor’s Degree, or as a minor while pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in another field.  Students who pursue literature in a graduate program acquire a Master’s Degree or Ph.D.  Most universities offer the broader literature major, while others only offer an English literature major, which as discussed above only addresses literature written in the English language. 


Career Opportunities for Literature Majors

Literature majors have a wide variety of career opportunities available to them.  Primarily because their education has provided them with the chance to study a vast array of fields dealing with aspects such as psychology, history, philosophy, sociology, culture, religion, sexuality, and gender.  Traditionally, a degree in literature by a university student would be used as a stepping stone for the student to pursue further education, such as for application to law school or into a higher graduate program.  Although literature students still seek to use their degrees for application into higher degree granting programs, many other opportunities are also starting to open up to literature majors.  With that being said, many literature majors go on to seek careers in public relations, teaching, politics, the arts, administration, advertising, fundraising, or broadcasting if they have chosen not to continue their education.

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