Liberal Arts Division

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LAS Concentration

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 / and complete the concentration declaration 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 pre-register 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.”
  • 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.